A pair of guys who are down on their luck are presented with the opportunity to strike it rich looking for gold with a crazy old man. So they go out seeking their fortune and with a little time and a lot of hard labor they are able to find the riches they seek. The only problem is they have to work together and trust one another, and greed has a strangely powerful ability to corrupt a man's mind. Of the movies I've seen I think this might be the finest performance I have ever seen from Humphrey Bogart. The way he portrays such a lovable rogue at the beginning, and then the slow descent into madness is played so remarkably well. In less capable hands I think you could look at the Dobbs from the beginning of the film and the one at the end as 2 completely different characters, but Bogart excels at showing the gradual slide in such a way that you almost feel pity for him later in the movie. The whole story in this movie takes some time to get going, there is a lot of character development stuff at the beginning that establishes the kind of guys they are so it can feel like things are dragging. But once the gold enters the equation the story is excellent. Some credit also has to go to the hair, makeup, and costume departments. Bogart's outward appearance seems to perfectly match the inward decline of his sanity, to the point where he almost looks like a wild animal by the end.
I could see some people having issues with this movie. It's not the Bogie they might be expecting. He's supposed to be the hero in movies, but that falls apart here. But thankfully they do give you someone to root for in Tim Holt. His portrayal of Curtin has an edge to it, but you are given a moment where you come to find that he's going to be honorable. Of course that doesn't mean everything will turn out perfectly for him, but I've already spoiled enough of the movie, so I won't go into that. This movie is also very quotable, including the famous "badges" line that has been imitated more times than can be counted. That very encounter with the banditos is a unique one as well. I find it a strange contrast that they are so afraid for their lives and yet the ones they consider a threat are smiling happily at them. It seems like every scene in Treasure of the Sierra Madre is perfectly scripted. I am constantly impressed with how excellent writing was back then. They could say so much with only a few sentences, and get away with some innuendo without having to resort to coarse language. This is a good movie with some truly amazing performances that elevate the film to another level. I give it my highest recommendation to all who are interested that haven't seen it.