The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

1966

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Critics Consensus

Arguably the greatest of the spaghetti westerns, this epic features a compelling story, memorable performances, breathtaking landscapes, and a haunting score.

97%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 68

97%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 239,369
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Movie Info

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

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Cast

Clint Eastwood
as Man With No Name
Lee Van Cleef
as Angel Eyes
Luigi Pistilli
as Father Pablo
Aldo Giuffre
as Alcoholic Union Captain
Mario Brega
as Cpl. Wallace
Claudio Scarchilli
as Mexican Peon
Enzo Petito
as Storekeeper
Antonio Casale
as Jackson / Bill Carson
Sandro Scarchilli
as Mexican Peon
Benito Stefanelli
as Member of Angel Eyes' Gang
John Bartha
as Sheriff
Chelo Alonso
as Stevens' Wife (uncredited)
Aldo Sambrell
as Member of Angel Eyes' Gang
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Critic Reviews for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

All Critics (68) | Top Critics (15)

  • 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.

    Aug 11, 2008 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • It still looks a treat and a bold and largely successful attempt to recast the traditions of the genre in a new, sometimes critical, almost operatic way.

    Aug 1, 2008 | Rating: 4/5
  • The new length gives a clearer view of the civil war context: a nightmare of panic as the south flees before the Union's advance.

    Aug 1, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Re-released movies are forever claiming to be iconic, but few can hold the title as easily as Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

    Aug 1, 2008 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Jul 22, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Though ordained from the beginning, the three-way showdown that climaxes the film is tense and thoroughly astonishing.

    Mar 28, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

  • Nov 16, 2017
    The cliché western. I emphasize the. This movie has a bombastic score, bloated imagery and an oppressive cinematography, and I can't get enough of all of it. This movie is like that guilty pleasure of eating a shameful portion of your favorite snack food. Everything about this movie is dripping with the best parts of an unbelievable action western. The performances are strong. This is a great comfort space for Clint Eastwood; the cards close to his chest bad-ass. Eli Wallach is the real star here, playing a difficult character alongside a master in the genre. He plays a goofy chatterbox, but he never relents his menacing edge, and makes for a formidable foil. The long pan shots across the harsh open west are masterful. The score is overbearing at every turn, which fits this movie perfectly. I think one thing that Sergio Leone was particularly good at is creating a series of self-contained scenes that live and breathe on their own terms. This helps mitigate the indulgent length of the movie. Most of the movie is a play on tense moments and extremely drawn out close-ups and build-up. The famous stand-off at the end pushes this into the absurd. This movie should not work, most imitators fail to hit this formula correctly, but The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is the gold standard for epic, operatic westerns. If you need any other reason to watch this, you can also see where Quentin Tarantino gets some of his inspiration.
    Shane S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 02, 2016
    Not much needs to be said here. The best western ever made. Its mesmerizing score and epic plot combine to leave any fan of movies in awe.
    Peter B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 12, 2016
    Classic in every sense of the word, this should've been the swan sung for the western genre. The film has the strength to carry the weight of the duration, it has that epic scope missing from most modern films. Eastwood is expertly cast in the role I suspect he created, the tough man with no name. The roles identified at the beginning of this film for each character is deserving and that film score is just amazing. They really should make more films like this and remember a slow burning story is just as captivating as a three hour visual blockbuster. One of a kind filmmaking and one every future or current director should watch and study carefully.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jul 26, 2014
    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.
    Jim H Super Reviewer

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