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When a man with a .45 meets a man with a rifle, the man with a pistol will be a dead man
A Fistful of Dollars is the 1964 (originally unauthorized) remake of the Japanese film Yojimbo. It's the first in what's known as The Dollars Trilogy by Western fans, and was followed by For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
The Man With No Name (played by Clint Eastwood and called "Joe" by the coffin maker) wanders into a small poverty-stricken town on the Mexican border dominated by two feuding crime gangs, the Rojos and the Baxters, and he decides to play the clans against each other, ostensibly so that he can profit from their conflict. The opportunity arises in the form of a Mexican shipment of gold passing through the town. However, his sympathies for Marisol, a hostage of the Rojos gang, leads to a change in plans with near-fatal consequences for the Man With No Name.
- Animated Credits Opening
- Anti-Hero- The Man With No Name
- Arc Words- "When you shoot to kill, Aim for the heart."
- Ramon takes his mantra a little too seriously.
- Badass - In his own way, The Man With No Name is perhaps the most dangerous man who ever lived.
- He's a psycho, but Ramon, as played by Gian Maria Valonte, is pretty badass as well.
- Badass Beard - Joe.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty - It's "You see, my mule don't like people laughing," not "My mule doesn't like to be laughed at."
- Big Bad - Ramon.
- Blasting It Out of Their Hands - The Man With No Name towards Ramon, though it's clearly a display of bravado rather than mercy (and the gun was empty anyway).
- The Chessmaster- The Man With No Name
- Deadpan Snarker - It's a movie starring Clint Eastwood, so take a guess...
- The Drifter - The classic Western example.
- Enemy Civil War - Clint Eastwood's character deliberately starts this between The Baxters and The Rojos.
- Evil Genius - Ramon. He's the only one of the villains who has a clue about Joe, and seems to be the Rojos planner as well.
- Executive Meddling: A ten minute prologue (hastily filmed by the studio and featuring a body double for Clint Eastwood who's back is facing the camera) was attached to the film when it was first aired on network TV. Why? The guy in charge of ABC HATED the film's amoral plot and refused to air it unless the studio "fixed" what he saw was the impure motive of Joe. Hence the prologue, which rewrites the entire plot via a single ten minute scene where it is "revealed" that Joe was a former convict who was given his freedom in exchange for doing the bidding of the warden of his jail, in terms of driving out the gangs from the town in which the film takes place. Thankfully, the scene only was used for one airing and was promptly destroyed by the studio after the fact...although it has somehow made it onto the DVD as a special feature.
- False-Flag Operation - The Rojos pretend to be American soldiers to steal the gold shipment from the Mexican Army. They've already killed the Americans and position the bodies to make it look like they killed each other.
- Feuding Families
- Foreign Remake - Again, of Yojimbo. The writers didn't credit Kurosawa at first, and as a result he had to sue them.
- Giggling Villain - Esteban.
- Gray and Black Morality
- Guile Hero
- The Gunslinger
- Hollywood Healing - Not as bad as Yojimbo, as Clint Eastwood's character does take some time to recover from his injuries.
- Honor Before Reason - At the end of the movie, the Man With No Name has killed all of Ramon's associates, tricked him into using up all the bullets in his rifle, and shot the rifle out of his hands for good measure. Instead of just shooting the defenseless Ramon, however, the MWNN empties his own gun and throws it on the ground, just so he and Ramon can have a who-can-pick-up-their-gun-reload-it-and-shoot-the-other-guy-first contest.
- But he is TMWNN, he KNOWS he is more Badass than Ramon.
- Improvised Armour - The metal chest piece.
- Ironic Name: Chico, which is Spanish for "Tiny".
- Irony - At the start of the film, Joe is giving Piripero most of his business. Unfortunately for Piripero, Joe's cleared out most of his customers by the end of the film.
- Though, the bodies pile up at a fast enough rate at one point that they just don't bother with coffins anyway.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold - The Man With No Name.
- Knight Errant - The Man With No Name
- Mexicans With Machine Guns
- Mob War
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished - For much of the movie, the Man With No Name is only out to make some quick cash, and while he's doing that he's all but invincible in fights and plays all the other characters for suckers. It's only when he tries to do something nice by helping Marisol and her family escape that the bad guys get wise to him and deliver a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown
- No Name Given- The coffinmaker refers to him as Joe. Might as well.
- One Bullet Left
- Only in It For the Money: Joe.
- In his words: "That crazy bellringer was right. There's money to be made in a place like this."
- Though, he does offer a good amount of his earnings to the family he rescues from the hands of the Rojos.
- Only Sane Man: Silvanito, the bartender, who at first reluctantly befriends Joe.
- Pet the Dog- The protagonist saves a family caught in between the troubles of the Two Gangs Of Hats, making him seem less amoral.
- The family is so damn thankful, Joe practically has to shoo them in order for them to leave. And with good reason: dire consequences would befall both if they don't.
- Power Trio- The Rojo Bros.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner - After verifying that John Baxter wasn't kidding when he surrendered, Ramon tells him to take up his surrender terms with his wife and says, "Maybe she won't be too happy" before shooting him.
- Recycled in Space- Yojimbo WITH COWBOYS!
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Ramon attempts to subvert this in the page quote. It doesn't go well.
- Well... he is trying it with Clint after all... Which is usually a bad idea.
- The movie really plays with the trope though. Joe doesn't win the shootout because his revolver is inherently better than Ramon's rifle. He wins because he utilises his weapon's strengths to exploit the weaknesses of Ramon's.
- Showdown At High Noon
- Smoking Is Cool
- South of the Border
- Spaghetti Western
- The Slow Walk
- Weapon of Choice: Revolvers vs Rifles is actually a plot point.
- Yanks With Tanks (Dead ones)