The Treasure of the Sierra Madre


The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Critics Consensus

Remade but never duplicated, this darkly humorous morality tale represents John Huston at his finest.



Total Count: 46


Audience Score

User Ratings: 26,055
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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Photos

Movie Info

John Huston's 1948 treasure-hunt classic begins as drifter Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart), down and out in Tampico, Mexico, impulsively spends his last bit of dough on a lottery ticket. Later on, Dobbs and fellow indigent Curtin (Tim Holt) seek shelter in a cheap flophouse and meet Howard (Walter Huston), a toothless, garrulous old coot who regales them with stories about prospecting for gold. Forcibly collecting their pay from their shifty boss, Dobbs and Curtin combine this money with Dobbs's unexpected windfall from a lottery ticket and, together with Howard, buy the tools for a prospecting expedition. Dobbs has pledged that anything they dig up will be split three ways, but Howard, who's heard that song before, doesn't quite swallow this. As the gold is mined and measured, Dobbs grows increasingly paranoid and distrustful, and the men gradually turn against each other on the way toward a bitterly ironic conclusion. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a superior morality play and one of the best movie treatments of the corrosiveness of greed. Huston keeps a typically light and entertaining touch despite the strong theme, for which he won Oscars for both Director and Screenplay, as well as a supporting award for his father Walter, making Walter, John, and Anjelica Huston the only three generations of one family all to win Oscars. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Humphrey Bogart
as Fred C. Dobbs
Tim Holt
as Curtin
Barton MacLane
as McCormick
Manuel Donde
as El Jefe
Jacqueline Dalya
as Flashy Girl
Robert Blake
as Mexican Boy
Spencer Chan
as Proprietor
John Huston
as White Suit
Harry J. Vejar
as Bartender
Pat Flaherty
as Customer
Clifton Young
as Flophouse Man
Ralph Dunn
as Flophouse Man
Jack Holt
as Flophouse Man
Guillermo Calleo
as Mexican Storekeeper
Ann Sheridan
as Streetwalker
Martin Garralaga
as Railroad Conductor
Ignacio Villabajo
as Mexican Bandit
Roberto Canedo
as Mexican Lieutenant
Ernesto Escoto
as Mexican Bandit
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Critic Reviews for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (46)

Audience Reviews for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

  • Mar 23, 2018
    Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, and Tim Holt are three guys who are down on their luck and turn to prospecting for gold in a rugged part of Mexico known for its bandits. You can practically feel the heat and sweat through the screen, and Bogart's face is covered in grime for most of the movie. He turns in a brilliant performance, and it's right from the beginning, when he splashes water in a kid's face for harassing him about buying a lottery ticket. Walter Huston, directed by his son John, is fantastic as well, as the experienced old man who can scale hills like a goat, and who knows human nature after having seen men around gold over his lifetime. Bogart and Holt's characters seem so reasonable, but his words at the beginning are an omen. The way John Huston tells the story, though, is far from simple. Bogart's evolution through the film is intense and yet nuanced. It could easily have become a caricature, but didn't. I had a few small criticisms, though they didn't stop me from enjoying the film. It seemed to me that the gunfight scenes fell into old clichés, and the music was too intrusive at times. Also, the scene of the white man reviving the native boy, much to a crowd's appreciation as if he were a savior, seems like an overdone Caucasian fantasy to me. On the other hand, the tight shots on the natives, as well as the frequent use of untranslated Spanish throughout the film, were fantastic. I also loved how it was shot on location in Mexico, as that really translated in the cinematic experience. The dialogue throughout the film is great, and it's of course famous for its line from the leader of the bandits (Alfonso Bedoya), who says "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!" I really enjoyed some rather stark events that were rather shocking, but what really made the film for me was its commentary on humanity. We see the inevitability of fighting over wealth play out in several ways. We see greed become so strong that paranoia grows like a cancer in the soul. And we see the enlightened reaction to it all, borne from having become wise with age, and that is, to understand your fellow man and laugh at life's misfortunes.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 10, 2016
    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a brilliant film for many reasons. It's a beautifully looking film shot on location in Mexico, a true testament to the greatness that was Humphrey Bogart, and most of all, it's an unsettling tale of what greed can do to your soul. Out of all the characters in the movie, there are only a few that appear to have good intentions. But even those people, are fueled by greed or rage at some point or another. All of them go through fascinating journeys of either self-discovery or self-betrayal. Although it's a film that takes its time with its characters and story, there isn't a moment where I felt the film's pace needed to be picked up. That was just simply the way films were told back in the 40's. You're always in it for the long haul with these characters, even when there doesn't seem to be much left to the main character's souls. If I had to go through Bogart's career of award worthy performances (surprisingly, he was only nominated 3 times), his turn as Dobbs may be my favorite performance of his, and yes that includes The African Queen. There's something to be said about him moving away from his usual gloomy and somber characters to one that completely jumps off the rails. But it fits in with the increasingly unhinged tone of the film, so Bogart would get my vote. He, along with John Huston's directing are why this is one of the most interesting pieces of cinema from the 40's. It's one of the rare films with mostly unlikable characters that actually works. That deserves some props. 8.5/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Jun 29, 2014
    Walter Huston steals the scene and deserved the Oscar he won, but Bogart was unfairly not even nominated for his phenomenal performance in this classic that is all at once a light adventure, a riveting character study and a powerful morality tale about greed and paranoia.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • May 13, 2014
    Another Bogart classic as he tries to outwit fellow desperate fellows in a bid to find treasure in Mexico. It is a classic tale of green and broken friendships but told in a very delightful way.
    John B Super Reviewer

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