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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had wanted to see this for years and when it came on TCM last night
rated 4 stars I thought "Perfect". Boy, was I disappointed.
From the cheesy credits to the excessive length (okay, we get it. The Bad guy is bad and the Ugly guy is ugly.) to the unrealistic shooting (every bullet hits its mark exactly, whether it's one-shot kills, shooting hats off without leaving a mark, or shooting through ropes to prevent hangings), to too much the utterly dislike-able Eli Wallach chewing up the scenery, to the string of unbelievable coincidences (wagon comes by with one guy just alive enough to tell Tuco where $200K in gold is, but 'Blondie' - who was near-dead and some distance away - the specifics), etc. etc.
This spaghetti western needed more meat and less sauce. It's probably significant for being significant (e.g. making Eastwood a star) than for its true content.
The Good......it is one of those "New", groundbreaking, and completely
different Movies that was quite influential, broke Taboos, and in the
midst of a Decade of change was an announcement from a Director that
said..."take this, you Western Movies", and the Western Movies did and
never looked back......The Cinematography expanses and lingering
affection for landscapes brought the John Ford aesthetic to a new
Generation and to a new level of opulence. There are some other Camera
Tricks here that are playfully fresh (for 1966) and it was without
doubt, Psychedelia before it was fashionable......The Soundtrack that
is now an indelible part of Pop Culture and reminds us Today of how
different it really was.
The Bad......Endless Closeups of squinting eyes. A tendency to elaborate on already elongated Scenes to add to the already established Suspense......The Character Tuco becomes relentlessly obnoxious, overbearing, irritating, and unlikeable immediately and this keeps up for almost 3 Hours. It is an overacted Performance that makes the Movie less engaging......The length seems padded and indulgent.
The Ugly......All the Characters, their Personalities and the Makeup. This is truly a Panorama of Ugliness throughout and given its length, a bit too much to bare......There is for your viewing pleasure...flies, filthy Faces (almost always in close up) chewing little cigars and sporting blood, pus, scabs, and other assorted flavors like food being shoveled into salivating mouths with Technicolor glee......Ugly could be a word that would describe this Movie. Another would be overrated.
In conclusion......The best Spaghetti Western is from the same Director...Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
As many times as I have viewed this film, I greatly admire the entire picture for just plain enjoyable entertainment and seeing great actors such as Clint Eastwood (Joe)"Absolute Power"'97 and the entire cast make this an all time classic. However, Eli Wallach (Tuco)" Mackenna's Gold" '69 put his very heart and soul into his film role and gave a fantastic performance that over powered the entire cast. Trying to put this film under a magnifying glass and trying to be critical and tearing it into little pieces is not necessary, just sit back and enjoy a great masterpiece of GOOD ENTERTAINMENT !
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Morricone's stunning score is too good for Leone's film. Now, the
acting is good, the casting is perfect, the idea is great. So what went
For one, it feels dull. It has a slow pace and often times it becomes irritating. Moreover, some of the scenes have little, if any relevance for the plot. This has an alienating effect on the audience.
Another problematic thing is the humour. The film tries to insert humour quite often, but these attempts by and large fail and scenes come across as silly rather than funny. Too often one is left feeling disappointed that the punch line failed to materialize.
The action scenes are quite dull as well. The huge numbers of extras in uniforms and all the guns and explosions fail to create any real sense of war. They remain as a rather pale mat painting in the background. As for the revolver duels, they too are surprisingly dull. Granted, the final showdown is quite memorable, but the others are unfortunately rather unimpressive.
There is also a lack of logic, which is quite frustrating. There is little in the film that makes sense, the decisions made by characters are often absurd, and the audience is left wondering what actually happened and why.
Regarding protagonists, 'the ugly' steals the show, but Eastwood is not given enough things to do. His character remains undeveloped, although Leone makes some attempts to give him depth. Also, the antagonist is not menacing enough. He is given too little screen time and never manages to be a genuine threat.
Unnecessary gratuitousness. This is something Spaghetti Western is known for, and something I tend to dislike. There is a scene where Tuco is beaten about in order to extract information from him, and this goes on forever for no reason. Throughout the film there are moments where we are forced to endure protracted, often violent scenes that may seem grand and intense, but carry no emotional punch and have little relevance in terms of advancing the plot. Leone does this time and again, and it is clear that he experiences these scenes in a way that is peculiar to him, but which remains a mystery to many viewers. Too often I feel that he is aiming for an emotion I simply do not experience while watching the film.
I will not go on about what else is wrong. I will conclude with some more positive things. As I said, the music is superb and does wonders for the film. Also, I like the general tone. His depiction of the warring parties may be inaccurate, but Leone does manage to create a sense of dread and disgust. The scene in the graveyard, accompanied by Morricone's score is excellent. The counterpoint between the greedy misfits in search of buried gold and the solemnity and horror of the huge graveyard littered with graves of men who died for their ideals is quite effective.
The story is definitely a good one, shame the actual script is too weak and Leone's sensibility and sense of humour are, at least in my view, somewhat peculiar.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Directed by Sergio Leone, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is an overall piece of art. No matter your reason of watching it, I guarantee you will get enjoyment out of it. Watching it from a film makers perspective, the film is beautifully composed, and is a great piece of film making. Or if you just like western films, or films in general, you will definitely love this film. The classic soundtrack by Ennio Morricone, is one of the many things this film has to offer. This film in my eyes is an almost perfect movie. And I can't think of a single thing that I would do differently. This film also deals a lot of Western action. Amazing shoot outs, and intense stand offs. I would highly recommend this film, if you haven't already seen this classic piece of cinema.
Clint Eastwood is good, Lee Van Cleef is bad and Eli Wallach is ugly.
Sorry about that, Eli. Eastwood again plays the Man with No Name whom
we have already seen in A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars
More. Our hero, this time referred to as Blondie, may be "good"
compared to the other two leading characters but having seen the first
two films we know he is not the traditional all-American hero. He's not
all good, he's more complex than that. There's not much complexity to
Angel Eyes, the character played by Van Cleef. This guy is bad to the
bone. Meanwhile Wallach threatens to steal the show. He plays Tuco and
this is a guy who, in an otherwise very quiet movie, never shuts up.
Good, bad and ugly are searching for $200,000 in Confederate gold known
to be buried in a cemetery. It's a very simple plot for a very long
movie but the time flies by. Director Sergio Leone ratchets up the
tension and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The events of this film, unfolding during the Civil War, actually take place prior to the events of the first two films in the Dollars Trilogy. And the war certainly intrudes on the story, causing complications for our characters in their desperate search for that gold. A big war battle scene lends a bit of grandeur that the first two films didn't have. Leone is making a film of much larger scale this time around. But while the war looms over everything this is still a story about our hero and the two companions he would very much like to be rid of. There are great twists and turns as at different times in the movie different members of the trio have the upper hand. Sometimes you're at the top, sometimes you're at the bottom, sometimes you're forced into an unholy alliance with your great adversary. All along the way there is much drama. And along with the drama there is plenty of action too. This is a movie which grabs your attention right at the start and holds it throughout.
Blondie is the nominal hero, making Eastwood the nominal star. And, as already established in the prior two films, Eastwood suits the role perfectly. He's the perfect embodiment of the quiet, cunning, not totally heroic hero. Van Cleef played a good guy, more or less, in For a Few Dollars More. This time around he gets to play a total baddie and he sinks his teeth into the role with great relish. Wallach is a little over-the-top but delightfully so. Tuco is a crazed, maniacal character and Wallach pours his heart into his performance. He brings so much energy to the film. Three great actors, three great characters. Leone could hardly go wrong. And the film has so much more to offer. With breathtaking visuals and a truly memorable score the film both looks and sounds spectacular. Story, actors, cinematography, music. This film is the total package. It is certainly the best of the Dollars Trilogy, this is the Man with No Name's greatest adventure. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is often found on short lists of the greatest films ever made. That kind of acclaim may be overselling things just a touch. But there is no doubt this is a very good film, a thrilling last chapter in the story of one of the most iconic characters to ever grace the screen.
And so concludes the Spaghetti Western Dollars Trilogy. Following A
Fistful of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad And
The Ugly is the final film in Sergio Leone's trilogy that redefined the
traditional American western.
Many people have described this film as the best Western ever made. Without a doubt, as a standalone film, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is simply superb. The complex relationships between the three protagonists had me on the edge of my seat throughout the film, never knowing if they were going to work together or kill each other in cold blood.
The soundtrack too is utterly iconic. While I associated the predecessor's tones with cowboy music, I often associate the whole Western genre with The Good, The Bad And The Ugly's backing tune. It has also become quintessential as the accompanying music to any stand off, whether it be in a parody or simply on the school playground.
Any fan of the series will know that Eastwood's character appears alongside van Cleef's character in For A Few Dollars More. This would be my only criticism of The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, as this previous relationship has been forgotten (or is cleverly disguised in the fickleness of the characters) as they both appear to not know the other exists.
As a result of the latter paragraph, I have literally spent days deliberating over whether to mark the film down. It did make the film more confusing for me - but only as I'd seen the previous two films in the trilogy. But, crucially, Sergio Leone's trilogy is rarely marketed as a trilogy set piece and the films can be watched standalone. Anyone who watches The Good, The Bad And The Ugly by itself will happily watch the film in sweet ignorant bliss of my character confusion.
So, as a standalone film, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is the pinnacle of Sergio Leone's Western renaissance. Simply brilliant.
This is the definitive of the so called Spaghetti Westerns. Everything
about it is so great. For a rare this Man with no name trilogy is one
that just got better and better for each film. Sure all three are
stand-alone adventures but Sergio Leone really got it perfect here.
This film absolutely has it all, the action, violence, humor, great characters and the music. Clint Eastwood is always cool but as a cowboy he is the coolest. The man with no name so though, secretive, fearless, hard facial expression, cool clothing. It is a quite long film but still it never ever gets boring. The slow pace works just perfect for the films tone and style. An impressive combination of great humor and hard violence that works just perfect, impressive because it never feels awkward like one might fear it would get. The style of the action is perfectly done and like stated it is quite violent maybe more than one might suspect if you don't know anything about the movie. The characters are superb, Clint Eastwood is of course the best and the coolest. The bad is a really brilliant villain and the ugly is great comic relief. Even though this might seem like a light weight no depth movie with stereotype characters, it's not because they are so well done and brilliantly acted that the viewer gets a stronger feeling for them than any other film like this. Sure the story is not that deep but it's neither predictable, just perfectly balanced. Then the music, must be among the best ever for a Western film, especially at the ending such a feeling it gives. It brilliantly helps build up the suspense in the action.
It's hard to put in words how good this film is. A classic that most have seen and those few who haven't should. Maybe the best in it's genre and even outside it's group I would rank it among my top movies ever. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a timeless classic.
"The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" is cool with brains. Most other action
films, especially westerns, are celebrations of cool, but this film
masters cool -- heck, practically invents it -- and also applies it
sensibly. Nothing is merely for cool's sake, it is for the sake of
telling a story full of mistrust as well as one that searches for depth
in the blanket adjectives of its title.
Set in the West during the Civil War, the film identifies its characters right away: The Good, Blondie (Eastwood), The Bad, Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef), and The Ugly, Tuco (Eli Wallach). Each is after nothing but money, making the word associations merely relative to the principles that they live by. Distrusting of one another, they are soon forced to work together -- specifically Tuco and Blondie -- in order to find 200 K in buried gold, because one of them knows which cemetery it's buried in and the other knows which grave.
Gold is also every word that comes out of Clint Eastwood's mouth. Although his body of work today is enough proof of his talent, he clearly owes much of his career to director/writer Sergio Leone. In this their third western collaboration, Leone knows what Eastwood's strengths are and he gives him some killer lines. Every man supposedly wants to be James Bond, but every American man should want to be Blondie. Every time he speaks, you know you're either going to be impressed or enlightened with his machismo and/or wisdom. Wallach is also invaluable to the film as Tuco. He keeps things interesting playing a money- grubbing rat. In a film of this length, he helps keep things from getting too serious and dull.
Leone also hones his craft in this movie. His gritty close-ups and split-second gunfire shots give this film its style, suspense and power. There's some "it" quality to his film-making that is hard to describe, but every shot feels important or at the least cool. Distinct "chapter" breaks also contribute to the Western mythos/tall tale idea that has made the genre an important one of the 20th century. There is a clear journey-like story line that recalls what made Homer's "The Odyssey" one of the first great Western (in the global sense) literary classics. There is a clear objective with obvious obstacles, unlikely partnerships and plenty of surprises.
If all that wasn't enough, there's the score. Ennio Morricone not only provides one of the most memorable themes in movie music history, but the timing of the music, the way it lifts the important scenes up into a realm of cinematic immortality is unlike anything before or since it. It's exciting and epic when it needs to and it's suspenseful and emotional when the action gets intense. With so much silence in this film, picking the right moments to break it is challenging, but Morricone nails it. And if it doesn't do all that for you, well, it's still cool.
"The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" proves that all three of those descriptors are relative. It's no great revelation, but it's interesting to see how you watch and form opinions of characters assigned to general moral stereotypes and then to see how those opinions are affected as the film goes on. If that's too deep, than at the least you can appreciate how cool everything is.
So I have seen my first classic Western finally. This is a genre I
tried my best to avoid. I am more into thrillers. But this one was
The plot is interesting in itself. 3 men are determined to get to the cash box that was buried under the ground in a certain place(trying my best not to reveal the plot here!). The excitement is in watching the many twists unfold. The characters are known as Blondie, Tuco and Angel eyes. The real names of the characters are not revealed here. We come to know a little more about Tuco in the course of the movie. It could be said that Tuco is the central character in this movie as he appears in most of the movie. The plot moves throughout America and they go in search of the cash box even to war torn areas. The story is set in the late 1800's during the civil war. So the movie also effectively works as an anti-war movie as well.
The most impressive thing about this movie is the great music by the legend Ennio Morricone. This might be the best ever music I have ever heard in movies. Maybe that's an exaggeration but surely this is one of the best. The music in the scene where Tuco searches frantically for the cash box is filmed brilliantly and the music builds into a crescendo at the end of the scene. Another aspect that impressed me is the beautiful cinematography in certain scenes of the movie. The long shots showing the beauty of the place are absolutely breathtaking. The war scenes are shot well and I was surprised to hear about the budget. With this budget I was surprised to see the advanced effects and the meticulous depiction of the war.
I also came to understand a few things about a part of history I didn't know - the American Civil war. The bridge destruction scene is also another one I totally loved. The closeups of the character's faces is also another feature that I liked specifically about the movie - especially when they are actors with such great screen presence such as Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach. I have never thought of Clint Eastwood as particularly good looking or talented. But this movie proved me wrong. His performance as the calm bounty hunter with a sense of humour enhanced his image considerably in my eyes. His quiet sexiness is something I have never seen in other movies of his(Maybe I am biased because I saw only his newer movies). Lee Van Cleef is notable for his portrayal of the villain. Eli Wallach's portrayal of the crooked and funny Tuco is IMO one of the best characters in movies ever. His line "When you want to shoot, shoot, don't talk" has become one of my favourite quotes as well.
Finally this movie has encouraged me to seek out more "Sphagetti Westerns" and regular classic Westerns as well. The movie is quite a classic and is highly recommended for all movie fans because it is more of an exciting adventure movie with beautiful camera-work than a Western.
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