YMMV / A Fistful of Dollars

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Just why exactly did Joe/The Man With No Name feel compelled to insert himself into the feud between the Rojos and the Baxters? Was it really all because the plight of the family reminded him of something tragic from his past, or was he guided by some other force? His mysterious persona leaves it open to all sorts of interpretations.
    • In fact, the mystery annoyed TV network execs so much that when the film premiered on TV an opening was filmed with Harry Dean Stanton acting as a marshal hiring Joe to take care of the Rojos in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. Since Clint Eastwood himself was not available an actor roughly matching his size and build was given a rough replica of his costume and filmed with a hat over his face to cover for the fact that he wasn't Eastwood.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Basically Jolly Films' attitude towards the movie: they viewed Fistful as a cheap write-off to reuse sets and costumes from a previous Western, Gunfight at Red Sands. They also initially gave it a limited release, partly due to the legal troubles over its resemblance to Yojimbo, dumping it as the second feature on double bills. Eventually it became a hit in Italy through word-of-mouth, which earned it an international release, a sequel, a prequel, and a fistful of legal troubles.
  • Awesome Music: Do the words Ennio Morricone mean anything to you?
  • Chaotic Neutral: Joe, who bounces between Chaotic Neutral and Chaotic Good.
    The Rojos on one side of town, the Baxters on the other, and me right in the middle. Crazy bellringer was right, there's money to be made in a place like this."
  • Complete Monster: Ramon Rojo just seems to enjoy being evil. In his first appearance, he and his gang brutally massacre a Mexican army unit to steal their gold. He kidnaps a woman and forces her to live with him, claiming that her husband was cheating him at cards. He slaughters the rival Baxter family as they try to surrender to him, tortures "Joe" for helping the woman he kidnapped escape, and, towards the end, has Silvanito tortured when he thinks he might be hiding Joe and is about to hang him when Joe interrupts. That's in addition to being an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy regarding his skill with the rifle, an extreme Jerkass in his interactions with everybody, and the brains of a gang of illegal rum-runners who keeps a stranglehold on the life of a small town.
  • Counterpart Comparison: Joe and Sanjuro. Sanjuro is gruff, middle-aged, crass, and confident. Joe, on the other hand, is younger, sprier and drier-witted.
    • Silvanito is a direct counterpart of Gonji. However, Silvanito goes out of his way to accompany Joe on his missions.
    • Don Benito/Don Miguel and Ushitora. Ushitora is only somewhat upstaged by his brother Unosuke, while Don Miguel is completely sidelined by Ramon.
    • Ramon and Unosuke. Both are more or less the same: Gun Crazy sociopaths who do all the dirty work.
    • The only thing Esteban and Inokichi have in common is their roles within their families. Other than that the two are complete opposites in personality. Esteban is The Hyena, while Inokichi is a comical Dumb Muscle.
    • Chico and Kannuki are both a Giant Mook who deliver a nasty beating to The Hero. However, Chico is killed off earlier.
    • Consuelo Baxter and Orin. Both are the Evil Matriarch of their families, except that Consuelo is much gentler and more sympathetic, whereas Orin is more of a Bad Boss who mistreats the women who work for her and openly plots to get Sanjuro on her side to help her family overthrow Ushitora.
    • Marisol and Nui are pretty much exactly alike, both being a Damsel in Distress separated from their family.
  • Evil Is Cool: Ramon, being an Expy of Unosuke, may be Ax-Crazy, but he sure is tough.
  • Faux Symbolism: The movie is rife with subtle religious imagery. The dinner party at the Rojos, for instance, is cleverly made to resemble Da Vinci's 'Last Supper'. Marisol's escape with her family is vaguely reminiscent of Mary and Joseph's Flight to Egypt, with both children being named Jesus, and Joe's torture brings the Flagellation of Christ to mind.
  • Genre Turning Point: For the Spaghetti Western. Most Spaghetti Westerns prior to this were merely copies of American Westerns, and generally of poor quality. Leone (along with Bruno Bezzetto, who began making West and Soda two years prior) was the first director to give the subgenre its distinct style.
  • Memetic Mutation: The Man With No Name's Poncho, Hat and Cigar.
  • Narm: The little boy's whining and crying may come off being more obnoxious in the English language dub due to the poor quality of the English actor (or actress) dubbing the kid.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Ramon Rojo (the Big Bad) is undeniably evil, not only prevails this territory when he forces (and tries to rape) a woman to live with him and threatens to kill her young son if she is not given, his most monstrous moment was having massacred the entire Baxter family, including the matriarch, and Ramon just laughs killing every family member, as do his thugs.
  • What an Idiot: Ramon and his men freak out over Joe's apparent inability to die when Ramon shoots him repeatedly with his rifle, yet it never occurs to Ramon to try shooting Joe in the head, nor does it occur to him or his men to just open fire indiscriminately when Joe reveals he was wearing a crude bullet proof vest the whole time.
    • Sort of a justified trope as in an early scene, Joe calls out Ramon for not doing a head shot during a practice shoot. Ramon believes that to really kill a man you must aim for the heart. Joe counted on it and called him on it during the aforementioned bulletproof vest scene. There's also the fact that at the time, a truly bulletproof vest was almost unheard of.