The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

R   |    |  Western


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) Poster

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

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8.9/10
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  • Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  • Eli Wallach in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  • Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  • Clint Eastwood and Richard Alagich in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  • Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

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Reviews & Commentary

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16 April 2001 | MadReviewer
10
| Brutal, brilliant, and one of the best Westerns ever made
A sprawling Western epic that follows the adventures of three gunfighters looking for $200,000 in stolen gold, Sergio Leone's `The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly' is a masterpiece, one that continues to get better and better with each viewing. In a way, it's a morality play, weighing the consequences of good and evil, but it does so in a realistic manner. Sometimes, crime does pay, at least in the short term, and sometimes good does go unrewarded. This film probably signaled the death knell of the traditional John Wayne `White Hat/Black Hat' Western.

The three main characters make the film. Lee Van Cleef (`The Bad') is evil personified. Totally ruthless, he'll do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Clint Eastwood (`The Good') is the Man With No Name, not really `good' in a traditional sense . . . but he has a certain sense of honor and tries to do the right thing. (Watch the scene when he gives a dying Confederate soldier a puff of his cigar - powerful, and it sums up everything that the Man With No Name is all about, without saying a single word.) Eli Wallach (`The Ugly') is Tuco, and he's easily the most complex - if not the best - character in the film. All impulse and rage, Tuco spins wildly throughout the movie, stealing, lying, pretending to be Clint Eastwood's best friend in one scene, trying to kill him in another - Tuco truly represents `the ugly' side of people.

The movie is long, but there's not a wasted scene in the film. Each one slowly lets the film unfold with a certain style and grace, revealing more about each character and what's going on. The pacing is incredible, as is the direction - Sergio Leone manages to build a lot of uncomfortable tension in the film, keeping the film from ever getting predictable. Any typical Western cliché that you can possibly think of is either given a unique twist or utterly destroyed by Leone's masterful storytelling. Of special mention is Ennio Morricone's score, which is absolutely perfect. Two scenes - one in a Union prison camp, one in the climatic gunfight in the cemetery at the end of the film - are amazing on their own, but they become absolutely astonishing with combined with Morricone's powerful score.

This movie is absolutely brilliant. If you haven't seen it yet, I strongly urge to do so. Immediately. (And then, go watch `Unforgiven' . . . in a way, I think that `Unforgiven' is the sequel to `The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - it's the story of what eventually happened to the Man With No Name.) `The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly' is easily one of the best Westerns ever made. A++

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ennio Morricone's soundtrack album stayed in the charts for over a year, his most commercially successful film score.


Quotes

Stevens: You're... from Baker?
Stevens: Tell Baker that I told him all that I know already and I want to live in peace, understand? That it's no use to go on tormenting me! I know nothing at all about that case of coins.
Stevens: Now that gold has disappeared, but if he'd ...


Goofs

When Tuco and Blondie are under the bridge in waist-deep water strapping dynamite to the supports, a car passes from right to left where the poles form a V to the right of Blondie's hat just after Tuco says "You go first."(widescreen edition)


Alternate Versions

The versions of this film can be summarized as follows:

  • The full Italian version runs about 174m.
  • The "International Export"/ Original U.S. theatrical version supervised by Leone runs 161m - this is the version available on VHS, laserdisc and DVD in the UK and USA. The other 14m were never dubbed into English - these additional sequences appear as extras on both the UK and USA DVD releases and the last laserdisc release.
  • In the UK the theatrical release was cut by the BBFC and ran to a similar run time of 161m due to distributor cuts and censorship cuts - the main distributor cut was the removal of the entire scene with Eli Wallach in the gun shop; the censors hacked about 2m out of the scene when Wallach is tortured by Mario Brega in the prison. It is believed the 1986 UK VHS contains this BBFC cut since later videos from 1999 are slightly longer (c. 1 minute). UK videos and DVDs released from 1999 are uncut and run 161m (156m PAL running time). Various other scenes may have been filmed but excised by Leone before release. One of the laserdisc releases contains a still on the inside cover of Eastwood in bed with a woman that has never appeared in any version of the film.


Soundtracks

The Ecstasy of Gold
Written by
Ennio Morricone

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