The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo) is a 1966 "spaghetti western" film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood (Blondie, the Man with No Name or The Good ), Lee Van Cleef ("Angel Eyes" Sentenza or the Bad), and Eli Wallach (Tuco Benedito Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez or The Ugly). The film is set in 1862 New Mexico (USA) during the New Mexico campaign of General Henry Hopkins Sibley, an officer of the army of the Confederate States of America (CSA), in the American Civil War. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly tells of three men seeking a fortune in buried gold. It is particularly known for its sparse but haunting soundtrack, created by Ennio Morricone, and for the climactic showdown in a graveyard between the three principal characters. Many people claim the film to be allegorical in nature, with the three characters representing Christ, Satan, and Humanity, though Leone never indicated that his film was to be taken in anything but the literal sense. The film was shot in Techniscope by the award-winning cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli. The film is frequently in the Top 10 of the IMDb Top 250 List of movies, which is based on user rating.

The film contains many of Leone trademarks, such as the sparse dialogue, long scenes that slowly build to a climax (for this film, in the form of a Mexican standoff) and contrasts between sweeping long camera shots and extremely tight closeups on eyes and fingers. The first ten minutes of the film have no dialogue.

The film is part of a loose trilogy with Leone's earlier films A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. Eastwood stars in all three, with the same clothing and mannerisms, so the role is popularly dubbed "The Man With No Name." In lieu of a "name," the character is addressed by three different monikers: "Joe," by one character in the first movie; "Manco," only once in the second movie; and "Blondie," regularly in the third. These monikers have led some people to state that the "Man With No Name" was in fact named, but all three of these names served merely as placeholders and nicknames. "Joe" is used in a similar fashion to "Mack," as a way to address a stranger; "Manco" in Spanish is a term used to refer to a man with an amputated arm, and Eastwood's character constantly hides his right hand beneath his serape; "Blondie" is not only Tuco Ramirez's nickname for his light-haired partner, but is also a Mexican slur for Americans.

Many see The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as a prequel to the earlier two movies—as Eastwood's character acquires his trademark clothes—most notably, the poncho—in the latter half of the movie. However, there is no solid continuity between the movies to deduce an absolute link or order.

The film was mostly filmed in Spain using 1,500 local militia members as extras for a cost of $1,600,000. It was released on December 23, 1966 in Italy and in the United States on December 29, 1967.

Since the film's release, "the good, the bad, and the ugly" has become a common phrase (helped in part by Robert F. Kennedy's use of the phrase in campaign speeches). The Italian title translates as "The Good, the Ugly, the Bad."

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

In the Southwest during the Civil War, a mysterious stranger, Joe (Clint Eastwood), and a Mexican outlaw, Tuco (Eli Wallach), form an uneasy partnership. Joe turns in the bandit for the reward money, then rescues him just as he is being hanged. When Joe's shot at the noose goes awry during one escapade, a furious Tuco tries to have him murdered. The men re-team abruptly, however, to beat out a sadistic criminal (Lee Van Cleef) and the Union army and find $20,000 that a soldier has buried in the desert.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

The story traces how three men gain (Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef), often at the expense of others, information about the location of a buried treasure of gold, and then uncover that treasure. The first character introduced in the movie is "Tuco" ("The Ugly") who escapes three bounty hunters {killing two and wounding the third}; next is Angel Eyes ("The Bad"). We find him actively obtaining information about a missing gold shipment from a man, whom he immediately kills and after collecting his fee sadistically  shoots his ex-employer. Next, we are introduced to the duo, Tuco and "Blondie" ("the Good"), defrauding the local authorities by turning in Tuco for the reward money, and then, during his hanging, shooting the rope from Tuco's neck. Everytime Tuco escapes {15 times} the reward for him gets higher!

After the reward goes to $3,000.00 "Blondie" grows tired of his relationship with Tuco, and leaves Tuco in the desert. When Tuco returns from the desert, he finds and catches up with "Blondie," and takes "Blondie" to the desert for equal punishment. However, before Tuco could complete his punishment, a runaway stagecoach full of dead and dying Confederate soldiers happens through the desert. Bill Carson, the man with knowledge of the whereabouts of the gold, dying from thirst, persuades Tuco to get him a drink by disclosing the name of the graveyard where the gold is located. As Tuco goes for the water, Carson dies, but not before spilling the grave's name to "Blondie."

Now, Tuco and "Blondie" need each other, since each has a different piece of the gold's location. Tuco takes "Blondie," near death, to his brother, a priest, where "Blondie" recovers. When they leave the priest's mission, they dress in the clothing of the dead soldiers, trying to fool Confederate soldiers. However, the plan backfires and they are captured by Union soldiers, who take them to a Union prison camp. Angel Eyes happens to be running the Union prison camp. Angel Eyes tortures Tuco for the information about the gold's location, but takes "Blondie" to find the gold. Tuco escapes from the camp and the three eventually meet in the graveyard for the legendary three-way showdown. Having previously unloaded Tuco's pistol (unbeknown to Tuco, of course), "Blondie" wins the showdown by killing Angel Eyes. "Blondie" splits the money with Tuco, leaving Tuco tied in a noose while he rides away. In a dramatic end to the movie, "Blondie" turns around to shoot the rope above Tuco's head. In a parrarell to the beginning Tuco falls into his share of the gold; Angel Eyes is lying dead in a grave and Blondie rides off to parts unknown. Tuco is left with his hands tyed behind him; a noose around his neck; his share of the gold; an empty gun and before trying to find his horse-screams a curse at Blondie that "the Good" is a dirty son of a gun.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Supporting cast[edit | edit source]


Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • In Italian, Eastwood's character is sometimes called "Biondo senza nome", which simply means, "The Blonde Man with No Name". Angel Eyes in the original Italian is "Sentenza" ("Verdict"). The Italian poster for this version has Lee Van Cleef dressed as his previous character "Colonel Mortimer" in the movie For a Few Dollars More.
  • Because the Italian title translates literally as The Good, the Ugly, the Bad, reversing the last two terms, ads for the original Italian release show Tuco before Angel Eyes, and when they were translated into English Angel Eyes was erroneously labelled "The Ugly" and Tuco "The Bad".
  • The Cartoon Samurai Jack episode "Couple on a Train" introduces "The Good, The Bad and the Beautiful"; it spoofs this movie with Samurai Jack as the "Good" while a pair of man and ex-wife bounty Hunters are the "Bad" and the "Beautiful" [They aren't killed but end up tied up upside down] while "Tuco" has a cameo as a Saloon owner. Quickdraw McGraw and Pedro make a cameo as train passengers.

Reception[edit | edit source]

Critical response[edit | edit source]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly holds an approval rating of 97% based on 74 reviews, with an average rating of 8.79/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Arguably the greatest of the spaghetti westerns, this epic features a compelling story, memorable performances, breathtaking landscapes, and a haunting score." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 90 out of 100 based on 7 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim."

Roger Ebert, who later included the film in his list of Great Movies, retrospectively noted that in his original review he had "described a four-star movie, but only gave it three stars, perhaps because it was a 'Spaghetti Western' and so could not be art."

External links[edit | edit source]

Wikiquote-logo.png
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations from or about:
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.