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Most people choose 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' as the best of Sergio Leone's superb spaghetti western "trilogy" (I'm putting trilogy in inverted commas because the three movies actually have no connection to each other, and Clint Eastwood, despite the "Man With No Name" tag, plays a different character in each). Now it's a very close call I admit, but as much as I love this movie I'm inclined to choose the one before it 'For A Few Dollars More' as my favourite. Anyway, this is still a superb piece of pure entertainment, and Leone's movies had a massive impact on not just the western genre but action and adventure movies of all kinds. Clint Eastwood is super cool playing "Blondie" just as he was as Joe in the first movie and Monco in the second. FAFDM added a strong supporting character by Lee Van Cleef, TGTBATU continues that (though Van Cleef is playing a completely different guy) and also brings in Eli Wallach as Tuco, who adds some nice comic touches. Blondie and Tuco have lots of great scenes together, but I could have done with a lot more Angel Eyes (Van Cleef), one of the greatest screen villains of all time. Having three strong roles instead of just Eastwood is one of the great things about this movie. Another great thing is the unforgettable score by Morricone. Morricone did some of his most memorable work with Leone, and this could just be the best of the lot. Certainly the main theme (a massive hit single in the late 1960s as covered by Hugo Montenegro) is one of the most recognisable and original pieces of film music ever. Another standout is the spectacular bridge scene, surely a direct inspiration for Peckinpah's 'The Wild Bunch', a movie which owed Leone a sizable debt in my opinion. It's very difficult to pick this movie apart and single out what is so great about it as it really works as a whole. There's almost nothing wrong with it. It's one of the greatest westerns ever made and a hugely enjoyable movie that is just as compelling on your tenth viewing as your first. If you haven't seen it before I still think watching 'A Fistful Of Dollars' and 'For A Few Dollars More' first is the smartest movie, despite the three movies being a trilogy in name only, and each of the three being able to stand alone. Each movie is brilliant stuff and each comes with my highest recommendation. Movies don't get much more entertaining than this!
As I was scrolling through IMDb 250, I saw "Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo" at #4. My initial thought "Huh, 1966 movie, not worth watching. Runtime(179 min) also convinced my mind against watching this. But another half of my mind said, "Dude, you can't afford miss an IMDb #4 movie. So, I saw the movie and till date I have watched it at least 25 times. Hats off to Sergio Leone for making such a great and legendary movie and that too in 1966 with limited resources. None of the "Spagetti Westerns" are close such brilliance, not even the other 2 in this series. Leone has extracted out a stupendous performance from "Eli Wallach". Clint Eastwood was good as usual. Shooting locations are brilliant and the supportive background score is very catchy. The movie is a bit slow in the beginning, but once it catches pace, it deeply involves the audience. Some people have argued that #4 is too high for this movie, but its not 'some' who make the IMDb list, its the majority. Speaking of Leone, I believe that he was at least 15-20 years ahead of time. He has served as inspirations for such genre in all parts of the world, be it 'Sholay' in India, 'El Desaro' in Spain, and many more. I would like to go with a 9 out of 10 for this movie and its a flick which you just can't afford to miss this
... but i still want to jostle in with more than half of a thousand
other reviews just to type: this is undoubtedly THE best Western movie
ever and easily one of the best masterpieces of all time. Even the most
noble adjectives preserved particularly for art praising found in
Merriam- Webster are too mundane to captivate its greatness.
Please watch this classic before you die.
R.I.P Leone and thank you for blessing your fellow humans such a great gift.
P.S: Eli Wallach + Lee Van Cleef + Clint Eastwood = the most bad-ass narrow- eyes gang in Hollywood.
Sergio Leone's 1966 Western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly unfolds
under this hostile, violent and hate filled umbrella of Civil War
America; a fitting backdrop of ongoing warfare and hostilities to which
two American men and a Mexican bandit strive to find a large box full
of valuable coins buried out in the big country somewhere behind
Confederate Army lines. In using a plot item as routine as said example
and applying it to a relatively routine singular strand arc for the
film's narrative to take, Leone essentially breathes so much life into
a set up and plot plan that about half way through you forget the basic
bare bones of the movie and find yourself going with it, utterly
immersed in the tale the director's laying out in front of you. So much
has been written and said about the film, like other such examples at
the top of each genre, that further comment and analysis may seem
futile. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly may very well be the pinnacle to
the western as Psycho might be to horror or Apocalypse Now to the war,
for instance. If it isn't, or either of the said examples aren't, then
there will still be a large cluster of individuals that would sternly
The film begins with a loud and confrontational title sequence, a brash and expansive manner in which to announce your film has arrived; the sort that sees a flashing of character faces and arrays of different colour, a sequence in which even the little animated horse gets the full force of a cannonball that's been fired off. It sets the tone for a no holds barred ride of guns; gunslingers and no nonsense people with no nonsense attitudes as observations of greed and that of both a mid and post-war crumbling society plays out. The film features some of the best direction I've ever seen; Leone's ability to shift gears and change the film's tact from one thing to another, as loyalties shift and events take a turn for the different is near-flawless. His ability to essentially construct a number of small, minute set-pieces amidst this wide-open and dusty, hostile setting is immaculate; but the change of tact he applies later on towards the end of the film in capturing a Civil War battle between the North and South is just as impressive; portraying a larger fight sequence as the inevitable showdown between the film's three main players draws nearer and that sense their showdown will be of a similarly epic proportion, despite it being just another gunfight and despite the fact all of those thus far have been between grossly outmatched participants.
Leone is all for spectacle and action to propel the plot, but his ability to capture the little things; the terrain and just the sounds that it omits is wonderful. The introduction of Angel Eyes, aka The Bad (van Cleef), for instance sees a young boy flee into his house on first sight of him as he arrives; Angel Eyes' boots stomping on a stone floor whilst he approaches an elderly man sitting at a table as a dog barks outside, all of it a routine use of composition and SFX, but the drawn out editing process; the fact a kid ran for his life at first sight of him and the semiotical driven noise of a barking dog which suggests a rabid animal or ominousness build the scene and character without anyone ever explaining or saying anything.
They call him The Bad because he shoots without mercy and takes without conscience, leaving a family in tatters and on another occasion beats a girl to a near pulp until she gives him what info he's looking for. The name Angel Eyes is wholly ironic. This makes Clint Eastwood's 'Good' (aka Blondie) and Wallach's 'Ugly' (aka Tuco) perhaps look more favourable than they actually are when it's revealed they're mostly in it together against this blackly dressed; father/husband murdering; woman slapping figure of evil. Tuco and Blondie's relationship is a strange one, a mutual appreciation of one another and the death they leave in their wake. Tuco would no sooner shoot Blondie, than hang him, than act like they're best friends. No longer is 'The Good' of a western limited to wearing the sheriff's badge and/or cleaning up towns of drunks and no-good varmints; as here, 'The Good' would much rather come across as upstanding; fleece a local sheriff of $2,000 and then make off with the cash against the guy he was initially in tow with.
Tuco's raging attitudes are captured in a single shot that encompasses a sketching of Christ on the cross as he swigs alcohol whilst wearing an eye-patch, the film at a point where Tuco seems to be doing good in aiding an old friend but perhaps with a traitorous eye still on the prize as the patch acts as a visual distinction of the two sides of his face doubling up as his sinful and righteous attitudes, whereas he gives the Holy Trinity throughout. But THE scene that encapsulates his character is in a store early on during which, betrayed and foaming at the mouth for revenge, he fondles some handguns in front of an elderly clerk before angrily discarding them. He then fondles some more and asks for bullets, drawing you into the scene in an utterly effective manner and its threat element within as we wonder what he has in store for the clerk above all else. There's a solid hour of character involvement and some set-piece exchanges which work wonderfully well; and a later juxtaposition between diegetic musical content with an interrogation brought a smirk to my face when I realised whom it was that felt so inspired to pay homage to such a sequence. The film is engrossing, rich in detail on so many levels and an absolute outright winner of a piece.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is one of those movies that everyone
has heard of but not enough people have seen. It pushed itself rather
boldly into pop culture and 44 years after it first hit theaters in
Italy, it still gains respect and admiration in the United States.
It's the third part of the Man With No Name Trilogy, and was preceded by Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More, both of which are very commendable films themselves. All three movies revolve around the titular man, who goes by a different alias in each film, this time being called Blondie. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly is a prequel to the first two movies, meaning that it is not required to watch them first and this film stands alone fine.
The story begins by introducing us to our three central characters: the violent but childish Tuco (the ugly), the heartless mercenary Angel Eyes (the bad), and the mysterious bounty hunter Blondie (the good). While traveling through the desert, Blondie and Tuco come across a dying man who knows the location of a huge deposit of gold buried in a cemetery. Tuco hears the name of the cemetery and Blondie hears the name of the grave, but neither will tell the other for fear of being double-crossed so they are forced to work together. As they embark on an incredibly journey through 1860s Southern America as it is torn apart by the Civil War, they encounter various obstacles including but not limited to the involvement of Angle Eyes, who also wants the money. The whole thing ends with a heart-pounding standoff at the center of the cemetery in which all three men put their lives on the line.
The story is gripping and genuinely interesting, the actors all put forth outstanding performances, the cinematography is as good as it gets, the music has to be heard to be believed, and the climax is one of the most intense events ever recorded on film. There's no such thing as a perfect movie, but this one comes as close as any will likely get.
I want the rating meter to allow me to rate it more than 10. I love
this epic movie. Patiently shot and created , it exudes a scent of
eternal beauty. This is my friends every movie goer's delight. A movie
which can't be bettered. Full of outrageously funny puns and comic
lines; made with an audacious appetite for cinematic patience, this
movie has it all.
The background score is classic. I still get charged when I see the final scenes of the movie playing to Ennio Morricone's The Trio.
Deep dialogues an unbelievably smooth screenplay this movie is perfect.
It's detractors complain that some parts are overdone and are too clichéd. Well those things hardly matter when you have Blondie, Tuco, Angel Eyes , The drunk Army Captain on screen exhibiting something completely out of this world in terms of cinematic achievement.
I have never seen a better genre in movies than westerns and in that genre this movie stands out. This movie is undoubtedly the greatest one ever made in any genre.
I spent all day watching all three movies and this one beats the other two and near every other western out there. (with a few exceptions...) Usually, Spaghetti westerns annoy me do to the cheesy noises, unrealistic shooting, and lots of bore. But this movie was different. Unlike the other two, this movie had lots of simple comedy. (Most from Eli Wallach's silliness and stupidity as Tuco adds a perfect sense of comic relief and Clint Eastwood's slickness and intelligence as Blondie makes him so.... cool. Lee Van Cleef does a perfect job as the villain giving a sinister performance. Instead of the fact that the slow parts in the first two movies were boring, this movie took advantage of long shots for suspense and to get a sense of things which is a great directing tool. (Kudos to Sergio Leone) I can surely see why this is #4 on the IMDb top 250. It feels more realistic than the other two movies. No whistling noises when things fall, suspenseful music(and very famous), stellar acting, and nice shoot outs. One of my favorite Clint Eastwood movies and one of my favorite westerns ever! A+. 10/10 Watch this one right away. (I recommend watching the new edition DVDs, the white cases, because the quality is better, the sound is great, and newer, and the dubbing is near impossible to spot.) Don't miss this or you will miss one of the greatest, classic movies ever made.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This has got to be, for me the best western film ever made. Got it on
VHS and now DVD, I never tire of seeing it, a timeless classic. I
always enjoy hearing the famous opening title theme. (it's 10 minutes
into the film before anyone says anything). the film revolves around
the 3 main characters, Eastwood, Wallach, Van Cleef. I thought Eli
Wallach was brilliant as his role as tuco/the ugly. and Van Cleef as
the the bad, with those eyes, was the perfect baddie.
The film really could be summed up as 3 gunslingers on there search for $100,000 of gold coins in a grave. Wallach knows the name of the cemetery and Eastwood knows the name of the grave. Van Cleef finds out by torturing Wallach when Eastwood and Wallach accidentally become P.o.W. The 3 men end up in the cemetery where there is a great showdown, one of the best the camera zooming into all 3 mens eyes and the music as well, classic stuff. Van Cleef ends up getting shot and Eastwood and Wallach split the gold.
When I was a kid, nobody liked westerns. Our fathers had fought in the
Korean War, and the astronauts were racing in space. Cowboys seemed
old, dusty, and boring. Then along came three guys to change all that.
One was good, the other bad, the other ugly. Or maybe they all had
those three characteristics in them. But they arrived at one hell of a
showdown, and it changed things.
This is not just an action filled western, but a sweeping commentary on the American character, as witnessed by an objective outsider. His aim was true.
By the mid 60s, the western formula, and perhaps the action film itself, had become too stale and conventional to evoke any enthusiastic response. Leone gave us not just a new perspective on film violence, but for the first time a director blended the most fascinating elements of American history, both mythical and real, into a traditional western story.
The storyline, involving three untitled men propelled by avarice into uncivilized territory, could serve as a fable for the expansion of the American frontier. Against the sun-blasted background we see the elements that have shaped, in different ways, the essential American character: warfare, technology, weapons, hardened individualism. Previous western films might have explored related themes, but never with the exciting visual style shown in this one.
The characters are men we really have never seen before. They are enigmatic, inscrutable, and fascinating to look at. Leone leaves their pasts unmarked so we can eagerly fill in their backgrounds on our own. As their journey in pursuit of lucre ends, we are presented with the best showdown in the history of the western. The quest, exciting as it was, culminates in one of the best endings in movie history.
The score of course is famous in itself but welded to the fascinating visuals and characters it becomes one for the ages. Amazing it took an Italian director filming in Spain to make the essential "American" western film. You don't like westerns? I urge you to try this and see things from an outsider's point of view. His aim was true.
*** 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.
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