During the American Civil War, three men of completely different temperaments get involved in a dangerous and unforgiving adventure, which pits them against each other in order to find a fortune of gold that has seemingly been buried in a cemetery many miles away. One is an ex-bounty hunter who lives by a certain honourable code of conduct, while the second is a fast-tempered, greedy former convict, with the third being a cruel and heartless murderer. An all-time great that is widely regarded as one of the finest films to hit our screens.
Director: Sergio Leone
Writers: Sergio Leone, Luciano Vincenzoni
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach
Following on from A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, released in 1966, completes the infamous “Dollars Trilogy”, directed by Sergio Leone and consequently starring Clint Eastwood. As with the prior installments, this film also managed to include a vast array of long, drawn out scenes that enticed a keen sense of anticipation, intrigue and suspense, throughout the mammoth one-hundred- and seventy-eight-minute runtime given.
The story itself supposedly unfolds in New Mexico, but interestingly, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was actually captured on location in Spain. With that being said, the difference of continents did not seem important, nor was it noticed, with the picture seeming authentically American from the first minute until the last, especially when you factor in the complexity of the American Civil War into proceedings. A large majority of the set design was amazing to see too, especially the scenes involving war-ravaged housing and villages on a larger scale.
Accompanying a large amount of the previously mentioned scenes, was of course, the iconic soundtrack that most people have come to know and love throughout the years since its originally release. Ennio Morricone was responsible for the soundtrack and responsible for complimenting, while also escalating, much of the drama and tension filled moments within the movie.
In terms of the cast, Clint Eastwood reprised his role as the “Man with No Name” but was referred to frequently as Blondie. He played “The Good”, the character which had a strong sense of dignity and honour in his work, while Lee Van Cleef adopted the role of “The Bad”, also known as Evil Eyes, a character that lacked any form of morality and was solely focused on finishing any job he had taken on. Finally, the third character worth noting and one that warranted a solid amount of screentime was “The Ugly” or Tuco as he was also known, portrayed by Eli Wallach, a character that was filled with complexity.
Overall, I think The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is more than just a spaghetti western. It manages to successfully contrast various different characters and personalities, whether they were good or evil, while also delving into the American Civil War and some of the atrocities that occurred during that time – something that’s ignored by many western films in the same era. The Civil War provided a completely different, yet interesting backdrop for the latter stages of the film, so if you’re sustainable to highly rated movies and pretty lengthy runtimes, you should give The Good, the Bad and the Ugly a watch – if you haven’t already.
“If you work for a living, why do you kill yourself working?”Tuco – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
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