The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Critic Consensus: Arguably the greatest of the spaghetti westerns, this epic features a compelling story, memorable performances, breathtaking landscapes, and a haunting score.
In the last and the best installment of his so-called "Dollars" trilogy of Sergio Leone-directed "spaghetti westerns," Clint Eastwood reprised the role of a taciturn, enigmatic loner. Here he searches for a cache of stolen gold against rivals the Bad (Lee Van Cleef), a ruthless bounty hunter, and the Ugly (Eli Wallach), a Mexican bandit. Though dubbed "the Good," Eastwood's character is not much better than his opponents -- he is just smarter and shoots faster. The film's title reveals its ironic attitude toward the canonized heroes of the classical western. "The real West was the world of violence, fear, and brutal instincts," claimed Leone. "In pursuit of profit there is no such thing as good and evil, generosity or deviousness; everything depends on chance, and not the best wins but the luckiest." Immensely entertaining and beautifully shot in Techniscope by Tonino Delli Colli, the movie is a virtually definitive "spaghetti western," rivaled only by Leone's own Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). The main musical theme by Ennio Morricone hit #1 on the British pop charts. Originally released in Italy at 177 minutes, the movie was later cut for its international release. ~ Yuri German, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
All three arrive at the cache at the same time. Who gets it? Director Leone doesn't seem to care very much, and after 161 minutes of mayhem, audiences aren't likely to either.
The third in the Clint Eastwood series of Italo westerns, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is exactly that -- a curious amalgam of the visually striking, the dramatically feeble and the offensively sadistic.
Though ordained from the beginning, the three-way showdown that climaxes the film is tense and thoroughly astonishing.
Sergio Leone's grandiose 1966 western epic is nothing less than a masterclass in movie storytelling, a dynamic testament to the sheer, invigorating uniqueness of cinema.
Leone's liberal use of widescreen shots in conjunction with extreme close-ups gives the movie an epic quality that is matched in scope by a skeletal narrative structure that breathes with a poker-faced mood, tone, and personality.
Audience Reviews for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Three outlaws pursue a cache of gold hidden in a grave.
While canonical, this film is oddly structured with its inciting incident pushed to an hour and fifteen minutes into its three-hour run time. What the film is saying about goodness (or ugliness or badness) is unclear as the "good" is just as bad as the "ugly," but I can imagine that it's attempting to show that morality is more contextual than absolute, creating, as it does, an environment in which everybody is immoral even the Union and Confederate troops, who seem to be passing through this film on their way to another.
Beautifully shot and operatic in scope, the filmmaking is remarkable even if the story-telling is perplexing.
Overall, this classic western isn't bad or good or ugly, just moderately interesting.
The final part of "the man with no name" trilogy sees Clint competing with his erstwhile partner and a coldly vicious mercenary for some buried stolen loot. The remarkable thing about Leone's series is the fact that even the best film trilogies (ie The Godfather, the original Star Wars et al) good as they were, never quite captured the magic of the original. Leone's however began brilliantly, and just kept getting better. The trio are introduced in highly effective opening scenes once again, often using only eye contact and body language to convey their personalities; it's actually 10 full minutes into the film before a single syllable is uttered. Leone continues the theme of the old west as an environment of "every man for himself" as the characters are constantly backstabbing and lying to each other, even "the good" is an immoral con man who betrays his partner as soon as it is convenient (but I guess "The bad, the bad and the bad" didn't have the same ring to it!) All of this is set to a backdrop of the American Civil war which is treated in a way that has far more in common with Apocalypse Now than John Ford. The scene in which a drunken Union captain prays for the destruction of a vital bridge to end the carnage is particularly memorable. But it is Eli Wallach's Tuco that virtually steals the film out from under Clint; his immoral and cowardly double crosser brings a lot of humour to the film and was surely a big influence on Johnny Depp whilst creating the character of Captain Jack. My one gripe is that the second act is rather weaker than the opening and conclusion, which is particularly apparent when Morricone's otherwise excellent score descends into conspicuous sappiness. Despite this, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is a clear contender for the best western ever made.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Quotes
|Tuco the Ugly:||If you work for a living, why do you kill yourself working?|
|Tuco the Ugly:||How much?|
|Tuco the Ugly:||There are two kinds of spurs, my friend. Those that come in by the door; those that come in by the window.|
|Tuco the Ugly:||If you save your breath I feel a man like you can manage it. And if you don't manage it, you'll die. Only slowly, very slowly old friend.|
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