5 Great Movie Protagonists Whose Names We Never Knew

2) Clint Eastwood – A Fistful of Dollars (1964)/For A Few Dollars More (1965)/The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)


Though believed by some fans of Sergio Leone’s landmark spaghetti westerns to be named “Joe” or “Blondie,” Clint Eastwood’s roaming gunslinger is actually never identified, and most viewers know the antihero simply as “The Man with No Name.” The point being, he doesn’t need one.

The Man with No Name is intentionally enigmatic, a gruff and quiet stranger who sees no issue with killing any individual who stands in his way. Though some interpret him as the far-reaching arm of the law, intended to tame the Wild West, it’s purely his own sense of justice that he enforces. Most of the time, he’s motivated solely by financial gain, the perfect antithesis to heart-of-gold cowboys found in earlier Westerns.

Known particularly for his laconic demeanor, colorful ponchos and lightning-quick reflexes, the Man with No Name is the ultimate cool cucumber, so numbed to violence that he considers killing a basic instinct rather than a last resort. Before a violent confrontation in A Fistful of Dollars, he calmly chats with the local undertaker, warning him to, “Get three coffins ready.” After the same fight: “My mistake – four coffins.”

Part of why the Man with No Name’s anonymity works so well is that we don’t need or even want to know much more about him. Whenever he appears, he wreaks havoc, kills bad guys and rides off into the sunset, presumably to do it all again in the next town over. More of a legend than a bona-fide human being, the Man with No Name’s unwavering commitment to silent badassery made the three films in which he appeared instant classics. An eternally stony countenance and impeccable aim also make him the most iconic gunslinger in cinematic history.