Here’s Who Clint Eastwood’s ‘Man With No Name’ Character Was Based On

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Spike TV)

In his more than 70-year acting career, Clint Eastwood has played a number of iconic roles. None, however, quite reach the impact and memorability of his two most celebrated characters, Dirty Harry and The Man With No Name. Clint Eastwood took up the role of The Man With No Name in a trilogy created by director Sergio Leone, famous for his Spaghetti Westerns.

As iconic as The Man With No Name is, however, it’s not an original character. When creating the first film of the franchise, Fistful of Dollars, Sergio Leone drew a great deal of inspiration from Yojimbo, a Japanese samurai movie Akira Kurosawa. He took so much from Yojimbo, in fact, that Fistful of Dollars is often referred to as an unofficial remake of the classic samurai film.

Not only are the plots of the movies similar, but The Man With No Name is essentially a carbon copy of the main character of Yojimbo, another man with no name. Though Toshiro Mifune’s character gives the pseudonym Kuwabatake Sanjuro when pressed to do so, his true identity is never revealed.

The two obviously don’t resemble each other in the slightest. One is a samurai and the other a cowboy, after all. However, both are ultra-tough anti-heroes with the single-minded goal of mowing down their enemies.

The actors’ careers are also mirror images of one another. Clint Eastwood got his start in Spaghetti Westerns, which set him on the path towards becoming a Western icon. On the other side of the world, Toshiro Mifune’s role in Yojimbo opened the door to rest of his career, in which he starred in a variety of classic samurai films.

Clint Eastwood Still Has the Poncho From the ‘Man With No Name’ Trilogy

The Man With No Name trilogy (Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) changed the trajectory of Clint Eastwood’s career and the Western genre as a whole. And though Eastwood plays the aloof anti-hero to perfection, he’s still human. Like anyone, he has a sentimental side.

Throughout the trilogy, The Man With No Name wore a wide-brim cowboy hat and a brown and white poncho. Because the poncho became synonymous with the character, Clint Eastwood kept it as a memento of his work on the films.

The poncho took quite a bit of punishment throughout the filming of the trilogy. It’s also now close to 60 years old. But Clint Eastwood has taken excellent care of it over the years. He’s so determined to maintain its integrity that he’s never washed it.

In a 2002 interview with Entertainment Today, Clint Eastwood gave the details behind the care his beloved poncho receives. “I still have that, yeah,” Eastwood said of his Dollars Trilogy poncho. “It’s sitting in a glass case. Never been washed. If you washed it, it would fall apart … It was folded up after The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and it hasn’t been unfolded yet.”