December 31, 2011 · Print This Article

After several weeks of staring at the one sheet for DUCK, YOU SUCKER (A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE) in my Netflix que, and feeling annoyed by the huge font and having to read the word “sucker” all the time, I made time to watch this long (2.5 hours) movie. It does not feel lengthy as the movie is several distinct scenes each building on the other in scope. I would not categorize this movie as a western either, as for me that requires a saloon scene. Rather, this is firmly a war movie set in the very last remnants of the old west as it existed in Mexico.

An Irish dynamite expert played by James Coburn (I want to check out more of his movies now) happens to run into a family of small time bandits lead by Juan while making his way through Mexico at the time of the revolution of Poncho Villa. Right from the beginning it is established that dynamite trumps bullets.


The rest of the movie follows these two characters as they go from reluctant, or rather blackmailed partners just looking to rob banks, to accidental major players in the revolution.


Sergio Leone directed showing his trademark super tight eyes closeups in the opening scenes. Juan gets a ride on the richest looking stagecoach I have ever seen in a movie with the upper class passengers degrade him to his face for his uncouthness. Their smugness does not last long.


My lack of knowledge of the history of that time I feel effected my ability to understand the movie. Due to the antics of Juan and the introverted ways of Coburn’s character, I did not take the movie very seriously until much later on. Perhaps this is how Leone intended the viewer to feel.


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