Sergio Leone (3 January 1929 30 April 1989) was an Italian film director who almost single-handedly launched (and directed the most memorable movies of) the mid-sixties/early-seventies cycle of Spaghetti Westerns.
His major films:
- A Fistful of Dollars — An inspired rip-off of Yojimbonote , which effectively transplanted Kurosawa's Jidai Geki to The Wild West (and made Clint Eastwood a star). Together with the next two, it makes up the "Dollars" Trilogy.
- For a Few Dollars More — The sequel. It has Eastwood's "man with no name" and Lee Van Cleef's "man in black" as rival Bounty Hunters going after a Frank Booth-esque bad guy played by Gian Maria Volonté again. For one of them, It's Personal.
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly — The Prequel, and one of the greatest films of the Western genre ever. Gold Fever, The American Civil War, lots of Foe Yay between the Villain Protagonist and the Supporting Protagonist, and an Ennio Morricone theme that has since become a Standard Snippet. Lee Van Cleef plays a completely different character, this time, the Big Bad.
- Once Upon a Time in the West — Leone's deconstruction of the entire Western genre, including his own previous films. Best known among film buffs for its stroke-of-genius casting: Charles Bronson as another "man with no name," smoky Claudia Cardinale as the Determined Widow whose fortunes drive the plot, and Henry Fonda as the villain. Best known to the rest of the world as the title that launched a thousand snowclones, including Tsui Hark's Once Upon a Time in China, and Robert Rodriguez's Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
- A Fistful of Dynamite — Takes place during the Mexican Revolution in 1913, undoubtedly his most overlooked film. Suffered badly from Leone's conviction that Americans have ever used the phrase "Duck, you sucker!" (its original title).
- My Name Is Nobody — Leone's farewell to the genre he helped to create. Leone is credited as the producer, but directed several scenes himself. He also produced a follow-up, the In Name Only sequel called Nobody's the Greatest (or A Genius, Two Partners, and a Dupe).
- Once Upon a Time in America — Epic gangster movie set in New York during The Roaring '20s. Follows the rise of four boys in the criminal underworld.