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The Man With No Name ( ) is a stock character in western films, but the term usually applies specifically to the character (or possibly characters) played by Americanmarker actor Clint Eastwood in what is often called "The Dollars Trilogy" directed by Sergio Leone.




The popularity of the character brought about a series of spin-off books, dubbed the "Dollar" series due to the common theme in their titles, written by Joe Millard and Brian Fox. They included novelizations of A Fistful of Dollars, written by Frank Chandler and For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Joe Millard and are as follows:

In July 2007, American comic book company Dynamite Entertainment announced that they were going to begin publishing a comic book featuring The Man With No Name. Set after the events of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the comic will be written by Christos Gage. Dynamite refers to him as "Blondie", the nickname Tuco uses for him in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The first issue was released in the Spring of 2008, entitled, The Man with No Name: The Good, The Bad, and The Uglier. Luke Lieberman and Matt Wolpert took over the writing for issues #s 7-11. Initially, Chuck Dixon was scheduled to take over the writing chores with issue #12, but Dynamite ended the series and opted to use Dixon's storyline for a new series titled The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The new series is not an adaptation of the movie, despite its title.

Stephen King stated in the re-release of the first four books of his Dark Tower series that the main character Roland Deschain, also known as The Gunslinger, was based on Clint Eastwood's portrayal of The Man with No Name.

Concept and creation

A Fistful of Dollars was directly adapted from Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo. It was the subject of a successful lawsuit by Yojimbo's producers. The film's protagonist, a gruff, unconventional ronin played by Toshiro Mifune, bears a striking resemblance to Eastwood's character: both are quiet, gruff, eccentric strangers with a strong but unorthodox sense of justice and extraordinary proficiency with a particular weapon (in Mifune's case, a katana; for Eastwood, a revolver). Another, perhaps more oblique, point of similarity, is the contrast of weaponry between parties: while the protagonist uses a conventional weapon, the main antagonist in each film uses a more advanced, unfairly powerful weapon: a firearm in Yojimbo - unusual or illegal at that time in Japan; and in Fistful, a lever-action rifle.

Like Eastwood's character, Mifune's ronin is nameless. When pressed, he gives the pseudonym Sanjuro Kuwabatake (meaning "thirty-year-old mulberry field"), a reference to his age and something he sees through a window. The convention of saving an arm to kill is shared as well with Mifune's character typically wearing his arms inside his kimono, leaving the sleeves empty. Prior to signing on to Fistful, Eastwood had seen Kurosawa's film and was impressed by the character. During filming, he did not emulate Mifune's performance beyond what was already in the script. He also insisted on removing some of the dialogue in the original script, making the character more silent and thus adding to his mystery. As the trilogy progressed, the character became even more silent and stoic.

Yojimbo is itself, however, believed to have been based on Dashiell Hammett's novel Red Harvest. Kurosawa scholar David Desser and film critic Manny Farber, among others, state categorically that Red Harvest was the inspiration for the Kurosawa film Yojimbo. Leone himself clearly believed this theory, stating:

"Kurosawa's Yojimbo was inspired by an American novel of the serie-noire so I was really taking the story back home again."

Although Kurosawa never publicly credited Hammett, he privately acknowledged Red Harvest as an influence. The name of the lead character in Hammett's Red Harvest is also unrevealed — a man with no name — and identified only as a Continental Op after the detective agency he works for.

A subsequent film, Last Man Standing (1996), starring Bruce Willis is a credited remake of Yojimbo.


During A Fistful of Dollars, the character is referred to as "Joe" by the undertaker, and Eastwood is also credited as "Joe." In For a Few Dollars More, he is called "Manco" (Spanish: "one armed"), referring to the way he does everything left-handed except for shooting. In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Tuco usually calls him "Blondie". In a scene cut from the international version, a Union Captain asks his name, to which he responds with an "Uhh", imitating Tuco, and the conversation moves elsewhere.


The "Man With No Name", as personified by Eastwood, embodies the archetypical characteristics of the American movie cowboy — toughness, exceptional physical strength or size, independence, and skill with a gun — but departed from the original archetype due to his moral ambiguity. Unlike the traditional cowboy, exemplified by actors John Wayne, Alan Ladd, and Randolph Scott, the Man with No Name will fight dirty and shoot first, if required by his own self-defined sense of justice. Although he tends to look for ways to benefit himself, he has, in a few cases, aided others if he feels an obligation to, such as freeing a couple held captive in A Fistful of Dollars and comforting a dying soldier after the bridge explosion in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

He is generally portrayed as an outsider, a mercenary or bounty hunter, or even an outlaw. He is characteristically soft-spoken and laconic. The character is an oft-cited example of an anti-hero, although he has a soft spot for people in deep trouble. While rescuing the young mother in A Fistful of Dollars, he responds to query about his motives with a curt "I knew somebody like you, once ... and there was no one to help." This, along with the comment "I never found home that great" and stating that he hails from Illinoismarker, sums up the only personal history the viewer ever receives about the character.

The character's distinctive appearance consists of a battered brown hat with a telescope crown, pale blue shirt, black jeans, tan boots, a sheepskin vest, and a patterned sarape or "poncho". He is usually armed with one revolver with a silver rattlesnake on the grip, which is holstered on a right-handed gunbelt. In contrast with other Western heroes of the early- to mid-1960s, The Man is unshaven, almost to the point of sporting a full beard. He habitually smokes a cigarillo while working.

Due to budget considerations, Eastwood made the initial investment for his character's appearance and demeanour. Most of the clothing was purchased second-hand in California (with the exception of the sarape or poncho, which was provided by Leone); the gunbelt and holster were from Eastwood's previous TV series Rawhide. The Man's trademark cigars were also from California; their harshness put Eastwood in what he called a "scratchy mood", which aided in his characterization. The trademark squint was partly due to these cigarros, partly from Eastwood's allergy to horses.

Director Leone has admitted that the iconic green poncho, so indelible to the character now, was less a style decision than an attempt on his part to make the conventionally built Eastwood look more like the actor he originally had in mind: American muscleman Steve Reeves, fresh from his years starring in Italian Hercules movies. He found it in Spain where the shooting took place.


  1. Christos Gage on Dynamite's The Man with No Name, July 12 2007, at Newsarama
  2. Man With No Name: The Good, The Bad And The Uglier #1, Newsarama, March 25, 2008
  3. The Man With No Name's New Team: Lieberman & Wolpert, Newsarama, August 19, 2008
  4. New Writers on The Man With No Name, Comic Book Resources, October 23, 2008
  5. Chuck Dixon to Write The Man With No Name, Newsarama, August 20, 2008
  6. Moving Image program notes for Yojimbo
  7. Roger Ebert review
  8. From an interview conducted for a DVD documentary on Kurosawa
  9. Roger Ebert's review of Yojimbo: "Kurosawa's inspiration was Dashiell Hammett's novel Red Harvest, in which a private eye sets one gang against another."
  10. Kurosawa's Red Harvests - January 9, 2007 - The New York Sun
  11. Allen Barra, 'From Red Harvest to Deadwood', Salon (2005)
  12. Frayling, Spaghetti Westerns (1981)
  13. David Carradine, Spirit of Shaolin, 1993, Tuttle Publishing, ISBN 0804818282. Carradine's memoirs in which Roger Corman recounts Kurosawa acknowledging Red Harvest as his source.
  14. Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest, 1989, Vintage Publishing, ISBN 0679722610.

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