Film: For a Few Dollars More

Where life had no value, death, sometimes, had its price. That is why the bounty killers appeared.
title card

For a Few Dollars More (1965) is considered as one of the greatest films of the Spaghetti Western, and a masterpiece of Sergio Leone. It is the second film in the Dollars Trilogy, A Fistful of Dollars being the first and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly being the third. Even That Other Wiki named this film as an Epic Western. And no wonder, in fact, the intro theme, along with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme, is the most known and memorable in the Sergio Leone's Western films.

The Man with No Name (nicknamed "Monco" or "Manco", respectively Italian and Spanish slang for "missing one hand", because he does nearly everything with his left hand in order to keep his right hand free to draw and fire) and Colonel Mortimer, a skillful Bounty Hunter, are both hunting the famed gang leader El Indio. The Man With No Name is motivated by money; the Colonel, we come to discover, is motivated by revenge. After the two bounty hunters clash, they put aside their differences and team up to capture Indio. As part of their plan, Manco infiltrates Indio's gang by busting one of Indio's friends out of prison. However, the plan does not work out as hoped.

For a Few Dollars More provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Awesome, but Impractical: Col. Mortimer's Buntline Special. Its longer barrel gives Mortimer an edge in distance, meaning he can wait out of a pistol's normal range and line up shots, but that same long barrel also prevents him from quickdrawing it, a disadvantage in some of the situations he finds himself in. He carries a derringer up his sleeve for such emergencies. It was somewhat practical for those who preferred a pistol grip as opposed to the lever action.
  • Bad Boss: El Indio. He sets up his own gang to be wiped out by Mortimer and Monco so that he can keep all the money for himself.
  • Bang, Bang, BANG: At the beginning of the film, every single one of their shots also sounds like a ricochet, even though they only shoot into the air and the ground.
  • Batman Gambit: Mortimer tells Monco to suggest Indio take his gang north, as it would be a good spot for an ambush. When Indio tells Monco that he is planning to go north anyway, Monco warns him about the possibility of an ambush, and advises him to south instead. Since going west would take them right back where they came from, Indio splits the difference and heads east. Naturally, Mortimer is waiting for them at their destination.
  • Best Served Cold: Col. Mortimer has spent years honing his skills as a bounty hunter, tracking down the bandit who murdered Mortimer's brother-in-law and raped Mortimer's sister until she committed suicide.
  • Big Damn Heroes: As shown above on the page image, Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name character saves Mortimer by intervening in Indio's unfair Mexican standoff by providing a gun for him to use against the villain. With his gun trained on Indio satisfied that the odds have now been evened in his friend's favor he sits down and says, "Now we start."
  • Black and Gray Morality: Monco's a ruthless Bounty Hunter, Mortimer a revenge-driven stalker, and El Indio a total headcase. Not much white.
  • Breaking Out the Boss: Indio's gang's first scene is them freeing Indio from prison. He leaps right back into action once he is out of his cell.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Wilde. His first prominent scene has Mortimer striking a match on his brace—and he can't challenge him back because the gang can't afford to allow itself to be noticed. The next time he encounters Mortimer, the colonel shrugs off his challenges...which infuriates him even more. And then Mortimer outguns him.
    • Groggy (though he is the smartest of El Indio's gang). He gets pushed around by the rest of the gang, and winds up hurting himself during the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Continuity Nod: The Man's injured hand is the same one he injured when being tortured in A Fistful of Dollars.
  • Crapsack World: The title card sets the stage by declaring, "Where life had no value, death, sometimes, had its price. That is why the bounty killers appeared." The film was even called Death Had a Pricenote  in Spain.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Mortimer often dresses in black and is clearly the good guy when compared to El Indio.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Let's face it, this film is more about Col. Mortimer and his quest for vengeance than Manco.
  • Defiled Forever: Colonel Mortimer's sister, whose reaction doubles as a Stupid Sacrifice. Unless she was trying to shoot Indio.
  • Evil Laugh: Indio does this a lot.
  • Fan Disservice: The flashback scene, as Indio rapes Mortimer's sister and she commits suicide.
  • Faux Fluency: Gian Maria Volonté, who played El Indio, couldn't speak a word of English, but supplied his own voice to the English version anyway, speaking the dialogue phonetically with the help of a translator.
  • Freudian Trio: Manco's the Ego, Mortimer the Superego, and El Indio a very crazed Id.
  • Foreshadowing: The duel between Mortimer and El Indio in the film's climax is very similar to the Mexican Standoff in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Both take place in a stonebricked circle in a place filled with corpses.
  • For the Evulz: El Indio's reason (or lack thereof) for torturing Manco and the Colonel, and for raping Mortimer's sister and killing her husband.
  • Functional Addict: El Indio may spend most of the film under the influence of opium, but he's still an efficient and threatening villain.
  • Funny Foreground Event: Chickens start walking around in the streets of El Indio's base as Manco drives off with his bounty.
  • Genre Savvy: Indio reveals to Nino, his most trusted man, that he knew Manco and Mortimer were bounty hunters. He also knows that the gang has no chance against them, so he decides to take Nino and the money with him, and escape to anywhere far from there, while leaving the rest of the gang to face their doom. It doesn't go as planned: Groggy figures everything out, kills Nino and takes Indio as hostage, but then they both realize that Manco and Mortimer had hidden the loot before they were imprisoned by the gang and that there's no other choice but to face them.
  • Giant Mook: Indio's Dragon, Nino, portrayed by the 6 foot 4, 250 pound Mario Brega. Brega portrayed similar thugs in A Fistful of Dollars, as Chico, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as Corporal Wallace.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Nino has a festering, still bloodied one that covers one side of his face.
  • Good with Numbers: A subtle one: Colonel Mortimer wants $5,000 for opening the stolen safe. Indio's counter offer is only 2 grand, but the Colonel won't lower his fee. Seeing how Mortimer had just killed Wild the Hunchback in a gun duel and the reward for the latter is 3,000, well, you do the math.
  • Hand or Object Underwear: A prostitute uses a hand bra after Col. Mortimer interrupts her bath with a fugitive.
  • Hey, You!: The protagonists settle into a friendly rivalry of sorts, addressing one another as "boy" and "old man", respectively.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In the hat-shooting contest between Manco and Mortimer. Manco eventually proves he is unable to hit Mortimer's hat after shooting it too far away, but makes up for it by hitting the same spot in the ground at that range two times in a row. Mortimer then one ups him by shooting Manco's hat off his head from even father away, and suspending it in the air with every shot. Done a second time later when Mortimer grazes Manco's neck with a bullet, so he'll have a convincing injury to back up his story when he meets up with Indio again.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. Indio's goons kill a baby offscreen.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: invoked; Indio threatens the last remaining prison guard with an unloaded gun, then tells him that he's being left alive so that he can tell everyone else of how dangerous Indio's gang is.
  • Kick the Dog: Indio gets a lot of them during the film:
    • When orders his minions to sacrifice the family of a man, and to add a properly sadistic touch, he forces the man to watch this.
    • Gets another when he kills Cuchillo (one of his own minions).
    • Then there's the flashback scene.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Averted with Indio, who does everything he can to make certain the odds are always stacked in his favor. Make sure your opponent is outgunned? Check. Put his weapon out of reach? Check. Better yet, just disarm him? Check. This gets turned on its head in the final duel, when he shoots the gun out of Colonel Mortimer's hand. He then starts the chimes on his pocket watch, smirking at the Colonel, whose gun is on the ground several feet away. There's no way Mortimer can get to his gun before getting shot. Indio holds up the watch, saying "When the chimes end, pick up your gun. Go ahead and shoot me, Colonel. Just try." A very tense scene ensues, and Indio is reaching for his gun as the chimes wind down. Cue both of them hearing new chimes, and the Man With No Name enters, holding Mortimer's watch in one hand and a rifle in the other. Covering Indio, he goes to Mortimer and gives him his pistol, negating all of Indio's advantages. Once his friend is re-armed and satisfied that the odds are now even, the Man With No Name looks at Indio and says "Now we start." Indio doesn't say a word throughout all this but the Oh Crap expression on his face speaks volumes. He knows he's a dead man.
  • Light Is Not Good: El Indio. Sometimes he wears white clothes, but this does not mean that he is a good person.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Mortimer has one. Indio has one, except that it isn't.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: As is typical of the trilogy. Of course, Manco and Mortimer attempt to fight back, to little avail.
  • No Name Given: The Man With No Name.
  • Nostalgic Music Box: Two pocket watches, one belonging to Mortimer and the other carried by Indio, that play the same tune. The two watches originally belonged to Mortimer's sister and her husband. Indio stole one after killing him and raping her and uses the music to remind himself of the good time he had doing so, or perhaps the woman he was clearly a Stalker with a Crush for...
  • Oh Crap!: Manco gets one when, after climbing over a wall from a meeting with Mortimer, he steps on, and wakes up, one of El Indio's thugs. Mortimer follows, and gets one when he realizes Manco's not the one holding him up.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Discussed In-Universe: Colonel Mortimer provokes the Hunchback by striking a match on his hump; the Hunchback's driven to twitchy irritation but leaves the bar without retaliating. The bartender comments that "if the Hunchback didn't kill you, he must have a pretty good reason."
  • Quick Draw: Indio likes to challenge people he's captured to these; playing the Ominous Music Box Tune with its end as the cue to fire. He also likes to place whoever he's facing at a disadvantage, such as surrounding them with goons or removing their guns from easy access. It's only when Manco steps in at the end that he actually has to fight fairly. Also, Indio's heard the song a thousand times while his opponents have no clue when the music might end. This of course puts him on equal terms with Col. Mortimer.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Young, bounty hunting, suave Manco, who improvises his solutions and out shoots men in a quick drawing blaze, contrasted with Mortimer, older, revenge seeking, and who carefully plans ahead of time and prefers to snipe his quarry.
  • Red Right Hand: The Hunchback, who is perhaps the most insane of El Indio's men.
  • Refuge in Audacity: When introducing himself to El Indio's gang, Manco says that because of their huge bounties he wants to join them so he could turn them all in later. Indio brushes it off as a joke and accepts him anyway, calling it "the one answer that would prove [Manco's] allright". Except not, he instantly recognizes Manco for who he is, but decides to play along and use him later.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Indio does this early on in the movie to a guy who took money to put him behind bars. The guy had used the money to start a family, and so Indio feels that the family is "partly his." He forces him to watch as his men take the guy's wife and baby boy outside and shoot them both to death, just before sadistically setting up a duel between them using the pocketwatch that he'd made him listen to during the whole thing.
  • Riding into the Sunset: How Mortimer makes his exit after getting his revenge.
  • The Starscream: Indio's second-in-command Groggy, whose plan to take over the gang is inadvertently foiled by Manco and Mortimer.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Colonel Mortimer's pocketwatch.
  • Tranquil Fury: Mortimer calmly eats his dinner while sitting across the table from the man who raped his sister and drove her to suicide.

Alternative Title(s):

For A Few Dollars More