Favorite Movie Friday: Fistful Of Dollars

“Get three coffins ready,” he said.

He glanced over at the old bearded man constructing the wooden coffins. The stranger walked toward the Baxter residence, his cigar stub pressed firmly between his teeth and his poncho hanging loosely over his shoulders. Four men met him in the front corral, telling him “Adios, amigo,” and jeering insults at him. The stranger halted, keeping just enough distance between himself and the other men. He planted his feet shoulder-width apart on the dirt road.

The men appeared amused until they saw the stranger lift his poncho and drape it over his left shoulder, uncovering the revolver on his hip.

It was four against one.

The four men reached for their guns.

Whiz. Whiz. Whiz. Whiz. Whizz, the bullets flew.

With five quick shots, the four men were dead.

Just as quickly as he removed it, the stranger placed his revolver back in his holster and turned to walk away, leaving the dead bodies for the coroner.

“My mistake, make that four coffins.”

Fistful of Dollars tells the story of a lone gunman, “The Man With No Name,” (Clint Eastwood) who infiltrates the ranks of two competing families, the Baxters and the Rojos, who are in control of a small desert town in Mexico, where violence runs amuck and guns and liquor are currency. The stranger sees an opportunity to make money, so he befriends each side, slowly positioning the two families against each other. This plan works so well that by the time “The Man With No Name” leaves, neither family remains standing, leaving the townspeople a chance for a better life.

It was the first of the three spaghetti western films in the “The Man With No Name” trilogy, directed by Sergio Leone, an Italian filmmaker. In addition to being very well received by the U.S. box office, the film launched the acting career of Clint Eastwood, as “The Man With No Name” was his first lead role. He continued this role in For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, the films following A Fistful of Dollars in the Sergio Leone trilogy.