Sergio Leone was an Italian film director, producer and screenwriter, credited as the inventor of the Spaghetti Western genre and widely regarded as one of the most influential directors in the history of cinema.
Leone's film-making style includes juxtaposing extreme close-up shots with lengthy long shots. His movies include the Dollars Trilogy of Westerns featuring Clint Eastwood: A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966); and the Once Upon a Time films: Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Duck, You Sucker! (1971) and Once Upon a Time in America (1984).
In the mid-1960s, historical epics fell out of favor with audiences, but Leone had shifted his attention to a subgenre which came to be known as the "Spaghetti Western", owing its origin to the American Western. His film A Fistful of Dollars (Per un pugno di dollars, 1964) was based upon Akira Kurosawa's Edo-era samurai adventure Yojimbo (1961). Leone's film elicited a legal challenge from the Japanese director, though Kurosawa's film was in turn probably based on the 1929 Dashiell Hammett novel, Red Harvest. A Fistful of Dollars is also notable for establishing Clint Eastwood as a star.