By Jeremy Smith
June 10, 2023
A Fistful of Dollars (Yojimbo)
A Fistful of Dollars is perhaps the most famous instance of a Western that was inspired by a samurai movie. Being a direct adaptation of the Akira Kurosawa movie Yojimbo. Director Sergio Leone expertly transposed the story of Yojimbo from its period Japanese setting to the Wild West.
In doing so, the movie established the Man with No Name trope in Hollywood cinema, borrowing from its samurai counterpart. The lead character is shown to make up a fake name at the very beginning.
A Fistful of Dollars was followed by two sequels,
collectively dubbed the Dollars trilogy. And it was responsible for launching
Clint Eastwood into stardom.
Requiem for a Gringo (Harakiri)
Requiem for a Gringo is one of the most unusual movies on this list, packed with mystical elements that give it a very psychedelic tone.
The Italian-Spanish spaghetti western is an adaptation of the movie Harakiri by Masaki Kobayashi. One of the most celebrated samurai movies of all time. It is a tense and thrilling tale of revenge that asks poignant questions about ethics and morality.
The movie earned great praise for its visual composition, which was designed meticulously by Kobayashi.
This visual style is replaced by a very different
aesthetic in Requiem for a Gringo. Where mystical motifs are aplenty to create
a sense of otherworldliness for its main character, the Jaguar Man.
The 1966 movie Django was another famous Western from the 20th Century. An Italian production that sought to capitalize on the success of A Fistful of Dollars.
The movie also adapted Yojimbo to an extent, introducing
a lone stranger who inserts himself between two warring factions. Django was considered one of the most violent
films at the time of its release. And the movie also featured the breakout role
for Italian actor and filmmaker Franco Nero.