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A pure western.Will always be remembered for its great music and the
personality of Clint Eastwood.In fact this was the film in which Clint
Eastwood made his name.
Both Lee Van Cleef & Eli Wallach put in sterling performances.The direction is exceptional The real merit of this movie is that it brings to light the exact situation in the USA around the period 1864-65 when the confederates were losing the war.There was confusion & chaos all around & no real authority.Hence the proliferation of a number of bandits and outlaws.
The photography and direction are breathtaking and there is areal attempt to bring out the characters of those who dominated the period.Life could be extinguished at any moment & a man had to live by his wits and by his guns.Women were fair game to any outlaw.Hanging and capital punishment were routine
This was the real United States of that period and they could practice this culture in isolation,as the communication & technologies of the period were highly limited compared to today.
And Sergio Leone had to show Hollywood how a western should be done.
Earthy, gritty, moody, rambling, funny and just plain nasty too. One
thing most people forget about the Sergio Leone Dollar trilogy films is
that they were made when westerns were really staid and boring, with
zero atmosphere and very mechanical. Then came these movies, with THE
GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY being the last and the greatest of the three
Dollar films. Cinema wasn't the same after it was released. And to show
influential this film is, it transcended its "western" genre and
influenced practically every type of films made after that. Heck, I'm
not even a western fan and I thoroughly admire what Leone and the gang
created here. It's big, bold, melancholic, lusty, giddy and operatic.
The thing I really love about THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY is the atmosphere. It's almost one kind. Never duplicated in any other film since (and that includes Clint Eastwood's dry cowboy flicks). One major contributing factor is obviously Ennio Morricone's unforgettable score, probably one of the greatest scores ever made. The music during the ending, when Tuco searches the cemetery, it's spine tinglingly powerful.
Of the three characters, Tuco steals the show. He's the heart and soul of film. It's probably Eli Wallach's greatest performance. He immersed himself in the role and, in the processed, really became Tuco.
My only complaint about THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY is that it is a low budget film and as expansive and epic as it is, the film sorta looks cheap. Practically everything was shot outside. There are few sets in the movie and when we are within four walls, the sets look, hmm, cheap. I just wished the production design was as expansive looking as the vision Leone had in mind. The film would have been perfect then. But that's something I can clearly overlook.
When I watch a movie like THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, I get depressed. Depressed because at one time films were actually amazing, groundbreaking and entertaining. The 1960s were one of the greatest era in movie-making. Sadly today's films don't even come close to the stunning creative output of that decade. They should re-release THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY on the big screen. It's a classic film.
Eight of Ten Stars. I was so enamored of this movie as a teen that my Northwestern University freshman dorm wall was papered with big B&W posters of mssrs. Eastwood, Wallach and Van Cleef in the Fall of 1968. I was quite the little existentialist then; "If it feels good, DO IT!" was the mantra of my high school Senior English teacher. Well, it felt good, and bad, and ugly. I ended up dropping out of Northwestern after Kent State and, taking the soundtrack of GBU (in my head) with me to Vietnam in 1971, I proceeded to get a real-world education in the old 'ultra-violence' as an infantryman in the AMERICAL Division... WHAT you may ask does this have to do with an American Civil War movie, directed and written by an Italian Communist? (Sergio Leone's daddy may have been more of a commie than Sergio was, but the fact is that "A Fistful of Dollars" was STOLEN from Kurosawa, while "The Magnificent Seven" was PURCHASED years before. The end justifies the means? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?) http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/classic/articles/prof.html I found out firsthand the moral ambiguities of war. If only I had paid attention to the subtext in GBU! If only I had studied the Matthew Henry battlefield dead tintypes as Leone so obviously had! His hideous, rotting carcases of Union and Confederate soldiers, bloating in direct sunlight, would have sufficiently revulsed me from any notion that I could 'play soldier' and survive! But here I am, having just barely survived.... and I just got out of the fabulous Fox Theater here in Atlanta where the restored GBU was projected in all its Technicolor/Technirama glory at fully loaded, screaming Morricone volume.... there must have been at least a thousand people there, and hardly anyone moved. INCREDIBLE. It is said that the movie was made to the tunes Morricone made prior to production's start; i.e. Leone played the music while shooting the scenes! Hence, these epics are giant music videos - fantasias - symphonic cinema- they are huge, elegiac tone poems! And, God help me, I still love this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is a classic. It's spectacular, it's thrilling, it's
beautiful. You won't find anything like this now-a-days, no matter how
hard you try. Anyone who hasn't seen this movie should be ashamed of
The plot is simple - Blondie (Clint Eastwood), the Good, Tuco (Eli Wallach), the Ugly, and Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef), the Bad, are all after a stash of Confederate gold, holding 200,000 dollars in gold, during the American Civil War. Seems like a pretty simple plot for 1 and a half hours, let alone 3. So what drives this movie? Style. Cinematography. Atmosphere. Let me explain.
The first scene in the movie is the (rather unappealing) face of a bandit. It then switches to a wide shot of the small town he and his two companions are entering. A few more shots of the bandits. They enter an inn, and gunshots are heard. Out the window comes charging Tuco, clutching a gun in one hand and meat in the other. The image freezes while he's in midair, and the writing "The Ugly" appears on the screen. The first half hour or so serves to introduce the three main characters in similar fashion. No plot progression whatsoever, merely introduction. Most movies would fall with a start like that, but not this one. It takes more than an hour before the rush for the gold begins, and by that hour you already know everything you can and need to know about the three anti-heroes: Blondie is the Good. He is not good at all under normal standards, as he is an outlaw, a killer and he betrays his "friend". But he seems good in comparison to the other slime-balls in the movie: Tuco is a villain, pure and simple. He steals, murderers, rapes, and does a bunch of other nasty things. But he is still fun and amusing, while the sinister Angel Eyes stands in comparison - a menacing figure in black clothing with an evil mustache, who kills and double-crosses without blinking for a few more dollars.
And the movie doesn't follow a plot. The plot is just a background for the amazing scenes that come one after another and construct the movie - you go from one scene to the other. And there are many memorable scenes in this movie: The first time Blondie shoots the rope before Tuco is hanged to death. Blondie's march through the desert. Tuco and Blondie's capture by the Yankees. Tuco's torture. Tuco's gunfight in the tub and the classic line that follows. The showdown in the deserted town. The bridge being blown up. Tuco's search for the grave. And of course, the amazing climax. But I'll get to that later.
We've covered the style, but I also mentioned cinematography and atmosphere. And the cinematography is amazing. Wide shots of towns and deserts zoom to close-ups of desperate and rugged men. The effect is amazing, especially during gunfights. It creates tension and suspense, and that leads me to the second point I mentioned: atmosphere. This feels like the West. The people look dirty and hard-working. The buildings look rickety. And when time is spent looking at each other before the guns are drawn for a few short seconds when the men fire at each other, you feel what it's like to be there.
And finally, as I mentioned before, the climax. Possibly the best climax in a movie ever. A Mexican Standoff between the three main characters in the film - Blondie, Angel Eyes and Tuco. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Minutes pass as they stare at each other, each bringing their hand a bit closer to the gun. The music becomes more and more dramatic as time passes. You wait, and then... They fire, and it's over. A duel as a duel should be. It's mind-blowing.
Few movies can reach the level of this masterpiece. Fewer still can surpass it. They don't make 'em like this anymore, and it's a damn shame.
This movie has style - in a very elemental way - so to speak. You get
an idea of the deadly, dreary desert, the deadlier bounty hunters and
the deadliest of 'em all - Clint Eastwood - the man with no name! The
story is a simple one to follow and is brilliantly executed by Sergio
Leone using just the right landscapes along with some pretty good sets
too (like the one featuring the Civil War sequence). Some of the scenes
were meant to be symbolic (especially the Civil War scenes) and they
did their job well.
Eli Wallach is simply superb with his "Blondieeee!!!" screams and curses. Lee Van Cleef seems as deadly as the great Eastwood himself as "The Bad" guy.
Cinematography - not as continuous as one would like - but manages to convey the tension in the dueling scenes very effectively.
Also, the music - Ennio Morricone at his best! He has dished out some very innovative and brilliant stuff for all the three "great" westerns and this along with "For a Few Dollars More" seems to be his best.
Finally, the style! Sergio Leone can certainly teach a thing or two to Quentin Tarantino or The Wachowski Brothers - in fact Tarantino acknowledges Leone's great style. And then the epitome of style himself - Clint Eastwood - with a half-burnt cigar in his lips, unshaven face, tilted hat, ragged jeans, a worn out poncho and the sharpest scowl ever which can rub out any "Neo-with-million-dollar-goggles" off the face of the Earth.
Not genre-defining, surely - it was invented by Hollywood. But somebody from Europe really showed the world how to make westerns.
Upon release of this movie the critics were not so mild with there comments, but this is in my opinion the best western ever made! Everything in this movie is well balanced. It shows how the west really was in my opinion. The director Sergio Leone takes his time to tell the story. He uses different types of camera angles, extreme close ups etc. This makes The Good The Bad And The Ugly a feast for your eyes! Also the actors are well casted. Eastwood plays his part with excellence as do the other two actors. Especially Eli Wallach is perfect in his role of Tuco. The music of Ennio Morricone is also the best! The openings-tune is known all over the world.It's a movie I can watch over and over again. And every time I do so, I discover new things.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Greed.If you let it,it can overcome you.It has the power to turn your friends into enemies,and your enemies into friends.There's gold buried in a graveyard.There are three men.Two of them know what graveyard.The third knows what grave.These three men are not friends.Each one has nothing but contempt for the other two.That is,normally that would the case,but when there are riches untold involved,they are best friends willing to do anything to keep each other alive,even going so far as to declare war.....on a war.The Good,the Bad,and the Ugly is a well told story of greed and what it does to us if we let it.It is also great movie making from a time when the world wasn't in such a big hurry.It was OK to go ten minutes in a film without a single solitary word being spoken and to go from an extreme wide shot one minute to an extreme close up the next.It was non conventional for it's time,and that's what was,and still is,great about it.
The third of Sergio Leone's trilogy of spaghetti westerns is his definitive masterpiece.This epic,sprawling western is graced by breathtaking photography, a fantastic score and Leone's masterful direction. The performances are all iconic with scene-stealer Eli Wallach the standout.The earlier films in the trilogy don't have the same tremendous sweep and scope.The dry and dark humor also elevates this classic to greater heights.Although I'm always somewhat annoyed by the acting of the Italian supporting cast, with their excessive macho laughing and some assorted weird characters,it doesn't detract from the enjoyment of these movies."The Good,the Bad and the Ugly" is in my opinion one of the best westerns ever made.
People like to throw the term 'Masterpiece' around and rarely is it
ever as apt and as TRUE when concerning Sergio Leone's The Good the Bad
and The Ugly.
I mean, where to start? How about the music for instance, Morricone writes truly inspirational and masterful work, sure, everyone knows the theme tune, but his music has influenced EVERY western reference since. He captures the mood, the emotion and makes this movie EPIC with his wonderfully orchestrated scores. The landscapes and scenery are visually stunning and it's perfectly filmed for true atmosphere, intertwining with the aforementioned music, well it's nothing short of magnificent. Every scene is influential and significant, and equally as intriguing. The acting by Clint Eastwood can take no other meaning but 'cool'. He is what every gun-slinging', cigarette chewing cowboy is based on post-this and no doubt has inspired TONS of action heroes (Or indeed Villains) throughout cinema.
But the storyline isn't as basic as one would first imagine: three gunmen searching for a rather large sum of money, it seems that simple. However, all of the gunmen have complex personalities and none are flawless in moral judgment, to which it is hard to judge who is indeed 'Good', 'Bad' or 'Ugly'. The classic 'Good Versus Evil' situation that is such a frequent theme in film (And coincidentally, more often in westerns) is slightly blurred in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and I personally think there is no definite and it is left up to the viewer to decide.
This movie is simply essential viewing, an all-time classic and much deeper than would first appear. Incredible.
I have been a Clint Eastwood fan for years. But I have NEVER watched
his Westerns. That's kind of idiotic isn't it?? Well suddenly I'm
having an Eastwood movement and sinking myself into Westerns for the
first time in my life and it only made sense that I start with what
some critics and fans call "The Greatest Western ever made." In some
respects I agree with that because it embodies everything that the
Western is...even if you have never seen a Western you know the way
they are supposed to go and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly encompasses
every aspect of the stereotypical Western. Also a film like this has to
be judged by it's release time as well and for 1966, this film's
violent and gritty story would have made heads explode and Eastwood's
trademark Man with No Name made Eastwood the gosh darned coolest,
slickest man in history. The story explodes into an epic 3 + hour
(extended cut) film about three man of completely different
personalities, backgrounds, and goals trying to find a hidden treasure
by a Civil War soldier and stay alive while basically beating the
living daylights out of each other. The film is gritty, bleak, and the
three main characters are so watchable that each one could carry their
Clint Eastwood...how can you possibly say that name and then try to critique the man's acting. If you looked up the definition of masculine in the dictionary...there his picture would be...probably from this film. Eastwood's raspy voice, his "doesn't take any crap" attitude, and completely violent personality (in his characters of course) makes him the best gun fighter in ANY Western. He is the perfect leading man especially for a Western and he had to be THE GOOD in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Eastwood is Eastwood and that is the highest compliment you can give. Lee Van Cleef embodies THE BAD, I mean the man has being a villain down to a science and although he doesn't share a whole lot of screen time with the stars he has his own brand of justice that makes him the perfect villain. In a lot of ways he is the polar opposite of Eastwood. He still has the raspy voice, and the cool demeanor and he has this killer instinct that makes him petrifying to see on screen. But all in all he doesn't get the majority of the story and there is a lot of back story to his character left unexplored. I would have loved to see a sequel or another story where he plays Angel Eyes because it would have great to see him back on screen in this role. And finally I save the best for last. I have found a new absolute favorite screen character in Tuco played by veteran actor Eli Wallach. Tuco is THE UGLY in every way shape and form. His drunken, sarcastic, and annoying personality makes him the real stand out performance in this film. In fact he seems to get the majority of the lines and the screen time as we watch his journey to try and get rich. And on top of that the tumultuous relationship between his off again, on again partner Eastwood's "Blondie" as named by Tuco. The two of them start as partners until Eastwood turns on him and leaves him which only makes Tuco seek revenge in a horrible way, one of the great scenes where Tuco forces Eastwood across the desert nearly killing him in the process. But you know that can only mean Eastwood will get the last word and he does. Tuco is amazing. He's hilarious, he's bumbling, but he has fantastic good luck when it comes to getting away and on top of it all despite his humorous character he's not easy to kill or a push over. He's blood thirsty, crafty and skilled as a gun man and a villain. The whole film must be watched for Wallach's Tuco alone.
This is my first taste but not my last of Eastwood Westerns and Sergio Leone who apparently is the be all and end all of Action western directors. I have the first two installments of the Man With No Name trilogy fired up in the VCR and ready to go. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in many ways is not outstanding and yet it has this mysterious quality that just sucks you in and makes it an absolute classic. From the dusty streets of the Western town amidst the brooding Civil War and the front, this film encompasses everything. And you can't mention the film without pointing out that haunting Western theme which almost seems like it's used comically but perhaps that's because it has been used as such in the future. You can't ever start a love for Westerns without seeing this...I have no doubt. And it will permanently go down in my books as one of my favorite Westerns. I will say it didn't need to be as long as it was and perhaps more of a climatic ending would have been nice but it's a classic and you can barely pick it apart. Made on a million bucks and probably 100 times that made back. Just see it!! 8.5/10
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