The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Released in 1966, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo) is perhaps one of the most widely-known Western Films of all time, and is often cited as the quintessential film of the "Spaghetti Western" genre. more...
The film was directed by Sergio Leone and stars Clint Eastwood (Blondie, the Man with No Name or 'The Good'), Lee Van Cleef ("Angel Eyes" Sentenza or 'The Bad'), and Eli Wallach (Tuco Benedito Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez or 'The Ugly').
The film is set in 1862 New Mexico (USA) during the New Mexico campaign of General Henry Hopkins Sibley, an officer of the army of the Confederate States of America (CSA), in the American Civil War. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly tells of three men seeking a fortune in buried gold, the catch being that each of them know part of the puzzle but need each other to find the prize.
The movie is particularly known for its sparse but haunting soundtrack, created by Ennio Morricone, and for the climactic showdown in a graveyard between the three principal characters.
Critical opinion of the film on initial release was mixed as many reviewers at that time looked down on the spaghetti western genre. However, opinion has evolved and today it is generally well regarded by most critics, some of whom consider it to be the greatest Western of all time.
Some fans claim the film to be allegorical in nature, with the three characters representing Christ, Satan, and Humanity, though Leone never indicated that his film was to be taken in anything but the literal sense. The film was shot in Techniscope by the award-winning cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli. The film is frequently in the Top 10 of the IMDB Top 250 List of movies, which is based on user ratings.
The film contains many of Leone trademarks, such as the sparse dialogue, long scenes that slowly build to a climax (for this film, in the form of a Mexican standoff) and contrasts between sweeping long camera shots and extremely tight closeups on eyes and fingers. The first ten minutes of the film have no dialogue.
The film is part of a loose trilogy with Leone's earlier films A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. Eastwood stars in all three, with the same clothing and mannerisms, so the role is popularly dubbed "The Man With No Name." In lieu of a "name," the character is addressed by three different monikers: "Joe," by one character in the first movie; "Monco," only once in the second movie; and "Blondie," regularly in the third. These monikers have led some people to state that the "Man With No Name" was in fact named, but all three of these names served merely as placeholders and nicknames. "Joe", for example, is used in a similar fashion to "Mack," as a way to address a stranger, and "Blondie" is Tuco Ramirez's nickname for his fair-haired partner.
Some fans see The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as a prequel to the earlier two movies—as Eastwood's character acquires his trademark poncho toward the end of the movie. However, there is no solid continuity between the movies to deduce an absolute link or order. Christopher Frayling has pointed out in his massive Leone biography, Sergio Leone: Something To Do With Death, that the three films were not intended by Leone or his various script collaborators to be seen as a history of the exact same individual. Indeed, it was United Artists, not the filmmakers, who came up with the idea of specifically linking the three films together as a series by referring to the Eastwood character as The Man With No Name in all advertising materials for the movies.
The film was mostly filmed in Spain using 1,500 local militia members as extras for a cost of $1,600,000. It was released on December 23, 1966 in Italy and in the USA on December 29, 1967.
Since the film's release, "the good, the bad, and the ugly" has become a common phrase (helped in part by Robert F. Kennedy's use of the phrase in campaign speeches). The Italian title translates as "The Good, the Ugly, the Bad."
The story traces how three men gain, often at the expense of others, information about the location of a buried treasure of gold, and then uncover that treasure. The first character introduced in the movie is Tuco (Eli Wallach), while he is robbing a store. The second character we see is Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef). We find him actively obtaining information about the gold from a man, whom he immediately kills. Next, we are introduced to the duo, Tuco (Eli Wallach) and Blondie (Clint Eastwood), who are defrauding local authorities by turning in the wanted Tuco for reward money, and then, during his hanging, shooting the rope from Tuco's neck and escaping to split the reward.
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