Yojimbo Vs. A Fistful of Dollars

Directed by Akira Kurosawa, and starring Toshirō Mifune, Yojimbo (1961), is often seen as one of the grand heights in it’s esteemed directors filmography.

On the other hand, Sergio Leone’s first Western, A Fistful of Dolars, which is a virtual remake of Yojimbo, has now become a cult classic having started off the Spaghetti Western genre.

Both are respected masterpieces, but which one do you like the best?

Despite loving both, I would go for Yojimbo, because of it’s brilliant black humour.


I’m not sure if this is even a fair question on a western board, as of course, western fans will prefer FFD.

Pretty even match though. I give FFD a slight edge based on the Morricone score.

As far as sequels go, I think FFDM has a big edge over Sanjuro.

I must admit i’ve never seen Yojimbo, the only one of these b & w Japanese films i’ve seen is Seven Samurai.

Yojimbo is a fine movie, is contains strong images as most of Kurosawa’s flicks do.

Nevertheless I’ll go for Leone, because the Colonel is right. I’m here because I love them dusters. If there are two film of comparable quality, the SW will always win. It’s not fair…

Impossible to give straight answer, I think Yojimbo is better film but Fistful is the one which I found more entertaining. So far I’ve seen Yojimbo twice and Fistful… I dunno 20 times or so.

I prefer Leone to Kurosawa on any day.

In the end Yojimbo comes from another culture, a culture I often don’t understand in many respects, and therefore there are many things in Asian movies which always will be alien for me. E.g. The acting in Asian movies is only seldomly fascinating for me.

And in the end I can watch all foreign films only from my “European” point of view, or maybe my “western” point of view. (The word western can have then 2 meanings in this context.)

Yea, you’re right. Compared to Anthony Steffen them Asian actors are as wooden as Anthony Steffen compared to Orson Welles.

Yeah its a matter of perspective. I pretty sure if you ask the same question to members of a kurosawa/samurai/japanese cinema/mifune fan forum all of them will choose Yojimbo.

Japanese fans would probably have the opposite view of Stanton. Its a cultural thing.

Not a fair question.

I slightly prefer Yojimbo (8,5/10)
Fistful of Dollars (8/10)

Not too many votes yet.

But still some Kurosawa lovers here.

Of course they will. That was what I meant. On the other hand it seems westerns were generally popular in Japan to a certain degree, but Japanese films were seldom shown in German cinemas. Yojimbo and Sanjuro weren’t released theatrically here. Or maybe only in the 80s after they premiered on TV.

Japanese (or Asian cinema in general) still plays a minor role in German TV.

I’ve never seen Yojimbo either, so obviously hard to comment. Even if I did see it, I’ll never be able to detach myself from AFOD, being the first film we saw in Almeria (on a warm night, beer in hand betwixt the actual buildings), and it would indeed be a hard act to live up to that experience. AFOD it is then.

Yes, when it comes down to it, I would give A Fistful of Dollars 8 and Yojimbo a 9. Both are great movies, but like I said before, the black humour in Kurosawa’s is hard to beat and it’s probably a good thing Leone didn’t try to copy it. Plus, in my view, the originals are always better simply because they had that first spark of inspiration.

Well, but if ONE movie deserves the attribute “first spark of inspiration” is has to be Fistful of Dollars, doesn’t it?

But it basically just changed Yojimbo’s setting to the West. Don’t get me wrong, I love A Fistful of Dollars: it’s iconic, fun and set off a new sub-genre and there could be a case made against Yojimbo that it borrows freely from Dashiell Hammett’s 1929 novel, Red Harvest but that only inspired it as opposed to what Leone did and remake it. But on the other hand, both of them still make my top 50 favorite films.

No, I want to get you wrong. So, John, you hate SWs or what?! :wink:

Both are masterpieces in their genre
I prefer Yojimbo slightly over Fistful but even I watched Fistful a few more times in my life.
Sanjuro is also a good one.
There is a well known (at least it’s known in Austrian Summer theatres) Italian comedy stageplay called Servant of two masters which could have also inspired Hammet to his novel. :wink:


A Fistful of Dollars is almost a shot-to-shot rip…errr…remake.