The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) Poster

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A great tale about the darker side of human nature...
MartinHafer26 February 2010
There are already a lot of reviews for this film and it's in the Top 250 list on IMDb, so I don't feel quite as much need to talk about his film in great depth--after all, it's all been pretty much said. This is an exceptional film for many reasons--most notably because it looks into the darker side of human nature--something you don't often see in films during this era.

The film begins in Mexico. Two Americans (Tim Holt and Humphrey Bogart) are stranded there and haven't a peso between them. Their needs are few--they just want to get enough to buy a meal and find a place to flop. Through this first portion of the film, both men seem like decent enough sorts and the audience tends to empathize with them--even when they are involved in a vicious brawl with Barton MacLane--you feel the guy has it coming when the two give him a beating.

Later, however, their prospects change when they hit on the idea of hooking up with an old coot (Walter Huston) who seems to know a lot about gold mining. The three take off for the Mexican wilderness--and much like the story "Heart of Darkness", the good and bad within them is slowly revealed--all brought about by greed.

What I particularly liked about this film is what a great professional Humphrey Bogart was. His character was extremely flawed and later in the film he was very easy to hate. Many stars of the day probably wouldn't have accepted this less role of a less than honorable man. Nor, I think, they would have been so willing to play a guy who wasn't all that macho.

Apart from Bogart, the acting all around was very good, the script exciting and insightful and the direction just dandy. One of the best films of the era.
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Yet another brilliant film from John Huston
TheLittleSongbird10 June 2010
I love John Huston's films, and this is another one of my favourites. For one thing it is very well made, with wonderful cinematography and striking locations, and the story which is like a fable on greed and human despair as well as a fun search for gold in bandit-infested Mexico is very exciting. Max Steiner's score is superb, the screenplay is crisp and the direction from John Huston is rock solid. The acting is simply great, and that's an understatement with Humphrey Bogart giving another memorable performance as the drifter Fred C. Dobbs. And he is superbly supported by Tim Holt who plays a young idealist and especially Walter Huston as the gnarled prospector. Overall, just another brilliant film from a terrific director, with a superb opening and unforgettable ending. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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God Has a Sense of Humor
bkoganbing8 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I think the great lesson of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is the effect civilization has on the behavior of man. Some people are only as good as they ought to be and the case in point is the guys that go out into the Sierra Madre gold prospecting and how their behavior changes.

Dobbs and Curtin a couple of down on their luck Americans stranded in Tampico, Mexico. They meet up with old Howard at a flop house and his tales inspire them to try gold prospecting. The plot of the film is what happens to them when they find the gold they seek.

The Treaure of the Sierra Madre is a film years ahead of its time for the stark realism it portrays. These are not classic movie heroes. I could see this film easily being remade today by some of our contemporary stars like Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Russell Crowe.

It also has probably the most brutal bar fight ever put on film. Before going prospecting, Humphrey Bogart as Dobbs and Tim Holt as Curtin go out on a construction job for Barton MacLane who stiffs them when it comes time to pay up. They catch up with him at a Tampico dive and administer a terrible beating to MacLane. This is not some western saloon fight, this is probably one of the most realistic bar brawls ever filmed.

I like to compare this film to The Oxbow Incident. In both cases, stress and a crisis bring out the true characters in people. Tim Holt is a lot like Henry Fonda's character and Bogart would have definitely been found in the ranks of the lynchers.

Bogart as Dobbs is probably someone who in civilized society is no better than what he can get away with. His descent into uncontrollable paranoia is frightening on the screen, one of his best performances.

Tim Holt who most of the time was content to star in B westerns for RKO shows what a capable player he is. In the flophouse scene look for an unbilled appearance by his father Jack Holt.

Walter Huston capped a long career on the screen with the Best Supporting Actor Award for this film which also was the Best Picture of 1948. And son John Huston won his only Oscar for Best Director, making Oscar night a banner occasion for the Huston family. Huston's character of Howard you can see playing sidekick in many a Hollywood western. That would be a superficial impression. Howard turns out to be a wise old man.

The ending of what happens to the men and their acquired treasure in the Sierra Made mountains is something else. In a location far from civilization and far from law it's shown that the Almighty does have a wicked sense of humor.
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All-Time Great
Michael_Elliott22 January 2009
Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)

**** (out of 4)

One of the all time great films has Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt playing down on their luck Americans try to make something of themselves in Mexico. After the two come into some money they decide to try their luck at gold searching with the help of a veteran (Walter Huston). Huston picked up an Oscar for his direction as well as the screenplay, which to me is the key to the success of this film. To me this film has one of the greatest and richest screenplays in film history and that's why this thing turned out to be the masterpiece that it is. I guess it shouldn't come as a shock to read that the film wasn't a success when originally released and that's certainly understandable as I'm sure many people didn't want to see an ugly picture about ugly characters. The whole notion of the story is that greed is evil and gold can turn any man to do bad things. None of this is truer than when it comes to the character of Fred C. Dobbs, the Bogart character. Bogart deserves a lot of credit for being willing to jump out of his safe and comfortable roles and do something quite challenging. There are countless scenes that could have embarrassed the actor but he nails everything so perfectly that you can't help but think of this when discussing his greatest works. The screenplay allows his character to grow, or fall apart if you will, so richly that Bogart perfectly soaks up the craziness that befalls his character as the gold begins to add up. Walter Huston rightfully won an Oscar for his performance, which is among the richest of his career. There isn't a single second in the film where you think you're seeing an actor because Huston is so believable in the role that you don't for a second believe him as a real prospector knowing every step of the game. Holt never did become a huge star, which is a shame because he too delivers an excellent performance. As great as Huston and Holt are there's no denying that the film belongs to Bogart. But once again the brilliant and complete screenplay is where a lot of the credit must go because it doesn't shy away from the dark and ugly nature of man. Huston does a wonderful job in his direction because he holds the three characters together even as they each start to gain and lose portions of their mind, faith and reasons for being on the journey. In the end this remains one of the greatest American movies ever made and its riches are a lot more valuable than the gold the three characters are so desperately searching for.
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One of the great movies of all times
SnoopyStyle19 February 2014
Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) is a down and out American in Tampico, Mexico. He meets Bob Curtin (Tim Holt) at a job, but the town is full of crooks including their former boss. In a rundown hostel, they meet old prospector Howard (Walter Huston). Together the three go off in search for their golden fortunes in bandit infested wild country.

This is a John Huston classic and an American classic. It is more than high adventure. It's got the charismatic Bogart, and John Huston's father Walter. It is a character study of Dobbs as paranoia and greed descend. And it's got the great 'Badges' bit although it doesn't have the same gusto as one expects. This has to be one of the great movies of all times.
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Great Character Actors...and No Stinking Badges
Hitchcoc3 January 2015
Ever since "Greed," I have loved movies about losers who destroy themselves and others. This is a classic example of the worst of that term as three men try to face off against forces over which they have little control. It's a little like an early "Deliverance" where the paranoia and fear and, yes, greed, conspire to take away what could have been quite lucrative. The performances, for me, of Bogart, and particularly Walter Huston, in a smaller role, make this worthwhile. This is the prototype for the Mexican bandito with his grin and his disregard for human life. The confrontation has become the basis for parody. The concluding scene is priceless with Bogart's facial expressions and the utter dismay it produces. So much has been said about this. Enjoy the ride.
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Epitome of a good gold rush western with a handful memorable characters
Horst_In_Translation28 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" is an American black-and-white movie from 1948 that is over 70 years old now and was directed by John Huston when he was around the age of 40, one of his earlier, but not very early career efforts. It runs for a bit over two hours and features a handful big name actors. Most of them were probably far more known back then, even if they are still considered stars from their era today. The movie was nominated for four Oscars and won three of these for Best Direction, Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay, but came short for Best Picture. These were the only two wins for John Huston, even if he was nominated many more times, also almost 40 years later still. The supporting actor trophy went to Huston's father Walter really not too long before his death. But the big name here is Humphrey Bogart who plays the central character, the one in the middle of it all. A less significant character is played by the young Robert Mitchum and number 3 in the food chain is Walter Huston and he won some trophies that indicate a lead performance, just not at the Oscars and I am not too surprised he did because it's really too close to call between lead and supporting in my opinion. Up to you to decide, but yeah it is also not really necessary to categorize everything. Let's just say he was really good because that is certainly true and I also felt he was close to stealing the movie from Bogart, if he didn't even. A bit surprising Bogart himself was not nominated for any awards here.

But well, let's take a look at the story. This is the tale of an American beggar in Mexico during the times of the gold rush. After being tricked by a man who employed him (and after beating the crap out of said man to receive his salary), he talks to an old experienced worker who tells him about a place where he is sure they will find gold. So Bogart's character (after an unlikely lottery win, how did he even get that money so quickly??) and his best friend (Mitchum) are off to accompany the older man in hope of finding some gold. There is talk about one man being not enough because of the solitude and two men not being enough because of the greed and these words are quoted heavily eventually and if you look at what happened between Mitchum and Bogart towards the end and what happens when Bogart is on his own, you will understand what I mean. The relationship between Bogart's and Mitchum's characters is an interesting one throughout the entire film, but sadly also did not feel always right. Early on they seem like buddies, but not too close, then when Bogart pays a bit more than he has to to make the adventure happen, the two get closer. Eventually Mitchum saves Bogart's life in the mountains when he falls unconscious, but strangely enough this is also a bit of a turning point because greed and mistrust happen quickly afterwards to a level where the two (three) even point guns at each other.

There is another scene in which Mitchum saves Bogart's life with the dangerous poisonous animal hidden with the gold. And after that there is a bit of calming down again and these inner conflicts of the group get less. This also has to do with a fourth man entering the picture and wanting a bit of a share of the gold they were going for. A really tragic character as we find out eventually when he is killed by bandits still helping the other three to survive after they intended to kill him. Actually right after. And the letter of course. This was maybe the most touching moment for me of the entire film and one of the very rare occasions when the film reached greatness. But luckily, there are hardly any occasions either when it was a weak film. And you could never be sure which direction it would be heading. Let me also say a few words on what Bogart's character turned into at the very end. Yes he was greedier than his two partners there is no denying, but still when he killed (or tried to kill) Mitchum's character, then that was only because he thought Mitchum would do the same thing to him first, which was really nonsense and showed how crazy the protagonist was already at that point because Mitchum was really the most harmless of them all standing up for people that he owed a debt and not stealing any money whatsoever.

Finally, a few words on Walter Huston's Oscar-winning portrayal. He was for me really the epitome of a character where I had no idea where he was heading. Is he a brilliant schemer willing to take the money to himself? He sure talked himself down many times saying he is old, he doesn't need all that gold and that the other two are physically superior to him while he nonetheless runs like a rabbit and climbs like a goat despite his age. I really did not expect he was really a fair-spirited, friendly and caring man. And also very capable without a doubt. Even when he treats the ill Indian boy, I thought he did so because he had to, not because he wanted to. Well, sure he had to, but nonetheless. He really was a good guy, a likable grandpa and he also brings some of the very rare funny moments in this film. Seeing him almost at the end relaxing with the Indians he helped was pretty hilarious and also the stunning Indian girl next to him. At the end, he also has some wise words for Mitchum's character who may not have been too different compared to his own younger self. It is really the characters that make this movie work. Even those who don't have much screen time like the leader of the bandits that we see again near the end and he was scary and funny in a bizarre kind of way. Quite the lunatic. But I can also see why the film won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. There weren't many moments during which I struggled with the plot and the latter was well written and always interesting and I also quite liked the dialogue writing.

It's a film without women almost, without female actors and I am sure some over-the-top politically correct snowflakes will mind, but back then, especially in westerns, this wasn't uncommon at all. And it was good like that. Visually, I am not too impressed here, but it's not like it was a bad film. Just a bit of a pity it wasn't in color (yet) because I think this could have elevated the film because I am sure the endless landscapes and many costumes here would have looked pretty nice. But of course, this does not mean at all it was a weak or even bad film in black-and-white. I enjoyed it and I was grateful to get an unexpected chance to see this one on the big screen again. Still I would disagree with imdb and others having this in their top250 films of all time. That great it is not in opinion, but certainly worth checking out, especially if you are into (old) western movies. Thumbs up!
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Greed + Paranoia = Destruction!
mark.waltz19 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
You know from the very beginning of this movie that Humphrey Bogart isn't the nicest guy. Whether it is panhandling to the same person (without even recognizing the person's face) or throwing a glass of water in a young Mexican boy's face for pestering him about buying a lottery ticket, Bogart's character is instantly recognized for being more than just disgruntled with society. He has every right to get angry when he is ripped off by boss Barton MacLane who hires him for a hard job then disappears without paying him. He's actually honest in spite of all this, beating MacLane up and taking only what is owed him rather than MacLane's entire bankroll. But when he agrees to go panning for gold with quietly moralistic Tim Holt and hyper grizzled old Walter Huston, his true nature comes out. The three all disagree on how much gold they want to collect before cashing it in, but when they come up with an agreement, Bogart's greed, previously just light, becomes paranoiac, and he begins to distrust his pals. Holt and Huston are basically decent men, but their malevolent nature is revealed when Bruce Bennett shows up and wants to get in on the action. Should they: 1: Kill him? 2: Send him away and risk him reporting them for mining gold without a license? or 3: Include him in. They are about to do #1 when bandits show up and they realize they need him.

This moralistic tale is confused as a western by some people even though it is set south of the American border. So if you want to call it a "Mexican Western" with its outdoorsy setting, bandits and grizzled nature, it is. But for some, it is much more than that. It could be compared to the 1995 film "Se7en", focusing on one of those seven deadly sins. Each of the three men must face moralistic decisions concerning their own greed, and Holt faces temptation when Bogart is injured in a mining cave-in. One of the reason Holt is often overlooked in this film is that his performance is very quiet compared to Bogart and especially Huston. He is the most moralistic of the three, although Huston is certainly the most likable. From the moment you see Huston's grizzled old geezer, you can't help but adore him. He's a more realistic portrayal of the feisty old men Charles "Chic" Sale, George 'Gabby' Hayes and Walter Brennan played, a character who seems to have caffeine running through his veins rather than blood. Bogart is fascinating to watch as his paranoia increases. Alfonso Bedoya is scarily memorable as the head of the bandits, while Robert Blake ("Baretta") is likable as the persistent Mexican kid.

The film gives a varied portrayal of the Mexican natives whose lives are invaded by the three Americans. The bandits of course are presented as evil, not liked by their own people along with the Americans. These men are feared for their ruthless manner, first by robbing a train, then harassing some local villagers, and later attacking the American group. Then, there are the Mexican villagers who plea with the group to help them save a young boy unconscious after almost drowning. Their faith and traditions make an interesting twist in a film already riveting because of the theme.
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A Tale of Greed, With Outstanding Direction and Performance of the Cast
claudio_carvalho1 June 2004
In 1925, in Mexico, Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) is an American begging for food and trying to get any job. He meets Bob Curtin (Tim Holt), another American in horrible economical situation and also looking for job, and the former gold prospector Howard (Walter Huston), and together they go to the Mexican mountains seek for gold. After ten months of hard and tense work, including confrontation with bandits, each one of them gets a small fortune in gold. Meanwhile, their personalities are disclosed, and Dobbs shows himself a man obsessed by greed. The end of their journey is ironic and tragic. This movie is a masterpiece. Having an outstanding direction of John Huston, an astounding performance of Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt and supported by a fantastic screenplay, it is certainly one of the best movies ever, highly recommended for any audience. Walter Huston and Humphrey Bogart are really stupendous in their roles. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): `O Tesouro de Sierra Madre' (`The Treasure of the Sierra Madre')
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Human behavior
kosmasp11 August 2009
If you know Humphrey Bogart as a sweet talking man or a detective, you ain't seen nothing yet. You have to watch this movie. Bogart, who commits kind of a sin here a few times, when he talks to himself, to make his feelings heard outside, can just pull that off, without losing his face.

But it's not only Bogart who shines in this. It's also Walter Huston, father to the director of the movie John Huston. There might not be many people in the movie, but it feels incredibly real. The story can be read here, but what is more important, is the acting and the things that happen in between. Especially concerning the characters and their relationship with one another. Human flaws get exposed in a way, that make you care for the characters, even if you want to punch them and tell them what's wrong with them.

A great movie, that should be viewed, by anyone who likes great drama.
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"I know what gold does to men's souls."
classicsoncall23 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The great movies never grow old, they age like fine wine. "The Treasure of The Sierra Madre" is such a film, a classic tale of corruption and greed that follows the trail of three would be prospectors, and ends as a rich morality tale reminding us that the best things in life after all, can't be bought, sold, stolen or given away.

For fans of old movies, the casting of the principals may not seem to work on paper, as Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt, and Walter Huston form as disparate a trio as ever to assemble on screen. The way the story brings them together is a minor act in itself, as the camera follows Fred C. Dobbs (Bogey) through the dusty streets of Tampico, Mexico, living on handouts and a dream. His chance meetings with Curtin (Holt) form a bond that sees the men through a rigorous work detail and a wild bar brawl against their smooth talking boss McCormick (Barton MacLane). When the time comes to move on, the pair seeks out the wisdom of an old codger who's been around the block and back a few times.

Though the most memorable line of the film involves 'steenkin' badges' uttered by Gold Hat bandit Alfonso Bedoya, the best lines belong to Howard (Huston), but you better be attentive and listen closely. As he shows Dobbs and Curtin how to wash sand for fine gold nuggets, he comes up with one himself - "You gotta know how to tickle it so she come out laughin'". Later, as Dobbs begins his descent into paranoia and begins talking to himself, Howard challenges him accordingly - "You got somethin' up your nose? Blow it out, it'll do you good."

In fact, Huston's a scene stealer more than once in the film. My favorite occurs when about midway through their trek into the mountains, Bogey's character is getting worn out and is ready to quit. It's then when Howard reveals they're actually in the middle of a workable vein, and he goes into a comical jig that's just plain fun to watch. Do they teach that in acting class?

However it's not just for comic relief that Howard is so important to the story. Watch his expression and knowing eyes when Dobbs and Curtin shake on their deal the very first time. Later, he's the moral center and conscience of the trio, figuring it's just as well to divvy up the gold as it's mined so each man can guard his own share. Bogey's character is the first to allow his greed to take over, while Curtin falls in right behind. The introduction of Cody (Bruce Bennett) offers yet another psychological angle for the film to explore, as the original partners debate whether to kill him, run him off or take him in. It's the only time we have a hint that Howard's character may have a dark side as well.

For his part, Bogart accomplishes a masterful turn as the down and out bum with dreams of glory, creating one of the great morally tragic figures in movies. Watching him wrestle his conscience after he shoots Curtin, then going doubly mad when Curtin's body is gone in the morning is Bogey at his best. That he meets his end ignominiously seems only proper as befitting his traitorous character, one who's willing to sell out anyone in his path.

I guess the true measure of the film's greatness is it's ability to hook the viewer in a way that makes you feel you're a participant in the adventure. Come on now, didn't you shudder with disbelief when the 'steenkin' badges' hombre trashed the bags with gold dust, figuring it was only sand to weigh down the hides on the burros? I'm glad Howard was allowed to put his own unique perspective on things as a desert wind storm blew away a hundred thousand dollar fortune. Remarking that theirs was a ten month old joke in the making, he philosophically offers - "The gold has gone back to where we found it", as if that was just the way it was meant to be.

For film trivia buffs, 'Treasure' is just that. Study the face of the young Mexican boy selling Dobbs a lottery ticket in an early scene. Doesn't it have an unusually uncanny resemblance to that of adult actor Robert Blake? Back then he was known as Bobby. And how about the white suited American who's constantly tapped for a handout by Bogey's character. That would have been Director John Huston in an uncredited appearance. Tim Holt's actor father Jack Holt also appeared uncredited as a flophouse bum in an early scene. Later the two would actually portray for the first time in the movies a father and son in the 1948 Western "The Arizona Ranger".
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Bogart and the Stinking Badges
gavin694225 February 2010
Two penniless Americans (Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt) during the 1920s in Mexico join with an old-timer (Walter Huston, the director's father) to prospect for gold. The old-timer accurately predicts trouble, but is willing to go anyway. The film is fictional, but presents a very realistic scenario: By the 1920s the violence of the Mexican Revolution had largely subsided, although scattered gangs of bandits continued to terrorize the countryside. The newly established post-revolution government relied on the effective, but ruthless, Federal Police, commonly known as the Federales, to patrol remote areas and dispose of the bandits. Foreigners, like the three American prospectors, were at very real risk of being killed by the bandits if their paths crossed. The bandits, likewise, were given little more than a "last cigarette" by the army units after capture, even having to dig their own graves first.

The film shows the Americans doing just about anything for money: drilling oil, digging for gold, begging and more. And once gold comes into the picture, the men who once claimed they were not greedy see things differently. Bogart actually goes mad, after he gets greedy and paranoid... during which he encounters a gila monster! The most memorable scene of this film involves the bandits, who don't need any "stinking badges". While the line is much more quotable in "Blazing Saddles", we couldn't have "Blazing Saddles" (or "UHF") without this film... just about everyone, even those who never saw or heard of "Sierra Madre", knows the badges line.

Humphrey Bogart's best film is probably "Casablanca", but this one features him in a nice, rough exterior. Yes, sometimes leading men have beards and are covered in dirt. Pretty boys do not stay pretty boys after digging in the hills, or at least that wouldn't be realistic. This film does a fine job trying to "keep it real", so we have to commend Huston not only on his directing, but his wonderful location scouting.
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gold and cruels
lee_eisenberg19 July 2005
Humphrey Bogart remains one of Hollywood's most acclaimed stars, and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" shows why. Bogart plays Fred Dobbs, a prospector in search of some gold with Bob Curtin (Tim Holt) and Howard (Walter Huston). On the quest for the gold, all three men get progressively more paranoid and start double-crossing each other.

As you can see, the movie deals with greed. Among other things, "TTOTSM" added to our cinematic vocabulary the phrase: "Badges?! We don't need no stinkin' badges!" (actually, the real quote was much longer). But anyway, this is one movie that, aside from being a classic in the real sense of the word, will truly stick with you.

Oh, and the guy who played Pat McCormick? That's Barton MacLane, who went on to play Gen. Peterson on "I Dream of Jeannie".
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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
jboothmillard8 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
From Oscar and Golden Globe winning director John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, The Asphalt Jungle, The African Queen, The Man Who Would Be King), I had heard about this film before I found it in the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, probably because of the leading actor, I looked forward to watching it. Basically set in 1925, in the Mexican oil-town of Tampico, two Americans, Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt), have been swindled and are down on their luck looking for work. They meet old prospector Howard (Oscar and Golden Globe winning Walter Huston, John's father) who offers to take them on gold prospecting journey to the remote Sierra Madre mountains, they are able to bankroll the finances required when Dobbs wins a small jackpot in the lottery. Reaching the hinterlands by train, and surviving a bandit attack en route, in the desert, Howard proves himself to be the toughest and most knowledgeable, he is the one to discover the gold they seek. They dig a mine and extract much gold, but greed soon sets in, Dobbs begins to lose both his sanity and trust, lusting for the entire treasure, he is also unreasonably worried one of his partners will try and kill him. James Cody (Bruce Bennett), a fourth American, appears and gets the three debating what to do with a new stranger, rather than give him a share of the gold they have found, the three agree to kill Cody. The three prepare to kill Cody, but then the bandits reappear, pretending to be federal police, there is a tense exchange regarding proof of their authority, then a gunfight ensues, during which Cody is killed, the real federal police show up and chase the bandits away. Howard leaves to help local villagers save the life of a seriously ill little boy, he recovers, but the villagers insist Howard should be honoured, but he leaves his goods with Dobbs and Curtis. The paranoia of Dobbs continues, he and Curtis constantly argue, until one night Dobbs holds Curtis at gunpoint, shoots him, leaves him for dead, and takes all three shares of the gold, however Curtis survives and crawls away. Dobbs almost dies of thirst, until he reaches a waterhole, there he is ambushed by the same bandits they encountered earlier, they kill him, but mistakenly they believe the bags of gold are nothing but sand, the scatter the gold to the winds. While Curtis is discovered by the locals and taken to Howard's village to recover, the bandits try to sell Dobbs' donkey, a child recognises the animal, and Dobbs' clothes, reporting them to the police, they are captured, forced to dig their own graves and executed. Curtin and Howard miss witnessing the bandits' execution by moments, and they learn the gold is gone, they find the empty bags and realise that the wind carried the gold away. Curtis and Howard accept the loss with calmness, before Howard laughs that it is a good joke and does a little jig, they part ways, Howard returning to the village to have a permanent home, and Curtis returns to America to find Cody's widow. Also starring Barton MacLane as Pat McCormick, Alfonso Bedoya as Gold Hat, Arturo Soto Rangel as El Presidente, Manuel Dondé as El Jefe, José Torvay as Pablo and Margarito Luna as Pancho. Bogart gives a great performance as the highly paranoid drifter, Walter Huston is also great as the gnarled old man who knows all there is to know about gold, I will be honest and say I drifted off at times, but it is a good story of treasure hunting, John Huston certainly deserved his awards for both writing and directing, and it has fantastic thundering music by Max Steiner, a most worthwhile classic western adventure. It won the Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay by John Huston, it was nominated the BAFTA for Best Film from any Source, and it won the Golden Globe for Best Picture (tied with Johnny Belinda). Humpherey Bogart number 36 on The 100 Greatest Movie Stars, Bogart was also number 1 on 100 Years, 100 Stars - Men, "Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinking badges!" was number 36 on 100 Years, 100 Quotes, the film was number 30 on 100 Years, 100 Movies, it was number 67 on 100 Years, 100 Thrills, and it was number on 100 Years, 100 Greatest Movies. Very good!
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Not Exactly My Favorite Bogart Film
ccthemovieman-12 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I only saw this one time. It was enough for me. For the acting alone - and for Walter Huston - I would give it five stars but no stars for anything else.

Maybe it's just me, but watching a paranoid, greedy, whiny person act nasty for an hour toward two innocent good guys is is not my idea of entertainment, whether it's Humphrey Bogart (here, as "Fred C. Dobbs") or Elmer Fudd playing the lead.

The only actor I enjoyed watching was Huston, which is no surprise. I always found him fascinating in whoever he played on film.

Then again, I might have put up with this story better had it been a little shorter, but 120 minutes of this was too much. I really believe this is one of those movies that critics have made it far more than it really is, meaning vastly overrated. I like Bogart in many films, but not here.
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rmax30482320 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I wish I knew who B. Traven was. He wrote the novel this film is based on, and it's a good read. There are stories that he was a German. Maybe he was. The dialogue has little German touches in it. Traven surely lived in modest circumstances in Mexico, the details and dynamics of run-down hotels being far too accurate to have been made up in a comfortable armchair.

But it's not really important. Huston and his cast and crew have turned the novel into a movie that is as good as anything likely to show up on the screen. It's an astounding achievement. I can't even begin to list the moments that stamp themselves indelibly into one's memory, but I will mention one, just en passant, so to speak. After killing his partner and friend, Bogart lies down next to a fire and tries to go to sleep. He talks to himself dismissively about "conscience" and how it only bothers you if you let it, and the fake, sulfurous fire blazes up higher and higher between the actor and the camera until he seems to be consumed by the flame.

Alfonso Bedoya. He made a few other movies but nothing resembling this one. What lines he is given!

"Aww, come on. Throw that old iron over here."

"There's a good business for Jew."

And the unforgettable "batches,"which doesn't need repeating.

It is surely one of Huston's best films. A lesser director could have ruined the novel's plot. But Huston adds his own touches. Cody is killed, shot through the neck, and the old man reads a letter from his wife, retrieved from Cody's pocket. But -- he doesn't know how to read big words!

So Curtin takes the letter and reads it. It's not just a directorial flash in the pan, because the scene resonates at the end of the movie when Curtin rides off to meet Cody's wife in the blossom-blooming peach orchard. What I mean is that the letter-reading scene is there for a larger purpose than simply adding to our appreciation of the characters at that particular moment.

The fight with Pat in the cantina. Absolutely nothing happens the way it had always happened in previous movies. Huston stages it in a way that an artist would think of. In all movies before this one, fights involved (1) a general melee in which no one wins or loses, or (2) one clip on the jaw and the guy is unconscious.

Here, MacCormack, the heavy, done very nicely by Barton Maclaine, abruptly bashes one guy over the head with a bottle of booze and socks the other one. Both victims crumple. But somebody grabs Pat's legs as he walks towards the door. More blows. Bodies slump to the floor and they have a hell of a time getting back up on their feet. More blows. Pat is finally beaten to the floor and he's not unconscious. "Okay. Enough, fellas. I'm beat. I can't see." Bogart and Tim Holt take only the money that is owing to them, and Curtin (Holt) comes up with, "Let's beat it before the law arrives." Before the law arrives. That's straight out of Traven's novel and is one of the reasons people believe he wasn't that familiar with the English language. Not that it doesn't fit -- but the use of "arrives" is just a tad formal.

I could go on listing one scene after another that is simply outstanding. I watched this repeatedly with my ten year old kid, Josh, who finally memorized almost every word of the script. I showed it in classes in psychology at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina as an almost flawless depiction of an ego defense mechanism called "projection." The Marines loved it. I loved it. My kid loved it. John Simon loved it. Rush Limbaugh loved it. Martha Stewart loved it. Rachel Maddow loved it. Napoleon Bonaparte loved it. Moses loved it. Lenin loved it. St. Peter, when not attending the pearly gates, watches it on cable TV. (No commercials.) Everybody loves it -- and for good reasons.
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Extraordinary and marvelously performed film about a grizzled hustler decides to join with other prospectors to find gold
ma-cortes11 May 2014
Magnificent rendition of B. Traven's story of ambition and human nature at its worst and dealing with an unlikely trio of ambitious prospectors . As Fred Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) and Bob Curtin (Tim Holt) , two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector (Walter Huston) to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains . Through a lot of troubles they eventually succeed in finding gold, but greedy outlaws (Alfonso Bedoya) , and most especially craziness lead to disaster . As they sold their souls for the treasure of the Sierra Madre .

It's an intelligent semi-western that scrutinizes the greed and paranoia that afflicts a misfit group , including their enormous difficulties and breathtaking taking on between protagonists and the Mexican enemies that stalk to them . The film blends thrills , emotion , intrigue , high body-count and it's fast moving and exciting ; being filmed in Mexico, though Warners' studio head Jack L. Warner had the unit return to Hollywood when the budget started to exceed $3 million . Thought-provoking screenplay by the same Huston , concerning about greed and ambition that threaten to turn their success into disaster . Director John Huston had read the book by B. Traven in 1936 and had always thought the material would make a great movie . Based on a 19th-century ballad by a German poet , Traven's book reminded Huston of his own adventures in the Mexican cavalry . When Huston became a director at Warner Bros. , the smashing success of his initial effort, The Maltese Falcon (1941), gave him the clout to ask to write and direct the project, for which Warner Bros had previously secured the movie rights . Although by many to be director John Huston's finest film , this is a tale of fear , greed and murder , as three partners fall out over the gold they have clawed out of the inhospitable and bandit-ridden deserts and mountains . It also has probably the most brutal gold bar fight ever put on film along with "The Ruthless Four" . Overrated by some reviewers , but very interesting and attractive to watch . It above all things mostly also remains a real characters movie, in which the three main roles are the essentials . Their dynamic together is also great and is what mostly keeps this movie going . They are three totally different characters, which is the foremost reason why they work out so great together on film . Bogart is superbly believable and gives a nice portrait of an increasingly unhinged prospector , Walter Huston is very good as a cunning veteran and Tim Holt is also pretty well . John Huston has a cameo as an American tourist , this scene was directed by Humphrey Bogart, who took malicious pleasure on his director by making him perform the scene over and over again. And the little boy who sells Bogart the portion of the winning lottery ticket is Robert Blake . The bum seated near Walter Huston in the first scene in the Oso Negro flophouse is Jack Holt, father of Tim Holt . Walter Huston, father of director John Huston, won the Academy Award for best supporting actor , John won for best direction . This was the first father/son win .

The musician Max Steiner composes a vibrant soundtrack and well conducted ; including a catching leitmotif and considered to be one of the best . Atmospheric scenario with barren outdoors , dirty landscapes under sunny exteriors and a glimmer sun and fine sets with striking cinematography by Ted McCord , this was one of the first American films to be made almost entirely on location outside the USA . Also shown in computer-colored version . The picture was shot on location in Tampico, Mexico ; just as John Huston was starting to shoot scenes in, the production was shut down inexplicably by the local government ; it turns out that a local newspaper printed a false story that accused the filmmakers of making a production that was unflattering to Mexico . Fortunately, two of Huston's associates, Diego Rivera and Miguel Covarrubias, went to bat for the director with the President of Mexico , then the libelous accusations were dropped . The motion picture was stunningly realized by John Huston and the film took 5-1/2 months to shoot and was 29 days over schedule ; Robert Rossen submitted at least nine drafts of rewrites on the screenplay when John Huston was away during the war . Rating : Above average . Well worth watching , essential and indispensable seeing . In 2007: The American Film Institute ranked this as the #38 Greatest Movie of All Time.
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Gold Fever and Greedy Fools
moonspinner5515 February 2011
In 1925 Tampico, a destitute American, stiffed by his ne'er-do-well employer, wins a small lottery and teams up with an honest co-worker and a wily prospector to pan for gold in the Sierra Madre mountains. Writer-director John Huston, faithfully adapting B. Traven's novel, opens the film with a wry flourish, which peaks with a justified fist-fight in the local bar; the second and third acts are less satisfying, with the arc of Humphrey Bogart's Fred C. Dobbs character oddly (and improbably) turning from humble protagonist to mad-dog killer (without any preparation from the filmmaker). The melodramatic or sympathetic turns of the plot don't match up with the initial 30 minutes, which have a sarcastic or mocking tone, although the film is forceful throughout, well-produced and immensely watchable. Not a commercial success in 1948, "Sierra Madre" now holds a reputation as a classic, mostly due to Walter Huston's juicy, Oscar-winning supporting performance as the razor-sharp old coot. John Huston, father of Walter, also won statues for both his direction and screenplay. *** from ****
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"I'll bet you $105,000 that you fall asleep before I do!"
TxMike27 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I was really lucky. This newly-released DVD set is available from my local county library and I was one of the first to borrow it. After 'Falcon' and 'Casablanca', I was curious to see Bogart in a different role. Set in 1925, the title refers to the quest of three American men, common only by their being almost broke in Tampico, Mexico, now heading to the mountains to prospect for gold. And they find gold, but the story is not really about that. Far from it. The story is a morality play, a study of how greed and paranoia wrecks what might have become a fast friendship between the three men. It fully deserves its place as one of the better films, and Walter Huston (dad of director John) richly deserved his supporting Oscar as the grizzled and wise old prospector. The DVD set is also rich in extras, a huge bonus for fans of classic films such as this one.

The rest of my comments contain MAJOR SPOILERS and should not be read by anyone who has not yet seen 'Treasure of the Siera madre.'

Dobbs is down and out in Tampico, decent work is hard to find, and he often hits on apparently wealthy fellow Americans, pleading for a peso so he can have a meal. Director Huston has a small but key role as one of those Americans, and the third time Dobbs hits on him, tells him to quit begging and learn to support himself. Dobbs and another American get hired to go off and work with a crew, with a promise to be paid later. But the boss is a scammer, skips out, they later find him in a bar, beat him up, and take the money owed to them, nothing more. Then, in a flophouse meet up with the old prospector, after conversation about gold in the mountains, the old man offers to lead the prospecting if they can put up enough money for supplies. A winning lottery ticket sold to Dobbs by a street boy days earlier provides the rest of the money they needed.

They get to the mountains, the old man finds gold, they build a mine and a water trough to recover it. They spend a total of 10 months, with no plan of how long they would stay there or how much gold they would accumulate. Shortly they decided to split up the gold as they found it, and each keep his own in a secret hiding place. Dobbs' greed and paranoia increase as the gold inventory does. He accused the others of plotting to steal his. In a complex series of events, Dobbs ends up going down the mountain by himself with all the gold, banditos intercept him, kill him for his boots and hides, never suspecting that the 'sand' in the bags was worth anything. When the other two American prospectors arrive later on the scene, wind is blowing the open bags of gold dust and scattering it into the desert, blowing it back to where it started. The old man began to laugh, then the other, "What a joke on us", they had spent ten months working hard and now all the gold was gone, but they were alive.
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The love of money is the root of all evil
blanche-217 January 2007
So how many actors can hold the viewer while he acts - alone - on screen? I don't know how many can, I only know that Humphrey Bogart can and did in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," a 1948 film directed by John Huston and also starring Walter Huston and Tim Holt. Bogart is just one of the treasures you'll see in this magnificent film about the power that gold can have over men.

There's no sense in repeating the story - three men go into the hills to pan for gold. Howard (Huston) an old timer who has been there, done that, warns the other two, Fred C. Dobbs and Bob Curtin (Bogart and Holt) that if they find gold, it has the potential to ruin both of them. While Howard is easygoing and philosophical, and Bob manages to remain loyal and honest, Fred C. Dobbs begins to show signs that he's one sandwich short of a picnic early on. He becomes suspicious and paranoid as their bounty grows larger.

Bogart's last scenes are monumental - he gives a soliloquy - and he deserved the Oscar for this. Walter Huston is fantastic as an old man who doesn't want for much and takes life as it comes. Handsome Tim Holt gives a wonderful performance as an inherently gentle, generous and sympathetic person. His reading of the letter from a dead man's wife is quite poignant.

The end of this film is satisfying, honest and funny, giving us an important moral: "Gold is good in its place; but living, brave, patriotic men, are better than gold."
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the Hustons and Bogart in a perennial story of money being the root of all evils- even in good men
Quinoa198420 December 2006
Fred Dobbs doesn't have a nickel to his name, at least when he's in the small Mexican village at the start of the Treasure of the Sierra Madre. But whatever the situation is, he wants what he can get, and if anyone tries to get in his way he'll let em have it. We see this early one when he and Bob Curtain have to beat it out of a sleazy boss at a construction site to get their earned wages. It's then no surprise that the two of them find it the best idea to take on Howard, an old seemingly-by-gone codger who once was a great prospector, on their ideal trip to look for gold in the mountains of Mexico. But then we start to see a kind of psychological head-trip go on with Dobbs, which makes the Treasure of the Sierra Madre that much more special of a film. The main characters aren't against any very dangerous adversaries- aside from the bandits- and it's not Cowboys and Indians. In fact, getting all the gold together isn't even the climax of the picture, which is usually where one might think a conventional picture would take this story. But John Huston, the director, has none of that here. In 'Sierra Madre', Dobbs becomes the "bad guy", but it's hard exactly to call him one.

I'm almost reminded of Crime & Punishment, the Dostoyevsky novel, where the morality is very blurred and the character becomes a fragmented version of himself (not to mention trying to reason out in a lack of inner monologue, as Dobbs rambles to himself), and as Dobbs tries to make out with the gold on his own, he meets an end that any lessor Hollywood picture wouldn't dream of going to. That Dobbs then is played by Humphrey Bogart adds, at first, to the initial confusion of the moviegoer. This isn't how it usually happens, is it, least of which since Bogart started playing "good guy" roles. But Huston knows, as well as Bogart does- who may be in a true career highlight here alongside In a Lonely Place- that a character shouldn't be just one thing. Even Howard isn't just a kind-hearted old fella, even as he is that to a large extent (he even admits that he might have been tempted to take the money too, had he been younger). And in a sense Dobbs, through Bogart, is a bittersweet reminder of the American dream, where all one really wants is enough money to get by- but then how much can really be enough?

Huston is brilliant in building on Dobbs's character, as is Bogart in showing little by little how his generous and genial personality gets stripped away when paranoia and fear settles into his mind-frame. Like when the men discuss how to divide up the money, or when the 'outsider' American comes in, the one who's definitely not invited- notice the striking body language of Bogart in relation to the other actors. Most especially, even if it's a small scene, when the three men talk about what they'll do with their share of the money- Dobbs's goals are in the short-term, unlike the practicality of Howard or Bob. By the last third of the film, if one were just looking at that set apart from the rest of the picture, one might think it's a flashback to Bogart's 'old days' as a character actor in the 30s. Yet he's the star here, which makes Dobbs's plummet a kind of sad testament to the American dream, so called, and to the corruptibility of goods.

But aside from building strongly on the characters, Huston is also a good storyteller, and his Treasure of the Sierra Madre is one of the finest 'yarns' of the 40s, albeit subversive as his other great films, the Maltese Falcon and the Asphalt Jungle, were. It's such a simple story, really, but it works because we believe in the characters, the nature of the setting, of the outside influences (i.e. both bandits and the 'common' Mexican peasants). Huston doesn't clutter up his story with any unnecessary moments, even as he uses a lot more bits to build on character than just plot. While Howard ends up being usually expository or with all the information for the other two- as he IS the most experienced like a gold-digging Yoda perhaps- the story never gets clunky. And there's a great sweep to the style of the picture too, with just the right studio score by Max Steiner, and some wonderful desert shots (and shots of the men's varied faces) Ted McCord.

And one can't leave thinking about Treasure of the Sierra Madre, aside from considering the performances. Sure, Bogart might be at his best here, both an every-man and every-man-for-himself (plus his own worst enemy), but there's also Tim Holt, who has to carry the most restraint of the three main characters, and he's terrific at it, in what was probably his best remembered role among mostly B pictures. But it's arguable that Walter Huston, John's father, steals the show sometimes from Bogart, or at least gets in enough room to stand right alongside him as a presence to be reckoned with. The character ranges from being wise, to being a cook (like when he laughs wildly at the younger men being tired climbing the mountain), cautious, and always with a sense of truth and honor. Huston probably has one of the more deserved supporting actor Oscar turns here for the part, and if I had to show anyone one performance noteworthy most of all from him it'd be from 'Sierra Madre'. Bottom line, a must-see in the realm of the western/adventure A-pictures of the 40s, with enough to say on the dangers of greed and money to last so many years.
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This is A Real Treasure from the Sierre Madre ****
edwagreen4 December 2010
Outstanding film with superb direction from the Oscar winner John Huston. His dad, Walter, gave a gem of a performance as the wise, elderly prospector, and he was rewarded accordingly with a best supporting Oscar for this role.

The picture should have won for best film but lost to the very dull "Hamlet." I guess that Hollywood wanted to show how cultured they were.

The picture is phenomenal because it shows the poison of greed in our lives. Humphrey Bogart gave a brilliant performance as the greedy prospector, who literally cracks up during his quest for gold. Cheated himself by an unworthy employee earlier in the film,Bogart was at his best, especially in the scenes where he is talking to himself.

Irony is used beautifully here to show that greediness cannot triumph. Bruce Bennett, Huston and Tim Holt are in fine form as the prospectors who are decent men and can withstand adversity and cruelty from others.

Truly a gem of a film.
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John and Walter Huston Strike Gold
wes-connors29 December 2014
The opening says it's Valentine's Day, 1925 in hot Tampico, Mexico. Down-on-his-luck and disorderly American drifter Humphrey Bogart (as Fred C. Dobbs) teams up with likewise poor, but fair-minded Tim Holt (as Bob Curtin) for some part-time construction work. Cheated out of their wages, Mr. Bogart and Mr. Holt meet wizened old prospector Walter Huston (as Howard) in a flophouse and are intrigued by his stories. After Bogart buys a winning lottery ticket from pushy young Robert Blake (as a Mexican teenager), the three men head out to the Sierra Mountains and find a fortune in gold. In order to survive and make it out with their claim, the trio must survive Mexican bandits, Native South American Indians and good old-fashioned greed...

"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" is deservedly famously for two very big reasons. First, the starring presence of Bogart, one of Hollywood's greatest golden age stars. Second, the teaming of director John Huston with his acting father Walter Huston. The amazing father/son team attracted immense critical acclaim and won most of the industry's "Best Director" and "Supporting Actor" awards for the year. The overlooked third man, Tim Holt, also performed exceptionally...

Director Huston's attention is not always on Holt. At times, he is merely told where to walk and stand in the film's frame. One of Holt's stumbles warrants no re-take. Yet, when he acts, Holt is equal or greater to his more illustrious co-stars. The film peaks after Holt's village visit. It unravels with Dobbs' sanity, which may be appropriate. Yet, with no warning, the senior Huston miraculously becomes a highly-skilled doctor. And, we are led to believe indigenous bandits mistake gold grains for ordinary sand being bagged to make animal hides heavier for sale to locals. Still, from the nighttime campsite appearance of interloper Bruce Bennett (as James Cody) to the reading of his wife's letter, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" is sheer gold.

******** The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1/24/48) John Huston ~ Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett
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Huston and Huston make magic
BandSAboutMovies6 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
After reading the novel by B. Traven, director John Huston thought that it would make a great film. And he saw his father, Walter Houston, as the perfect lead.

He felt for the story, as it reminded him of his days in the Mexican calvary. Luckily, his first picture, The Maltese Falcon, was a success, so he was able to make this movie happen. Originally, the studio had George Raft, Edward G. Robinson, and John Garfield selected for the main three roles.

Then World War II - and Houston donating his time to make war effort documentaries - happened. When it was all over, Humphrey Bogart had become Warner Brothers' top dog and he wanted in.

This was one of the first Hollywood films to be filmed on location outside the United States. Filming began in the state of Durango and also at Tampico, Mexico, where the only Spanish Bogie learned was "Dos Equis."

For their work on the film, John Huston won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, with his father winning Best Supporting Actor.

Fred C. Dobbs (Bogart) and Bob Curtin are bums, getting by on spare change when they're recruited by a labor contractor to help build oil rigs. The man skips on their pay. As they return home, they meet an old prospector named Howard (Walter Huston), who offers platitudes about god prospecting and how to get rich.

Between beating up their old boss for money and winning a small lottery, the men have enough to go in together to prospect for some gold in the hills of the Mexican interior.

What follows is an exhausting process that tries the men's souls, as they're forced to survive in near-unliveable conditions. However, they start adding up a fortune in gold. But now, Hobbs is gripped in the throes of worry - what if his partners screw him over?

Of course, there's no way this ends up happy. Even as Howard is honored by the local village for saving a young boy, Hobbs is shooting their partner and trying to leave with the gold.

From mistaking a man trying to earn money for his wife as a killer to facing off with a band of Mexican criminals, the danger is real in every scene in this film. Hobbs is murdered by Gold Hat's gang and his gold dust, worth so much that he'd kill his friends, is tossed into the wind. When the surviving Howard and Curtin realize this, all they can do is laugh.
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Man. The most dangerous enemy known to ... man!
Coventry8 November 2020
I don't usually comment on non-horror cinematic landmarks, because it honestly isn't my area of expertise, and because - usually - everything that can and needs to be said about the films in question has already been published before. That's definitely also the case for John Huston's "The Treasure of Sierra Madre", so I'll try to keep the review brief. In the past four years (2016 - 2020), I often heard the phrase "Make America great again". Well, you know what would really help to accomplish this? Make great American movies again, like this one! It's a bona fide movie-monument from start to finish, with a compelling script, breath-taking locations, superb cinematography & music, and of course the stellar performances. Director/co-scripter John Huston and legendary lead actor Humphrey Bogart deserve our endless respect for their stubbornness, perseverance and bravery to have Bogart appear in such an atypical role for his status. Especially after his polished roles in films like "Casablanca", "The Big Sleep" and "To Have and Have Not", it must have been quite a shock for audiences to accept Bogart as a cold and cruel villain. Well actually, he isn't really a villain. Bogart depicts an initially sympathetic drifter who undergoes a transformation into a ruthless scoundrel due to greed and paranoia caused by "gold diggers' fever". And his performance is genius, as are those of Tim Holt and Walter Huston.
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