**** ½ Out of 5
Tagline- The Man with No Name Is Back
Release Date- December 18th, 1965
Running Time- 132-Minutes
Screenplay- Luciano Vincenzoni & Sergio Leone
Director- Sergio Leone
Starring- Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volonte, Mario Brega, Luigi Pistilli, Klaus Kinski
Released in Italy in 1965 and in the States in 1967, For a Few Dollars more is the 2nd film in Sergio Leone’s epic Man with No Name trilogy, but don’t go into For a Few Dollars more expecting a sequel since all three films stand on their own and none are continuations of the previous. With a Fistful of Dollars, Leone took not only the spaghetti western in a new direction, but the American western as well and as good as Fistful of Dollars was For a Few Dollars More in my opinion trumps it in every single aspect. Fistful of Dollars was an excellent film with a great opening and closing act, but the middle could be a bit sluggish in spots and while I very much enjoyed the film I also don’t think its as good as its reputation. Its a very good film, but I don’t rate it as one of the great films, but For a Few Dollars more is one of the greatest westerns of all time and one of the greatest films of all time. For a Few Dollars More is the film that Sergio Leone truly arrived.
This time around the Man with No Name (Eastwood) or as he’s referred to Monco is a bounty hunter and he’s on the trail of El Indio (Volonte), but Monco has some competition as Col. Douglas Mortimer (Van Cleef) also a bounty hunter arrives into town also seeking to bring down El Indio and Monco and Mortimer end up forming a bit of an uneasy alliance as they set their sights on El Indio and his gang.
The screenplay by Luciano Vincenzoni & Sergio Leone is well plotted and often funny as well at times. The plot for For a Few Dollars More is rather straight forward, but it always works well. Characters are much stronger here than Fistful of Dollars as they have more depth and far more interesting. This is a very well written film with a solid plot and excellent characters. El Indio is one of my favorite movie villains and he’s quite evil; he’s a rapist and murderer and two of his victims are a woman and her 18-month old baby, but Vincenzoni & Leone also show another side of El Indio as he does seem to have some regrets about what he’s done not that it makes him sympathetic or any less evil, but it was an interesting touch to an excellent screenplay.
Director Sergio Leone greatly improved from Fistful of Dollars as this film gets off to a great start and remains just as good throughout the picture. Despite the 132-minute running time, For a Few Dollars More is excellently paced as each scene somehow advances the picture. For a Few Dollars More like many Italian films has a great visual look and the action scenes are better staged and far more polished than Fistful of Dollars (they were good, but greatly improved here). To me this is when Sergio Leone went from a good filmmaker to a great filmmaker and this was a great directed film the action scenes as I stated are excellent and are also very exciting and the suspense level is quite high as well, which is something most people seem to ignore when talking about For a Few Dollars More.
I think a big part of what elevates this film to greatness is the pairing of Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef two of the best film tough guys. Eastwood like always is great here and there isn’t any actor that could have played the role of Monco any better, but in many ways it’s Lee Van Cleef as Mortimer that steals the show. He’s just as deadly and just as tough and has this cool factor working for him. Seeing these two legends together is quite a blast and Mortimer also has a backstory with El Indio though it takes the whole film to get to it.
Overall For a Few Dollars More is a truly great film with an excellent screenplay and fun and exciting action scenes and with Eastwood and Van Cleef its one of the best pairings in film and Gian Maria Volonte is also terrific as the sadistic El Indio. For a Few Dollars More is as good of a western as you’ll find and despite the popularity I think it deserves even more credit.