The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

"Two hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money. We're gonna have to earn it."   - Blondie

release year: 1966
genre: western
viewing setting: home Bluray 3/13/15 and home DVD, 10/17/09 nd 11/8/06 and 1/7/02

synopsis: Three deadly but different individuals pursue a fortune in stolen gold.

impressions: This is the ultimate spaghetti western (and maybe the ultimate western, period.) It's got all of the Sergio Leone trademarks: close-ups, long musical preludes to gunfights, the gunfights themselves, treachery, revenge, money to be earned, and the backdrop of the old west. This is the third and best of the trilogy, and is largely driven by the trio of main characters. All of them want the same thing, and are perfectly capable of blasting their way through various people, if need be, to get it. The challenge (and good dialogue) comes when they must deal with each other. There's also some thought given to the senselessness and tregedy of the American Civil War in the 1860s, and how some people used it for their own personal gain.

things to watch for: Three-way gunfight at the end.

acting: This movie belongs to the three leads: Clint Eastwood as the "good" guy, Lee Van Cleef as the ruthless killer, and Eli Wallach as the wisecracking, backstabbing bandit. These characters make the movie the classic that it is.

body count caused by three leads: 20. Clint came out ahead with 11 verified shooting kills, with Eli Wallach's Tuco in second place with 6 kills and, surprisingly, Lee Van Cleef's assassin Angel Eyes only shot 3 people.

final word: Essential western viewing.

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