This is not your typical cowboy, shoot-'em-up type film. There is plenty of emotion and thought involved in this Sergio Leone (Once Upon a Time in America, A Fistful of Dollars) film. It truly is his coming-of-age as a director and reminds us how tragic it was that he died at such an early age (60).
Blondie (Clint Eastwood) – aka as The Good – is a gun for hire who is always looking to make some cash. Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef – The Magnificent Seven Ride, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence) – aka as The Bad – is a killer for hire who, as long as he is paid, will always deliver a body. Tuco (Eli Wallach – The Godfather: Part III, Nuts) – aka as The Ugly – is a wanted man who is desperate not to be captured. Blondie and Tuco find a way to make money off of the bounty on Tuco's head.
It all goes bad when Blondie decides to dissolve the partnership and Tuco hunts down Blondie. In the meantime they come across a horse carriage with only one survivor, Bill Carson (Antonio Casale – Duck, You Sucker). Bill reveals that he and several other men buried some gold in a cemetery. He dies and has revealed the cemetery name to Tuco and the grave stone to Blondie. Now they have to work together again in order to find the gold. Angel Eyes has been following Bill and now decides to follow Blondie and Tuco in the hopes of them leading him to the gold.
Many argue that this was the best spaghetti western (Italian-American Western) of all time. That could argued about adnauseum, but whatever side of that particular fence you come out on we would all agree that this is a classic. It did elevate the whole genre and many have tried to imitate its look and feel. Not many have been successful, however.
Every aspect of the film is perfect from the casting of Eli Wallach and Clint Eastwood to the music by composer Morricone that lends plenty of atmosphere to the story which is riveting. It is almost like watching an opera. There is humour, grit, sadness, and violence within it. The film is long (clocking in at over 2 ½ hours), but you are never bored. Even if you are not a fan of Westerns I recommend you checking this one out.
-The Leone Style
-The Man Who Lost the Civil War
-Reconstructing The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
-Il Maestro: Ennico Morricone