The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Year:
1966
Country:
USA, Italy, Spain, West Germany
Genre:
Action, Adventure, Western
IMDB rating:
8.9
Director:
Sergio Leone
Eli Wallach as Tuco
Lee Van Cleef as Sentenza
Aldo Giuffrè as Alcoholic Union Captain
Luigi Pistilli as Father Pablo Ramirez
Enzo Petito as Storekeeper
Claudio Scarchilli as Mexican peon
John Bartha as Sheriff (as John Bartho)
Antonio Casale as Jackson / Bill Carson
Sandro Scarchilli as Mexican peon
Benito Stefanelli as Member of Angel Eyes' Gang
Angelo Novi as Monk
Storyline: Blondie (The Good) is a professional gunslinger who is out trying to earn a few dollars. Angel Eyes (The Bad) is a hit man who always commits to a task and sees it through, as long as he is paid to do so. And Tuco (The Ugly) is a wanted outlaw trying to take care of his own hide. Tuco and Blondie share a partnership together making money off Tuco's bounty, but when Blondie unties the partnership, Tuco tries to hunt down Blondie. When Blondie and Tuco come across a horse carriage loaded with dead bodies, they soon learn from the only survivor (Bill Carson) that he and a few other men have buried a stash of gold in a cemetery. Unfortunately Carson dies and Tuco only finds out the name of the cemetery, while Blondie finds out the name on the grave. Now the two must keep each other alive in order to find the gold. Angel Eyes (who had been looking for Bill Carson) discovers that Tuco and Blondie met with Carson and knows they know the location of the gold. All he needs is for the two to ...
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Reviews
The good, the better, the best.
This is without a doubt my all-time favorite western.

The beginning of the film is so memorable, with the young, rough good-looks of Eastwood being labeled "The Good", the absolutely evil look of Lee Van Cleef being labeled "The Bad", and a dirty, unkempt, desperado Eli Wallach with booze and food flying being labeled "The Ugly". The ending fight scene with its 3-way showdown is one of the most memorable pieces of film I have ever watched.

Leone did a great job with the camera direction in this movie and the acting is impressive. Eastwood, Van Cleef, and Wallach are absolutely fantastic.

The only thing that might scare some viewers off is the length of the film. It is long, but you just don't seem to notice it when you are watching the film - you are just too damn busy watching the best classic western of all time.

Do yourself a favor and rent this movie if you haven't seen it. If there was ever a perfect western, this is it.
1999-01-06
My review is superfluous...
... but i still want to jostle in with more than half of a thousand other reviews just to type: this is undoubtedly THE best Western movie ever and easily one of the best masterpieces of all time. Even the most noble adjectives preserved particularly for art praising found in Merriam- Webster are too mundane to captivate its greatness.

Please watch this classic before you die.

R.I.P Leone and thank you for blessing your fellow humans such a great gift.

P.S: Eli Wallach + Lee Van Cleef + Clint Eastwood = the most bad-ass narrow- eyes gang in Hollywood.
2010-07-17
Fantastic, legendary masterpiece
In New Mexico Territory circa 1862, a mysterious bounty-killer known as "Blondie" (Clint Eastwood) and a shifty Mexican bandit, Tuco Ramirez (Eli Wallach), run a con job wherein Blondie turns Tuco in for money and then rescues him, splitting the reward money. However, the two engage in numerous double-crossings against each other, until stumbling across a dying Confederate soldier (Antonio Casale) who gives each man a clue to the location of a hidden cache of gold. Tuco and Blondie re-form their alliance to find the gold, only to find that Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef), a ruthless hired gun, is already after the gold. The three men form a frequently-changing series of alliances to get at the gold, and they must avoid the Union and Confederate armies operating in the region.

"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is a landmark film in many respects. Its cultural influence is nigh-impossible to overstate, with its iconic musical score by Ennio Morricone, three memorably amoral protagonists, the close-ups, vast landscapes, and the title itself, all of which are instantly recognizable icons of cinema, having been referenced and replicated time and again in movies, TV shows, and even commercials. It is Sergio Leone's first truly great film, a transition from the low-budget Spaghetti Westerns ("A Fistful of Dollars", "For a Few Dollars More") to the big budget, artistic epics that Leone would make for the rest of his career ("Once Upon a Time in the West/America"). It is also a film of utmost importance to me; after watching this movie as an eleven year old, admiring its wonderfully quirky characters, style, music, and breath-taking cinematography, I realized for the first time that I wanted to devote my life to films, be it watching them, writing on them, or hopefully making them.

"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is a full-blown epic, and one with an interesting subtext. We see three completely amoral characters whose crimes - robbery, murder, and racketeering - are minor compared to the brutal carnage we see the Civil War inflicting. Taking place during the little-known Sibley Campaign in New Mexico, the film is not a documentary depiction of the war, but an allegorical one. This was the first total war, and Leone uses it as a metaphor for conflict in general, with faceless mass slaughter inflicted by rifles, machine guns, and artillery. Blondie, Tuco, and Angel Eyes' transgressions are minor compared to a brutal, Auschwitz-like concentration camp, spies being executed in the streets, towns being shelled, and vicious, stalemated trench warfare over a "flyspeck" of a bridge. Even our amoral heroes have amounts of humanity which set them apart from the machine-like slaughter around them; Blondie saves Tuco's life and comforts dying soldiers of both sides; Tuco struggles with a mixture of affection and hatred for Blondie, and his troubled relationship with his brother (Luigi Pistilli), and even Angel Eyes shows disgust at the carnage he sees.

The movie is extremely episodic, the plot only secondary to the adventures of these characters. Leone's wonderful direction gives the film a fairy-tale quality, with an appearance of realism while being fanciful and at times almost surreal. The movie contains extremely memorable set pieces: the lengthy opening, with three gunmen going after Tuco; the "carriage of the spirits"; the prison camp; a shootout in a town under shellfire; an epic Civil War battle; Tuco running excitedly through the cemetery; and, of course, the unforgettable climactic "triello". Tonino Delli Colli's cinematography is simply breath-taking, with desert landscapes as impressive as David Lean's films contrasting with the most extreme close-ups imaginable. Carlo Simi's set designs, from shelled-out towns to prison camps to the cemetery, is breath-taking. And Ennio Morricone's score is, for lack of a better word, one of the most amazing ever written, the instantly recognizable theme tune and other brilliant pieces creating the movie's indescribable atmosphere.

The cast creates unforgettably iconic characters. Clint Eastwood is back as the Man With No Name, here much more human in this film despite retaining his cool, detached, shifty nature. Lee Van Cleef, who had played a likable character in Leone's previous film, now plays one of the most memorably evil characters ever. Aldo Giuffre, Antonio Casas, and Luigi Pistilli are effective in supporting roles, and Leone's usual stock cast - Mario Brega, Benito Stefanelli, Al Muloch, Aldo Sambrell, and many others - create their own iconography. But it's Eli Wallach who steals the show, as the scenery chewing Tuco, a shifty, double-crossing, foul-mouthed bandit who manages to be the most likable and human of the cast despite his faults; truly, one of the most memorable film characters ever.

"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is one of the most well-known and influential movies ever made, and with good reason. In terms of style, it is an absolute triumph, being one of the most amazingly made movies ever made. Those only familiar with the movie for its cast, its score, or peripherally through its iconic stature, are missing out on one of the most breath-taking cinematic experiences ever. Thank you, Sergio Leone.

9/10
2007-07-10
The Good, the Better, the Best
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly or the Good, the Better and the Best, as I prefer calling it, is a bizarrely sublime and a uniquely aesthetic masterpiece. The actors in title roles have given such extraordinarily superb performances, that it would be impertinent and disparaging to merely regard their swell work as acting. In fact their brilliant portrayals have immortalized Blondie, Sentenza/ Angel Eyes and the enigmatic Tuco. Lee Van Cleef is fiendishly unforgiving as the merciless Angel Eyes. Clint Eastwood is rugged yet suave, cocky yet adorable as laconic cigar-smoker Blondie, a role that laid the foundations of his illustrious career. But it is Eli Wallach, who steals the show with his captivating portrayal of Tuco, a portrayal that is as entrancing as it is enlightening. Wallach is amusing, capricious, nonchalant, uncanny and yet tenacious as Tuco, perturbed by his insecurities and dampened by his solitude. It is the tacit amicability between Blondie and Tuco and their mutual hostility towards the evil Angel Eyes owing to the vestiges of virtue present in them, redolent of their moribund morality, which gives the story, the impetus and the characters, a screen presence that is not only awe inspiring but also unparalleled.

Sergio Leone's magnificent and ingenious direction in synergy with Ennio Morricone's surreal music, Tonino Delli Colli's breathtaking cinematography and Joe D'Augustine's punctilious editing makes the movie, a treat to watch and ineffably unforgettable. Initially aimed to be a tongue-in-cheek satire on run-of-the-mill westerns, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, continues to stand the test of time in its endeavor to attain apotheosis (if it hasn't attained it yet). It will always be remembered as European cinema's greatest lagniappe, not only to the Western genre, but to the world of cinema.

It's a must watch for any movie lover. 10/10
2009-02-19
We all know this is great, but here's my 2 cents..
Well first off, having seen so many films, I'm not sure why I waited so long to watch this but I'm glad I finally did, and you should too! It's unbelievably clear to me now where Tarantino borrowed his camera shots and editing techniques from in the likes of KIll Bill and Inglorious Basterds! (I knew about Morricone)

The film was years ahead of its time, but I have two gripes with this movie that stopped me from giving it the full 10/10.

1: The dubbing- All the foreign actors acted their roles in their native tongues which were dubbed over afterwards. It was quite noticeable and threw me off a bit, I'd much rather a foreign film with subtitles than dubbing any day.

2: A tad too long. I do feel the running time could have been shaved byt 20 mins.

Having said all that, it's a great film! Ennio Morricone's soundtrack is outstanding and the ending is spectacular.

Overall opinion: Milestone!

Other films from the time I rated 9/10: Cool Hand Luke. Bicycle Thieves. The Italian Job
2015-05-14
What got Quentin Tarantino so damn excited...
One of the original Leone "Italian Westerns" that quickened the pulse of a young Quentin Tarantino.

Sometimes I think I am living in a time warp. I watched all the Leone films in theatres in real time and was mesmerized, gob-smacked, and exhilarated. Now in the far future (2016) I watch QT do his knock-offs, and the young audiences (who have never seen the originals) think his are the originals, and everything else the knockoffs.

(Reminds me of the Old King Cole nursery rhyme -- "pulled out a plum and said What a Good Boy Am I" -- another reference lost on those living the age of portable devices.)

For those who actually care about the history of film:

* Leone invented a brand new genre called the Italian western. His first, Fistful of Dollars, recycled a Japanese story (Yojimbo), recycled an American ex-pat whose Hollywood career was officially over (Eastwood) and introduced one of the greatest music composers of the modern film era, Ennio Morricone.

* next came For a Few Dollars More, an original story, which locked into film history Leone's trademark use of closeups and sound editing, and brought out of mothballs Lee Van Cleef, one of the greatest "faces" in the history of the western. ("Angel Eyes" in this one.)

* with two international hits under his belt, Leone aimed for the stars and created this movie which marks his legacy. While simultaneously continuing the tradition he started, and using the two stars from his second film, he gave Eli Wallach (an A-list star from the 1950s) the role of his career. Wait there is more. He set the story against the backdrop of the Civil War and manged to make the transitions seamless and brutally compelling. it is simultaneously a violent film and an anti-war film at the same time! (The only film of Leone's that may compete with this one is Once Upon a Time in America, also reviewed by this writer on the IMDb).

By modern standards the film is overlong and, had it been produced in America (as was indeed the case with Upon a Time in America), the "suits" would have butchered it down to 100 minutes. Luckily for the rest of us, this was an international release, cut-proof, and survives very nicely to the present day in its original form.

QT was a young lad when these films appeared but the impact is clear. He used Morricone's music in Kill Bill (his best film in my view) and in my view The Hateful Eight tries to emulate the power of Leone but falls somewhat short.

For you youngsters out there, I recommend these films as some of the most entertaining efforts ever set to film, period. Imitated but not duplicated.

Astonishing, mind-blowing, unforgettable.
2016-09-09
The good, the bad and the ugly
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.
2007-11-23
This is the reason why Leone is the greatest at what he does.
Before watching this movie, I have seen A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars more and I was quite impressed with both. However, after I have seen this, Leone instantly became one of my favorite directors. Leone has a distinct style in his films and this movie pulls it out 150%.

The cinematography in this film is incredible. His use of extreme long shots and extreme close ups are unsurpassed. The film opens with the close up of a man with an expressionless face creating a sense of mystery and excitement. What will this guy going to do? What's going to happen? Then we are introduced to two new unknown men and the three walk towards the entrance. Silence. Then suddenly, the 3 bust in, guns are shot and Tuco busts through the window and escapes with a half eaten chicken (or pork) leg. One of the men is injured, tries to make a futile final attempt to kill him and falls to the floor; the other 2 are already dead. Just in that one scene, we are introduced to Tuco and can already guess his character, his background info, and skill... without a single spoken line of dialogue.

As a matter of fact, nobody speaks until about 10 minutes into the film. It is all visual. We, the audience, are forced to imagine what the characters are thinking, what might be taking place. Leone gives the viewers a chance to guess what might happen. Even in Once Upon a Time in the West, we see his mastery at the No-Dialogue introduction. I also believe that this is his way to introduce the character's personality traits without the viewers actually knowing that they know it. A subtle technique so when they see a character do something later in the movie, the viewers can accept the character's actions.

However, Leone would not be as great as he is if it wasn't for his partner Ennio Morricone and his unique and memorable soundtrack. The coyote-like music sets the mood for this film like no other western. It is something you must listen to and experience it to retain the full appreciation of it, and know why it has become the trademark music for the western genre.

These techniques go on throughout the film and bring us to the ultimate scene in film history, where Leone's style shines to it's full extent. His incredible use of long shots to set the stage, close ups to catch the expressions, music to set the mood, montage to create the tension, expand it and finally when you are at the edge of you're seat, the scene goes off like lighting in the incredible climatic ending.

Leone is not just any director. He is one of the best, and THIS is his western!
2006-10-15
A true epic and one of the greatest films of all time.
I saw this movie for the first time on my tiny 15 inch screen of my TV/DVD player, and even on this minuscule format I was still simply amazed by the sheer scope of it. Now I understand and acknowledge the usual complaints against the film, namely the fact that the movie is almost three hours long with many scenes that tend to drag on for minutes with little dialog or action, however it is these scenes that make the movie the masterpiece that it is. Every shot whether it be an expansive landscape or an extreme close-up Sergio Leone draws you into his own version of the old west. A world where three men chase each other across the desert in search of 100,000 dollars worth of Confederate gold. Along the way they encounter Yankee and Confederate soldiers, Mexican bandits, bounty hunters in a journey that culminates in one of the most riveting showdowns in cinema history. What I found most interesting about this film however was the influence it obviously had on modern filmmaker Quentin Tarentino. Many of his trademarks (very memorable characters, long shots centered on a single character, intense standoffs involving multiple characters) can be found in abundance in this film as well. In fact Tarentino's Kun Fu epic Kill Bill goes so far as to barrow multiple songs from Leone's Dollars Trilogy. In the end all this adds up to make The Good the Bad and the Ugly in my opinion one of the greatest films of all time.
2007-07-02
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