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5. The 'Dollars' Trilogy
Films: "A Fistful Of Dollars" (1964), "For A Few Dollars More" (1965), "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" (1966)
Director: Sergio Leone
Best of the bunch: "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly," which manages to tell a ripping yarn on an epic scale working in pure archetype. There is a reason that storytellers still refer to this structure when building films now.
Weakest Link: "For A Few Dollars More," and that's still damn fine.
Why it's a great trilogy: From the very start, these films were of uncommon pedigree. For an Italian filmmaker to remake a Japanese samurai movie in the form of an American Western must have seemed crazy, but in execution, it serves to illuminate both source and subversion. The movies made Clint Eastwood an international star, and for perfectly understandable reason: he is a movie star in every scene in all three films. Leone's casting is nothing short of inspired in role after role after role, and by the time we get to the graveyard at the end of the final film, it feels like he has toured the entire legend of the Old West and laid it to rest, once and for all.
- Drew McWeeny