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Dollars Trilogy Movie Order & Connections Explained

Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy is an iconic trio of Clint Eastwood westerns that are loosely connected — and the best order to watch them in isn’t chronological. Starting with 1964’s A Fistful of Dollars, Leone launched a highly successful film movement. The director is credited with having founded the Spaghetti Western subgenre; what’s more, A Fistful of Dollars launched the movie career of then TV-star Clint Eastwood.

Following A Fistful of Dollars, Leone directed the loose sequel, 1965’s For a Few Dollars More. This was followed by the Dollars and 1966’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In general, the Dollars Trilogy helped establish the filmmakers’ approach as a director, as well as the aesthetic style of the entire Western genre. Italian auteur Sergio Leone remains influential to this day, with his unique approach to genre film being imitated in more recent properties, like The Hateful Eight and The Mandalorianas somSergio Lething like John Ford’s The Searchers or Stagecoach, were episodic and grand. According to the filmmaker, his films were not meant to spark a cinematic revolution; even so, they inspired 200 additional Spaghetti Westerns, and half of them contained the word “dollars” in the title.

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Following A Fistful of Dollars, Eastwood and Leone would go on to collaborate on two additional films together, each using the experience to evolve as filmmakers. Leone’s Dollars Trilogy was both popular and influential, largely because of Leone’s masterful direction. The scope often felt larger than life, the music, courtesy of original movie score composer Ennio Morricone, was instantly iconic, and the stories felt relatable and exciting. Seemingly overnight, the Westerns turned Clint Eastwood into a movie star.

What The Dollars Trilogy Is

The Dollars Trilogy is the unofficial, overarching name assigned to Leone’s trio of films. While A Fistful of Dollars, one of the best Westerns of all time, was an instant smash hit overseas, American audiences had largely grown tired of the Western genre. Though there was the occasional standout production – see John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence in 1962, John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven in 1960, or Howard Hawk’s Rio Bravo in 1959 – most of the Western films that jogged out of Hollywood in late 1950s and early 1960s were products seen as self-parody. Critics, filmmakers, and big box office names had more or less distanced themselves from the genre.

With Leone’s films, however, American distributor United Artists sought a strong angle to help boost the release of the pictures in the Americas. They were the first to come up with the notion of “The Man with No Name” – the mysterious character portrayed and immortalized by Eastwood – and therefore, the notion of corralling these films as a trilogy. The marketing campaign was based around the fact that Clint Eastwood’s character in all three films donned the same clothes, and acted, roughly, in a similar manner. In reality, much of the character’s costume, including the iconic poncho and sheepskin vest, were brought overseas by Eastwood as part of his own wardrobe from the set of Rawhide.

The Best Order To Watch The Dollars Trilogy

While Leone himself had never intended his three films to be packaged as a trilogy, there are events in the movies that establish a timeline. The unofficial order for the Sergio Leone movies is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly at the forefront, acting as a prequel to For a Few Dollars More, and then finishing with A Fistful of Dollars. Remarkably, despite the director’s intentions, or lack thereof, the three films do not contain any major continuity errors when viewed as a continuous series.

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Given its expansive reliance and commentary on the American Civil War, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is chronologically the earliest movie, despite being produced last. Leone had implemented the infamous American conflict into his film in order to deliver some stark commentary against the brutality of war, primarily using Eastwood’s character. In terms of events, Blondie slowly picks up the pieces of his iconic outfit throughout before finally donning the whole thing in the ending of Clint Eastwood’s movie.

For a Few Dollars More takes place after The Good, the Bad and the Ugly not only because Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), the vengeful bounty hunter who teams up with Manco to track down an outlaw, is a veteran of the Civil War, but because a newspaper can be seen in the film containing the year 1872. The only factor that puts For a Few Dollars More before A Fistful of Dollars, however, is that Manco and Mortimer engage in a bravado shooting contest where the target is the “Man with No Name’s” hat. The holes from that squabble can be seen in A Fistful of Dollars.

Where To Watch The Dollars Trilogy Online

Man With No Name and Col. Douglas in For A Few Dollars More

The Dollars Trilogy is not currently available to stream for free on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime in the United States. Netflix does have the streaming rights to the movies in some territories, though. The easiest way to access Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy in the U.S. is to rent or purchase through a video-on-demand service. Amazon Prime offers paid rental option, as does Google Play, iTunes, YouTube, and others. Although the prices vary, most services offer A Fistful of DollarsFor A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly individually for $3.99 to rent. Occasionally, full versions of the movies will be uploaded to YouTube by independent users.

Inconsistencies In The Dollars Trilogy

While there are no major continuity errors throughout the Dollars trilogy, the fact remains that Sergio Leone had not intended the three films to be viewed in tandem, and as a result, there are some minor inconsistencies throughout the productions. Most prominently, while United Artists’ campaign strategy revolved around branding Clint Eastwood’s character as “The Man with No Name,” he has a different nickname in each: in A Fistful of Dollars, he is referred to as Joe; in For A Few Dollars More, he’s called Manco; and in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, his name is Blondie. To be fair, all three of these names, especially the latter, are assigned to the character by other figures in Leone’s Wild West.

Another issue is that actors appear in different roles in the Dollars Trilogy. For instance, Lee Van Cleef, who played Colonel Mortimor in For a Few Dollars More, also played Angel Eyes (aka “The Bad”) in The Good, the Bad and The Ugly. Though Mortimer survived the events of the previous production, his devilish character arc would be nonsensical in the latter, especially if The Good, the Bad and the Ugly took place prior to For a Few Dollars More. Also, Italian actor Gian Maria Volontè played the central antagonist in both A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. Ultimately though, since the actors are playing distinct characters in the different movies, the recasting doesn’t undermine the Dollars Trilogy in a major way.

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