Good-but-not-great western has overrated Clint Eastwood performance - mild violence, but should be okay for kids
This is technically a review of "A Fistful of Dollars" by Sergio Leone, but it is really, (or at least it should be) a review of the film "Yojimbo", the Akira Kurosawa film, starring Tashiro Mifune, from which "A Fistful of Dollars" stole it's plot. It's one thing to make a stylized, fun but pointless western showcasing a guy who's really annoyingly aloof, but it's another thing to make a stylized, fun but pointless western showcasing a guy who's really annoyingly aloof but also steals it's plot from another film. The sad thing here is that the Kurosawa film is better on all marks than the Leone film. The cinematography is more refined, the first scene, (which is bizarrely absent from A Fistful of Dollars despite being one of the best scenes to reinvigorate) is classic, and the acting is better (specifically Tashiro, who is more modest and much better acted than Eastwood). Thus, it's bizarre that Yojimbo is absent from many mentions of A Fistful of Dollars, given that Yojimbo is a four, or more likely five star film, whereas A Fistful sits perfectly at a three. Now, let's give credit where credit is due; A Fistful of Dollars is, first, (and it may be surprising for you to hear me say this) a good film, a Spaghetti Western that had tremendous influence on the Western Genre, and a film that spawned "For a Few Dollars More" which itself I haven't seen but it spawned "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" a film that I will talk about in it's own review but allow me to say that it's certainly a five-star film with a star-making performance by Eli Wallach. "A Fistful of Dollars" is about the "Stranger" (played by Clint Eastwood) getting into a conflict between the violent Rojo family and the Baxter family lead by John Baxter (who is himself played by Wolfgang Lukschy), the sheriff of the town. They fight amongst themselves and the Stranger enters the conflict for his own material gang. A series of complex events happen which [SPOILERS] leads to the Stranger himself coming under fire, but after the [BIG SPOILERS, SKIP TO THE RATING IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE] Rojos massacre the Baxters, the Stranger kills the Rojos, and, as was his goal, becomes the only man to come out on top. It's a good, fun, and very stylistic film, but I think I've said all that was necessary previously. As for the age rating, it's pretty standard western violence. Shootings, torture, massacres, etc. That may sound bad by modern standards but keep in mind that movies like these really show their age over time. Violence that was significant in 1964, is going to be nothing to children in 2019. Case in point: Se7en, traditionally considered one of the most disturbing films ever, and is at 1995 much more recent, still very dated in it's violence if it was to be viewed today, where it would probably be considered a mildly dark action thriller. As I've said, it depends on the kid. More mildly prominent is the presence of cigarettes and alcohol, with which the characters drink and smoke. So yeah! Watch this film if it interests you, but more importantly, watch Yojimbo.
This title contains:
Violence & scariness
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking