Clint Eastwood in The ‘Dollars’ Trilogy: How He Landed Man With No Name Role

by Allison Hambrick
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Legendary actor Clint Eastwood became a household name, ironically, for playing the Man With No Name in the Dollars trilogy. However, less well-known is the story of how director Sergio Leone decided to cast the then-unknown Eastwood.

At a Glance

  • Clint Eastwood scored the role of the Man With No Name
  • According to IMDB, the best Clint Eastwood film is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
  • Other films that rank high include Unforgiven and Gran Torino.

How Clint Eastwood Became the Man With No Name

While it’s hard to imagine, there was a time when Eastwood was known for being a television star. Reportedly, Leone saw Eastwood’s performance in the CBS series Rawhide. Additionally, the episode he watched was called “The Black Sheep,” which primarily featured Eastwood’s character. At the time, the young actor had yet to make a name in the film industry.

However, there is another account of how Eastwood joined the Dollars trilogy. Before Eastwood was cast, Leone considered several major film stars. These actors included Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and Richard Harrison. The old Hollywood urban legend goes that Harrison turned the part down. Producers then asked him who they should consider for the film. Harrison supposedly chose Eastwood. Why? Because he already knew how to ride a horse.

Ultimately, Eastwood made his first appearance as the Man With No Name Fistful of Dollars in 1964. It became a huge hit. As a result, more Italian-produced westerns started being made. These are now known as Spaghetti Westerns. After their initial success, Eastwood and Leone reunited for both For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Though there is no overarching storyline, Eastwood played the same role in all three films.

Ranking Clint Eastwood’s Films

In addition, this role would become one of Eastwood’s most memorable. In fact, IMDB lists The Good, the Bad And the Ugly as his best film. Completing the Dollars trilogy, the film opened to mixed reviews. Its reception grew positive with time. Now, the movie is considered the definitive Spaghetti Western.

From Time to Empire, the film is regularly among the ranks of the movies of all time. Unsurprisingly, the other films in the Dollars series also ranked the top ten for best Eastwood films. A Fistful of Dollars ranked at number nine, while For a Few More Dollars made it to number two. Other popular Eastwood films that made the top ten include: UnforgivenGran Torino, Million Dollar BabyLetters From Iwo JimaMystic River, and Changling

Interestingly, one of Eastwood’s greatest movie roles didn’t make the top ranking–Dirty Harry. However, it did score a respectable number 12. IMDB possibly solved the age-old debate–which Eastwood role is better Dirty Harry or the Man With No Name? Either way, both are iconic characters in film history.

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