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I'm not a fan of westerns, but feel I've shoved myself in a sci fi
horror orientated corner of ignorance so am slowly working my way
through the IMDb top 250 in an attempt to broaden my horizons (and
possibly catch that rare film that blows u away without expecting it) I
did REALLY appreciate the level of accomplishment this film expressed.
For its time the cinematic atmosphere of comedy, emotion and gritty
drama was clearly above average for even now, and the acting skills
were brilliant and really added personality.
however (and i don't think its cuz I'm a girl) this film just wasn't for me. it was very slowly paced and i didn't manage to follow or care much for the characters stories.
that said, i would definitely recommend watching it as its surely one of those films that depends heavily on personal tastes, and judging it as a western just doesn't give it the respect it warrants.
This is a bemusing, violent and stylish Western, it's the best Sergio
Leone . The film takes part of ¨the man without name¨ trilogy united to
¨For a fistful dollars¨, and ¨ A few dollars more¨.
The movie centers about the ugly (Eli Wallach) , the bad (Lee Van Cleef) and the good (Clint Eastwood) in search for a Confederate treasure buried on a cemetery whose tracks have got the three enemies and is set during American Civil War.
It's too much violent but is neither tiring, nor boring, but entertaining. The film mingles noisy action , impressive battles, shootouts, violence with strong tortures, tongue in cheek, satire and a little bit of humor.
The final showdown between the three contenders is breathtaking.
In spite of the fact the runtime is overlong , nevertheless isn't dull . Direction by Sergio Leone is magnificent. Ennio Morricone musical score is extraordinary , the soundtrack has been imitated and copied by thousand occasions. Morricone's iconic theme music was designed in places to mimic the sound of a howling coyote . Production design by Carlo Simi and cinematography by Tonino Delli Colli is riveting . Shot in the deserts and landscapes of Spain : Burgos and Almeria , with 1,500 Spanish soldiers as extras .
Eli Wallach is very well , as he steals the show , he interprets a humorous and greedy murderous thief , Lee Van Cleef plays a villain and ominous killer and Clint Eastwood makes a dirty and wry 'man without name'.
This quintaessential 'Spaguetti' originated great influence of wide range in Western . It was such a good picture that had a great success. Followed by ¨ Once upon a time in West¨and ¨Duck you sucker¨.
Rating: very nice, above average 8'5/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Of the "dollar trilogy", this is the last, and for me, certainly not the best. The plot line is meandering and it's simply too long for the content. By the time that both Eastwood and Leoni had gotten this far, they had both "made it" in professional terms. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was the first studio (UA) financed film that Eastwood had starred in and Leoni had produced/directed. Eastwood's role as the man with no name was beginning to jump the shark in this movie and he correctly decided not to appear in Leoni's following movie, Once Upon A Time in the West. For sure it contains iconic scenes, which are often beautifully photographed, but also contains sadistic violence, which even now I find shocking. Part of great filmmaking is plotting an adventure that lasts mosts people's attention span of about 90-120 minutes. This is a 60 minute story in a 180 minute movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There's a meandering nature about "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" that
keeps me from enjoying it as highly as I think I should. It's certainly
not as tight as "For a Few Dollars More", and it really tends to drag
during the desert torture and the army scenes (which pop up with
surprising frequency). Even the final shootout was too much; I just
wanted Leone to get on with it. It's "epic" scope just seems to topple
in on itself.
That said, there's much to like here, and the built-up acclaim over the years is certainly merited. For one, the framing and composition in this film are amazing. Not sure I've seen such effective use of widescreen in another western. Leone knows how to make the western landscapes eye- catching. Each of the film's stars fits his character well (Wallach, especially, who just seems to relish Tuco's streetrat sense of guile). And it's just one double-cross after another, right up until the very end. It's fun from that standpoint. Just overinflated.
In a span of 3 years, Sergio Leone changed the entire landscape of
westerns with his Dollars Trilogy. The change began with A Fistful of
Dollars, got accelerated with For A Few Dollars More but it wasn't
until Leone unveiled The Good, the Bad & the Ugly that the final nail
on the coffin of the traditional westerns was hammered for good. Making
major upgrades in all departments, the third chapter not only turns out
to be the best of the three but is also one of the greatest & most
influential motion pictures ever made.
The Good, the Bad & the Ugly is the story of three men racing against each other to find a fortune in gold buried in a distant cemetery. The film begins with a stylish introduction of the trio, places its story against the backdrop of American Civil War & manages to create some brilliant situations of escalating tension throughout its runtime that finally culminates with an unforgettable final showdown which, in my opinion, remains the greatest climax ever filmed in cinema history.
The direction by Sergio Leone is an absolute class. Not only this film presents him at the creative heights of his career but also in complete control of his skill. The screenplay itself boasts many catchphrases & is infused with lots of humour. Cinematography transforms the barren landscapes into scenic beauties but also contributes to the drama through multiple close-ups & controlled stillness to add uncertainty to the scenes. And in spite of clocking in at 177 minutes of runtime, the film seems to fly over thanks to its clever editing.
Coming to the performances, Clint Eastwood plays the good character with sublime style. Lee Van Cleef stars as the bad character & impresses as the ruthless & sociopathic mercenary. But the real show-stealing performance amongst the three turned out to be Eli Wallach's rendition of the ugly character. With effortless use of wit & expressions, Wallach nails his role of an outlaw to absolute perfection, is also responsible for the comic relief in this film delivers & even the story is more inclined towards his journey as we eventually learn about his background unlike the other two characters.
Last but not the least, the most important aspect worth mentioning about is Ennio Morricone's famous score. Captivating from the very first frame, the way the music drives this film is sheer perfection. Staying true to its origins & picking up from right where it left off in the previous chapter, the score makes extensive use of whistles, gunshot & cannon fires that permeates the film seamlessly & the main theme is something you've already heard even if you haven't seen the film. But where it's as its best is in the final climactic moments, turning the sequence into a truly bone-chilling, unforgettable & haunting experience that remains unsurpassed to this date.
On an overall scale, the ingenious direction of Sergio Leone & musical genius of Ennio Morricone is a combination that yet remains to be challenged & probably may never be equalled. And these two alone make this film pretty good. Add the strong & scintillating performances of Eastwood, Van Cleef & Wallach to that and the mixture just gets better. And finally, on adding this film's perfection in other filmmaking aspects like cinematography, editing, set pieces, every minute detailing & the final showdown, we have a cinema that's simply the best.
Immortal for its contribution to western genre, The Good, the Bad & the Ugly is a stunning work of expert filmmaking whose significance to art, culture & cinema will never be forgotten. It's the greatest western ever made. It's one of the greatest films of all time. And it's my all time favourite foreign language film as well. Extremely recommended.
And no you don't have to watch the previous two chapters before moving on to this one. So, sit back & enjoy the western that changed westerns, forever.
Full review at: cinemaclown.wordpress.com
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Long before Clint Eastwood would wince his way into the ham-hock Hall
of Fame as Over-Rated Actor and God-Awful Director he was used to
perfection by Director Sergio Leone in his spaghetti-Western
masterpiece, "The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly."
This is a film so visually rich it reads more like a novel than a motion picture. Leone gets off on the grit: the beard-stubble, the sun-chapped lips, battered hat-brim and dirty leather boot. Not only is this the greatest Western ever made it may also stand as the greatest visual story ever committed to film. Leone is so genuinely fascinated by this period and its mythology that every frame is full and compelling... action occurs in both sprawling long shots and lightning bursts of quick-cut gunshot. Eli Wallach is amazing as Tuco, the human rodent, and Ennio Morricone's haunting score adds tremendous humanity to the proceedings.
I have to admit I am not a fan of most American Westerns... the vast majority of them seemed to be disposable action flicks shot at the same five ranches using the same twelve horses. "The Good" elevates the Western to a higher art form than even John Ford or Howard Hawks' greatest films... it would serve as the visual blueprint for almost every Western to follow, and I highly suggest watching the movie with a glass of cool water nearby... you'll be thirsty.
The perfect Saturday-afternoon movie (but be sure to watch in Letterbox!) "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" is an enduring cinematic classic not to be missed... one of the greats.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched this movie more than forty years ago the first time. I was a
little, stupid kid, and all i liked about this movie was shots and
coursing, but now, when my sons watch at this, I can understand the
master piece it is. The history is fantastic, the characters are all
bad asses with sense of humor, you will love them, the art direction
deserved an Oscar, and the acting by the fantastic Clint Eastwood too,
for not talking about the music.
About 2 years ago I saw "Once upon a time in America", by Sergio Leone. And I realized that this director was a master that deserved respect, remembering this movie. You will love this movie, I tell ya, your sons too, you maybe worry about the length, but that three hours are not wasted at all. And there are two more movies of the trilogy, but you can see this one as a separated movie. I loved it, it's on my personal top 5 rank.(with "The godfather", "12 angry men","Pulp fiction" and "Goodfellas") A little spoiler over here: the final scene with Tuco running at the sementary in just the most exiting thing I've ever seen, the music helped.
"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" is one of the pinnacles of my
experiences of a moviegoer. Not only is it my all-time favorite Western
and therefore, one of my all-time favorite movies regardless of genre,
but is a landmark in the history of cinema itself. First of all, it is
proof that oftentimes the simplest ideas are the best ones. The plot is
fairly simple: three men try to reach a buried fortune of Army gold
coins while the Civil War erupts around them. The story is even simpler
and yet the audience gets wrapped around in it as 160 minutes and those
160 minutes just seem to whip by so fast that when the movie does end,
we're craving for more. The film is also evidence that the Western is
not a dying genre, for this landmark film from Italian director Sergio
Leone has aged like wine; time has done nothing to varnish its style
and authority. And it is also proof that Spaghetti Westerns, which are
low in budget and oftentimes flamboyant and over-the-top, can be art,
This was the third and final time that Clint Eastwood worked with Sergio Leone. He returns again as the mysterious Man with No Name: a cigar-chugging bounty hunter quick on the draw and minimal in emotions. Here is the pinnacle of the vintage Eastwood as an actor, where he could manufacture a character by doing little other than squinting and hissing some sparse dialogue. Eastwood's in prime form here. The movie also features Lee Van Cleef as Angel Eyes, a mercenary/bounty hunter/Army colonel, the exact opposite of the warm-hearted character he played in the previous Western "For a Few Dollars More." But oddly enough, even though Eastwood gets top billing, the central character is Tuco, played with outstanding charisma and sharp energy by Eli Wallach. Wallach had played bad guys and anti-heroes before, but here as the bumbling, deliberately comical, greedy, self-centered, and yet somehow likable and personable Tuco, he steals the show. The movie stays interesting as these three men change partnerships with each other, whenever it seems convenient and when it'll bring them closer to the 200,000 dollars in stolen coins. These three characters, wonderfully written and acted, are an important column holding this film's roof up.
Sergio Leone was very much the David Lean of Italy. He could set up beautiful landscape shots and cinematography tricks like few others could. That's part of the reason why so little can happen for so long and yet the tension mounts higher than most. The way he also contrasts long shots with close-ups and montages it all is sheer brilliance. His timing is also exquisite. He knows how long to go, when to cut, when to produce a long take, when to crop a short one, and so on and so forth.
And I cannot leave out Ennio Morricone's music, which is even more famous than the movie itself. His main theme, which has been used in parodies and cultural references for more than forty years, is justifiably famous. But whereas it is usually used in parodies to produce a comical effect, here it fits the mood of the picture down to the bone. There's not a single weak cue of music in this marvelous soundtrack.
But what's most remarkable about this movie is that it sustains itself for the entirety of its 160-minute length and throughout most of it, very little happens. There are long stretches - minutes upon minutes - where virtually nothing happens. Oftentimes there isn't any music. It's not just the suspense of waiting for Leone's trademark bursts of action; the cinematography and the montage and the directing are so taut and winded together that the audience cannot even force themselves to look away. And if one seeks proof, they have to look no further than the film's climax. Of course because it's a Western, it will have an obligatory final showdown. But consider this showdown. We have three men facing each other down and it goes on for four minutes. Four minutes and the actors are hardly even moving. The only real movement is the camera, which is locked-down, but montaging amongst what is very nearly static images. Coupled with Ennio Morricone's heart-thumping music, this showdown, where very little happens for so long, comes across as one of the most electrifying climaxes in cinema history. Sure the music helps a lot, but it's the directing by Sergio Leone that really makes this scene so intense.
"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" is most definitely one of the most important films of all time and it certainly has earned its immortality in the realm of the cinema. It is undoubtedly the greatest Spaghetti Western of them all and Sergio Leone's masterpiece. The first film is this trilogy, "A Fistful of Dollars" was nothing more than an off-beat, but fun remake of "Yojimbo." The second film was also entertaining and fun. But the third movie is a masterpiece. Even at a great length of 160 minutes, and having most of it consumed by silence and stillness, the film never falters to goes on for too long. It goes on and when it does at last end, the audience is left craving for more. They can satisfy themselves in two ways: a) seeking out Leone's director's cut, which is about twenty minutes longer and b) watching the movie again, something I have done and will continue to do many, many times.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is rightly called a classic. Regardless
of where you place it in your own list of the greatest films ever made,
it will most likely be near the top. And that is what makes this such a
classic it is more than just a damn good Western. It is a damn good
Plot simple. There is some buried gold. Three lawless gunslingers are after it. They continue to run into each other and this gives the film momentum during the first two hours.
So much has already been written about this film that it is impossible to sum up all of its influences and innovations. The haunting whistles of the first moments of the title sequence are instantly recognisable even to those who have never seen a Western. Clint Eastwood is instantly recognisable in a career-making role. No matter your verdict, this is an immensely important film.
Director Sergio Leone has a sense for painful irony. 'The Good', Eastwood's character, begins the film by double crossing his partner (Eli Wallach's conflicted Tuco, 'The Ugly') and leaving him in the desert. This irony goes to the level of sight and sound. As 'The Bad' (Lee Van Cleef's Angel Eyes) tortures his victims at a Civil War P.O.W. camp, he orders the other prisoners to play their instruments to drown out the screams. The expressions on the faces of the musicians speaks volumes, and is more affecting to a modern audience than the scenes of torture themselves, gorged as we are on Saw and Hostel. It is this attention to storytelling detail in every frame of the film that makes it so rich and deep. How film-making has changed.
While the film is long and slow, it has to be. The tension built up in the early parts of the film is punctuated by brief flashes of action, but it is the waiting before the action sequences that grabs you by the insides and slowly squeezes. There are ideas and emotions being played with in this film that cannot be quickly explained or unravelled, and these need the full three hours of the film to come to their conclusion. With the luxury of time, Leone is able to make a shared meal as tense and troubling as the moment, hands on guns, before a shootout.
Even if you think the middle sections of the film dragged somewhat (philistine!) the finale is something special. In so many ways, it is the perfect climax to a film filled with moments of brilliance. There are too many parts to the film, too many special moments, to comment on any more, so I will simply say that this is a film I should have seen long before I did finally watch it. It is a film that, if you haven't seen, you should as soon as possible. And if you have seen it, a second, third or fifty-seventh viewing is in order. This film has quality that we are not given the privilege to see very often.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sergio Leone's massive epic is one of my favorite films, pitting a
manic Eli Wallach as Tuco against an autistic Clint Eastwood (Leone:
Eastwood has two acting emotions, with hat on and hat off). Lee Van
Cleef hovers around the the center of the film menacing everyone,
although his performance fades between the tension of Wallach and
Eastwood. Ostensibly a story about the search for buried gold, GBU
undercuts its exploitative surface by giving us almost Beckett-like
relationship between a man that is wanted for murder and his partner
who turns him in for the reward and then shoots the rope off his neck,
a droll comment on human existence if there ever was one. Other
existential moments occur in this rich film, such as the beautiful song
the confederate prisoners sing while Angel-Eyes tortures Tuco, and the
essay on the nature of the futility and pointless brutality of war
appears when Tuco and Blondie witness a battle on a bridge they must
Chaotic, cynical, sentimental, violent, GBU resembles an opera more than anything. Amazingly, when this film first appeared in 1967, most critics wrote it off as one more Spaghetti Western, not seeing the fatalism, the grandeur, and the comedy of this world classic. How could you watch a film with a score like Morricone's finest and not be impressed? Don't mistake this film for realism and criticize it on that basis, as some reviewers have done. This is not a documentary-style Western (for that see McCabe & Mrs. Miller), but a Romance, based more in the imagination, more in symbolism, bowing to the classical westerns stereotypes and clichés.
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