Back to All Events

A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) - A Fistful of Westerns: A Spaghetti Western Celebration


In the 1960s, from the depths of Italian exploitation cinema, which had long reworked American genres, came a new way of appreciating that most American of films : the western. In the late 1960s, almost half of the films produced in Italy were westerns. Despite a ‘western’ setting, these movies were never shot in America, and often featured dubbed European or English-speaking stars, and showcased a greater sense of stylish operatic violence, edgy political commentary and a twisted sense of humour than their American cousins. The cycle of spaghetti westerns lasted just a few years, but before hanging up its spurs in the 70s, it completely rewrote the genre, and introduced back to Americans a new way of experiencing a class of film that they had previously thought they owned. Sergio Leone’s 1964 A Fistful of Dollars (1964) defined the spaghetti style: from the vast desert vistas (filmed in Spain!) to the moody micro-close ups, the dance-of-death shootouts and the majestic and exotic Ennio Morricone score. It made star Clint Eastwood such an iconic gunslinging figure that he now arguably defines the image of the western over John Wayne. This summer at Deptford Cinema, ride back with us to the Italian West!

A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS: The film that set the template for the spaghetti western, Sergio Leone's operatically stylish western, with its striking camerawork and Ennio Morricone score, plus its amoral, nihilistically-inclined bounty hunter lead, broke both the director and star (a young TV actor called Clint Eastwood) out into Hollywood...and into film history. The plot steals from Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo. San Miguel is a one horse town that's being pulled apart by two rival families. John Baxter, the crooked town sheriff with a sideline in weapons smuggling, and the Rojo Cartel, headed up by a trio of volatile brothers: Miguel, Ramon and Esteban. So far no one has been able to tip the scales. Enter the Man with No Name: a laconic gunslinger for hire….

  • dir: Sergio Leone
  • Year: 1964
  • country: Italy|Spain|German
  • run-time: 99m.
  • rating: 18

£6.00 (£4.50 conc.)

Doors 19:00 - Film 19:30