Ranking on IMDb Top 250: #120
Director: Sergio Leone
Starring: Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef
In response to a dedicated reader's request – thanks for following, Guntars! – today's movie is a classic spaghetti Western by famed Italian director Sergio Leone. For a Few Dollars More is the second film in a loosely connected trilogy following The Man With No Name, an iconic Clint Eastwood character identifiable by his ever-present poncho and burning cigar. It's actually my least favorite movie in the trilogy (which also includes A Fistful of Dollars and all-time classic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), but it's still a great film, and one that employs all of Leone's trademark directorial decisions including long, wide-frame staredowns and largely implied shots of brutal gunfights.
Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef offer brilliant dueling performances as rival bounty hunters who decide to take their talents to South Beach, in this summer's parlance, to take down a particularly rowdy gang of outlaws. The duo spends close to two hours just performing badass acts to one-up the other's, when eventually the outlaws' planned heist begins, and their teamwork starts to shine. After a satisfying climax, the Man With No Name rides off into the horizon, per his idiom.
I have to admit that I'm a little shocked that this is the 120th greatest movie of all time according to IMDb users while its predecessor A Fistful of Dollars is nowhere to be found on the list. There have been allegations that Fistful plagiarizes, but I've seen no evidence, and my ignorant bliss allows me to unabashedly love watching Eastwood as a loner caught between two rival gangs who have taken over a town, leaving only the coffin maker with a job. It's definitely cooler than For a Few Dollars More, and really, isn't coolness what spaghetti Westerns mostly have going for them?
But this is about More, not Fistful, and I'll say that I appreciate it as a standalone movie and endorse its position on the list. This might be Eastwood's first truly "Eastwood" performance that set him up for forty years of playing the guy in this movie – not that I'm complaining, obviously, if you know the blog. In Fistful he's still kind of a standard Western stock character; in More, he really becomes the ultimate badass with a heart we would love in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Dirty Harry, Unforgiven, and dozens more. That's pretty significant even disregarding the quality of the movie. Fortunately, it's damn good, and would easily rank among my top 10 Westerns of all time.
The Good: Eastwood becomes Eastwood. It's important to watch it if only for that reason. Also, Lee Van Cleef strikes a match for his pipe on the hunchback of an outlaw in a saloon. Top 5 Western scene of all time.
The Bad: Feels somewhat incomplete, unlike its epic follow-up. A Fistful of Dollars feels somewhat incomplete, too, but it's still a fair criticism to level at it.
The Skinny: I wouldn't have it as high, but I'd have it on my list.