The Spaghetti Incident: A Fistful of Dollars

Nathan Chandler

Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

For decades, Western films have been a staple for filmmakers all over the world. Take a stereotypical American cowboy, insert him into a well-worn story and then ride off into the sunset. "A Fistful of Dollars" was different. It used intricate lighting and ominous storytelling to create a captivating film that launched the career of a new Hollywood icon. How much do you know about this movie?

Who was the star of "A Fistful of Dollars"?

Clint Eastwood was a young American actor looking for a break to get into the film industry. He traveled to Italy and managed to score a leading role in "A Fistful of Dollars."

Who wrote the original screenplay for "Fistful of Dollars"?

Sergio Leone was the creative force behind the original Italian screenplay. Leone, of course, also directed the film.

What is a "spaghetti Western"?

Spaghetti Westerns were Western-style movies inspired by Italian director Sergio Leone's distinctive execution. Following the success of "A Fistful of Dollars," spaghetti Westerns became popular, especially in the 60s.

"A Fistful of Dollars" turned into a series of movies based on the same main character. How many movies are in the series?

"A Fistful of Dollars" is the first of three movies in the series. All of the movies star Eastwood, and all of them are directed by Sergio Leone.

Where was the primary shooting location for the movie?

The movie was shot in Spain. Much of the footage is from the Hoyo de Manzanares area near Madrid.

In what year was the movie released to American theaters?

The movie was released in Italy in 1964, and it was instantly successful. It was finally released in the United States in 1967.

In the movie, the Rojo brothers are fighting to take control of the town. How many brothers are there?

There are three Rojo brothers engaged in the town conflict. They are Ramon, Esteban and Don Miguel.

Which actor did Sergio Leone first want for the lead role?

As he developed the film's concept, Leone thought that Henry Fonda would be perfect for the part. But the small Italian studio couldn't afford to pay for Fonda, who was already an established star.

When he was cast for the leading role, Eastwood was an unknown entity in America.

Eastwood was well-known to American audiences through his appearances on the TV show "Rawhide." But he had never had a major big-screen role.

Charles Bronson reportedly turned down the leading role. Why?

The filmmakers approached Charles Bronson about starring in the film. He read the script, decided it was terrible and then turned down their offer.

Why were the filmmakers sued following the film's release?

Ultimately, the film was an unofficial and unsanctioned remake of a 1961 Japanese film called "Yojimbo." The directed sued Leone and won a large settlement.

The story unfolds in which area?

The story takes place in a Mexican town called San Miguel. When Eastwood's character rides into town, two local families are clashing in an effort to take control of San Miguel.

Why was Eastwood drawn to the role of The Man With No Name?

In his "Rawhide" appearances, Eastwood was always the nice cowboy. He wanted to be an anti-hero, and "A Fistful of Dollars" gave him that opportunity.

Roughly how much did it cost to make the movie?

"A Fistful of Dollars" was a low-budget film that only cost about $200,000. It was a massive financial success.

How much did the film earn at U.S. box offices?

For a low-budget film, this one made heaps of money. It grossed more than $14 million in the U.S. alone.

What is The Man With No Name's weapon of choice?

The Man With No Name has a hard heart and fast hands. He can draw his pistol and gun down his opponents before they even know what's happening.

How did Eastwood communicate with the crew, which mostly spoke only Italian?

Sergio Leone didn't speak English, so Eastwood needed a translator to understand his part. One of the film's Italian stuntmen performed the job of interpreter.

In the movie, The Man With No Name is mostly motivated by what?

The Man With No Name is violent, but he's also cunning. He plays two local families against each other so that he can steal a pile of gold.

Eastwood reportedly made how much money for his role in the movie?

The actor reportedly made about $15,000 for his role. That may not sound like much but adjusted for inflation, that translates into more than $110,000.

Actor Jason Robards considered the role but turned it down. How much money did he want for his salary?

Robards wanted $25,000, which was $10,000 more than Eastwood. The producers simply couldn't pay Robards enough to retain his services.

What's the color of the poncho that Eastwood wears in all of the "Dollars" films?

The Man With No Name wears a green poncho throughout the movies. It's a minor costume change, but one that added to the character's iconic stature.

How many people got credit for writing the English version of the film?

Two people wrote or altered much of the English dialogue. They were Mark Lowell … and Clint Eastwood.

In the movie, Eastwood's character has no official name. What's his nickname?

Eastwood is The Man With No Name throughout the entire "Dollars" trilogy. In the first film, though, his nickname becomes Joe.

What role did Jack Dalmas have in the making of the film?

Dalmas was the acting cinematographer. His real (Italian) name was Massimo Dallamano. For the U.S. release, the film crew concocted American-sounding names so as not to drawn attention to the film's Italian origins.

Who plays the part of Marisol?

Marianne Koch was Marisol, who is essentially a prisoner to Ramon. Koch was a German actress famous for her roles in spaghetti Westerns.

In the U.S., the movie was distributed by which company?

United Artists distributed the film in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. In Italy, the job fell to a firm called Unidis.

What is job title of the character named John Baxter?

Baxter is the town's sheriff. He's no beacon of justice, though -- his family is fighting with the Rojos for control of the area.

Antonio is a member of which family?

Antonio is John Baxter's son. John is infuriated when he learns that the Rojos have taken Antonio captive.

The film features a character named Piripero. What is his job?

Piripero is the town's coffin maker. As the film unfolds and The Man With No Name builds his body count, Piripero gets a big boost to business.

The Man With No Name is shot at the end of the movie. How does he manage to survive?

The Man With No Name uses his green poncho to hide a metal plate, which deflects all of the bullets that smack his body. He then kills the bad guys and rides off into the sunset.

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