A Fistful of Dynamite Rod Steiger, James Coburn, Romolo Valli Director: Sergio Leone 'I used to believe in many things, all of it! Now I only believe in dynamite,' James Coburn says in this Sergio Leone classic, and he wasn't joking. The film was initially called Duck, You Sucker! - Coburn's stock phrase just before he's about to set off another explosion. However, the United Artists studio wanted to market it alongside Leone's previous spaghetti western successes, so it was quickly re-issued as A Fistful of Dynamite. The film centres on Irish Republican Army explosives expert Sean Mallory (Coburn, right) on the run from British forces, who arrives in Mexico at the turn of the 20th century. He meets an amoral Mexican bandit, Juan Miranda (Rod Steiger), and after witnessing Mallory's knack for blowing things up, Miranda asks him to join his gang and help him rob banks. Before long they're both caught up in the Mexican revolution and are soon, quite literally, having a blast as the bombs come thick and fast. Eli Wallach had originally been cast as Miranda but United Artists wanted an actor with a more international appeal and he was dropped for Steiger. Similarly, Jason Robards had been cast as Mallory but the studio again wanted a bigger name; Coburn was hired. By this stage Leone was sick of making westerns and was only going to produce the film. US director Peter Bogdanovich was given the duties behind the camera, but soon left after too much studio interference. He was replaced by Leone's regular assistant director, Giancarlo Santi, but after 10 days of shooting Steiger and Coburn refused to continue unless Leone took over the reins. Leone agreed but even after the film was completed it was blighted by the censors who cut many scenes as they were considered too violent, too profane or politically insensitive - all the things that make a great Leone western. Thankfully, 35 minutes of the full version was subsequently restored and although not as popular as his other movies it packs an emotional punch. Leone's darkest and most introspective film, it gets better with each viewing. Unlikely as it seems, Steiger and Coburn make a great double act. There's still plenty of comic moments and explosive action to keep Leone aficionados happy, along with yet another truly magnificent score by composer Ennio Morricone. But after the smoke clears, it's apparent the film is not just about big bangs, but the nature of revolution, with the two protagonists' beliefs on the subject swinging from one extreme to another as it goes on. 'I don't want to be a hero,' says Miranda, 'all I want is money.' But no matter how hard Miranda tries, his actions repeatedly serve the revolution, like when a bank robbery appears to be going according to plan until he finds the vaults full of political prisoners. It gets him thinking, so that later when a bird defecates on his head he can only muse to himself: 'For the rich you sing.'