The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
(Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo)
Good the bad and the ugly poster.jpg
U.S. theatrical release poster
Directed by Sergio Leone
Produced by Alberto Grimaldi
Screenplay by Age & Scarpelli
Sergio Leone
Luciano Vincenzoni
Sergio Donati (uncredited)
Mickey Knox (English version)
Story by Sergio Leone
Luciano Vincenzoni
Starring Clint Eastwood
Lee Van Cleef
Eli Wallach
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Tonino Delli Colli
Edited by Eugenio Alabiso
Nino Baragli
Production
  company
Produzioni Europee Associati (PEA)
Arturo González Producciones
Constantin Film
Distributed by PEA (Italy)
United Artists (United States & United Kingdom, original)
Release date(s)
  • 15 December 1966 (1966-12-15) (Italy)
Running time 177 minutes
Country Italy
West Germany
Spain
Language Italian
English
Budget $1.2 million[1]
Box office $25,100,000[2] (domestic)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Italian title: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo) is a 1966 Italian Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach in the title roles respectively.[3] The screenplay was written by Age & Scarpelli, Luciano Vincenzoni and Leone (with additional screenplay material provided by an uncredited Sergio Donati[4]), based on a story by Vincenzoni and Leone. Director of photography Tonino Delli Colli was responsible for the film's sweeping widescreen cinematography and Ennio Morricone composed the famous film score, including its main theme. It is the third film in the Dollars Trilogy following A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965). The plot revolves around three gunslingers competing to find a fortune in buried Confederate gold amid the violent chaos of gunfights, hangings, American Civil War battles and prison camps.[5] The film was a co-production among companies in Italy, Spain and West Germany.

Plot[edit]

In a desolate Western ghost town during the American Civil War, Mexican bandit Tuco Ramirez ("The Ugly") narrowly escapes three bounty hunters, killing two and wounding a third, Elam. Miles away, Angel Eyes ("The Bad") interrogates former Confederate soldier Stevens about Jackson, a fugitive now calling himself "Bill Carson", who has information about a cache of Confederate gold. The interrogation concludes with Angel Eyes killing Stevens and his eldest son. He soon collects his fee from his employer, another Confederate soldier named Baker, and then sadistically kills him as well.

Tuco is rescued from three more bounty hunters by "Blondie" ("The Good"). However, Blondie delivers him for the $2,000 reward. As Tuco is about to be hanged, Blondie surprises the authorities and frees Tuco at gunpoint. The two escape and split the reward money, beginning a partnership and lucrative money-making scheme. Eventually Blondie, weary of Tuco's complaints about profit share, abandons him penniless in the desert. Tuco survives and tracks Blondie to a hotel in a town being abandoned by Confederate troops. Tuco tries to force Blondie to hang himself, but when Union shells destroy the hotel, Blondie escapes.

Eventually Tuco captures Blondie and directs him on a sadistic forced march across the harsh, blistering desert. As Blondie collapses from dehydration and Tuco is about to shoot him, he is interrupted by the sight of a runaway carriage. Tuco halts the carriage and finds Bill Carson, close to death, babbling about $200,000 of stolen Confederate gold buried in a grave in Sad Hill Cemetery. When Carson passes out, Tuco returns with water, only to find Carson dead and Blondie slumped next to him. Before passing out, Blondie says he now knows the name on the grave where the gold is buried.

Aware that they each need the other to recover the loot, the men disguise themselves as Confederate soldiers and retire to an old Spanish frontier mission whose head priest is Tuco's estranged brother. After Blondie recovers from his ordeal, the two leave in their Confederate uniforms but are captured by a force of Union soldiers and remanded to a prison camp. At roll call, Tuco answers for "Bill Carson", drawing the attention of Angel Eyes, who has disguised himself as a Union sergeant at the camp. Angel Eyes has Tuco tortured by his henchman, Corporal Wallace, to reveal the location of the gold. Tuco reveals the name of the cemetery, but insists that only Blondie knows the name on the grave. Aware that Blondie will not yield so easily, Angel Eyes offers him an equal share of the gold in exchange for his information. Blondie agrees and rides out with Angel Eyes and his gang. Tuco, now a prisoner aboard a Union train, escapes Wallace's custody.

Blondie, Angel Eyes, and his henchmen arrive in an evacuated town. Tuco, having fled to the same town, takes a bath in a ramshackle hotel and is surprised by Elam. He dispatches the bounty hunter easily but attracts the attention of Blondie. After informing him of Angel Eyes's plans, Blondie renews his old partnership with Tuco. They kill Angel Eyes's men but discover that Angel Eyes has escaped.

Tuco and Blondie make for the cemetery which is held by Confederate troops against the advancing Union troops. Blondie suggests destroying the bridge to disperse the two armies to allow them access to the cemetery. As he and Tuco rig the bridge with dynamite, Tuco reveals the name of the cemetery, while Blondie reveals the name on the grave as "Arch Stanton." After the explosion and resulting confusion, Tuco steals a horse and rides ahead to claim the gold for himself.

After a long search in an enormous cemetery, he locates Arch Stanton's grave and begins digging. Blondie arrives and encourages him at gunpoint to continue. A moment later, Angel Eyes surprises them both, also at gunpoint. Blondie kicks open Stanton's grave, revealing just a skeleton. Declaring that only he knows the real name of the grave, Blondie scribbles it on a rock while challenging his adversaries to a three-way duel.

The three stare each other down in the circular center of the cemetery. Angel Eyes makes a move, and Blondie beats him to the draw, killing him. Tuco discovers that his own gun was unloaded by Blondie the night before. Blondie now directs Tuco to a grave marked "Unknown," revealing that Carson told him to find the one near that of Arch Stanton. He orders Tuco to dig. Tuco finds bags of gold inside and is at first overjoyed, but then looks up to find a hangman's noose prepared for him. Blondie forces Tuco atop an unsteady grave marker and tightens the noose around his neck, then carries off his half of the gold and rides away. As Tuco screams his name in fury, Blondie's silhouette returns on the horizon, aiming a rifle. With a single gunshot, Blondie severs the rope, dropping Tuco face-first onto his share of the gold. Blondie smiles and rides off as Tuco curses him in rage.

Cast[edit]

The trio[edit]

  • Clint Eastwood as "Blondie" (a.k.a. the Man with No Name): The Good, a subdued, cocksure bounty hunter who teams with Tuco, and Angel Eyes temporarily, to find the buried gold. Blondie and Tuco have an ambivalent partnership. Tuco knows the name of the cemetery where the gold is hidden, but Blondie knows the name of the grave where it is buried, forcing them to work together to find the treasure. In spite of this greedy quest, Blondie's pity for the dying soldiers in the chaotic carnage of the War is evident. "I've never seen so many men wasted so badly," he remarks.
Rawhide had ended its run as a series in 1966, and at that point neither A Fistful of Dollars nor For a Few Dollars More had been released in the United States. When Leone offered Clint Eastwood a role in his next movie, it was the only big film offer he had; however, Eastwood still needed to be convinced to do it. Leone and his wife traveled to California to persuade him. Two days later, he agreed to make the film upon being paid $250,000[6] and getting 10% of the profits from the North American markets—a deal with which Leone was not happy.
In the original Italian script for the film, he is named "Joe" (his nickname in A Fistful of Dollars), but is referred to as Blondie in the Italian and English dialogue.[4]
  • Lee Van Cleef as Angel Eyes: The Bad, a ruthless, unfeeling, and sociopathic mercenary who always finishes a job he's paid for (which is usually finding—and killing—people). When Blondie and Tuco are captured while posing as Confederate soldiers, Angel Eyes is the Union sergeant who interrogates and has Tuco tortured, eventually learning the name of the cemetery where the gold is buried, but not the name on the tombstone. Angel Eyes forms a fleeting partnership with Blondie, but Tuco and Blondie turn on Angel Eyes when they get their chance.
Originally, Leone wanted Charles Bronson to play Angel Eyes but he was already committed to playing in The Dirty Dozen (1967). Leone thought about working with Lee Van Cleef again: "I said to myself that Van Cleef had first played a romantic character in For a Few Dollars More. The idea of getting him to play a character who was the opposite of that began to appeal to me."[7]
In the original working script, Angel Eyes was named "Banjo", but is referred to as "Sentenza" (meaning "Sentence" or "Judgement") in the Italian version. Clint Eastwood came up with the name Angel Eyes on the set, for his gaunt appearance and expert marksmanship.[4]
  • Eli Wallach as Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez (known as "The Rat" according to Blondie): The Ugly, a comical, oafish (though proven also very dangerous as seen throughout the film), fast-talking Mexican bandit who is wanted by the authorities for a long list of crimes. Tuco manages to discover the name of the cemetery where the gold is buried, but he does not know the name of the grave—only Blondie does. This state of affairs forces Tuco to become reluctant partners with Blondie.
The director originally considered Gian Maria Volonté for the role of Tuco, but felt that the role required someone with "natural comic talent". In the end, Leone chose Eli Wallach based on his role in How the West Was Won (1962), in particular, his performance in "The Railroads" scene.[7] In LA, Leone met Wallach, who was skeptical about playing this type of character again, but after Leone screened the opening credit sequence from For a Few Dollars More, Wallach said: "When do you want me?"[7] The two men got along famously, sharing the same bizarre sense of humor. Leone allowed Wallach to make changes to his character in terms of his outfit and recurring gestures. Both Eastwood and Van Cleef realized that the character of Tuco was close to Leone's heart, and the director and Wallach became good friends. They communicated in French, which Wallach spoke badly and Leone spoke well. Van Cleef observed, "Tuco is the only one of the trio the audience gets to know all about. We meet his brother and find out where he came from and why he became a bandit. But Clint's character and Angel's remain mysteries."[7]
In the theatrical trailer, Angel Eyes is referred to as The Ugly and Tuco, The Bad.[8] This is due to a translation error; the original Italian title translates literally to "The Good [one], the Beastly [one], the Bad [one]".

Supporting cast[edit]

  • Aldo Giuffrè as Captain Clinton. A drunken Union officer who befriends Tuco and Blondie. He feels that the bloody confrontation his men are involved in is a futile waste, and dreams of destroying the bridge—a wish carried out by Blondie and Tuco. Mortally wounded in the Battle of Branstone Bridge, he dies smiling just after hearing the bridge's destruction. (Giuffré was an Italian comedian who had become an actor.)
  • Mario Brega as Corporal Wallace. A thuggish prison guard who works for Angel Eyes and brutally tortures Tuco to get him to reveal the hidden location of the treasure. Angel Eyes turns Tuco over to Wallace so that he can turn Tuco in for the reward money. Tuco, however, kills Wallace and escapes. (A butcher turned actor, the imposing, heavyset Brega was a mainstay in Leone's films and Spaghetti Westerns in general.)
  • Luigi Pistilli as Father Pablo Ramírez. Tuco's brother, a Catholic friar. He holds Tuco in contempt for his choice of life as a bandit, but ultimately loves him. (Pistilli was a veteran of many Spaghetti Westerns, usually playing a villain as in Leone's For a Few Dollars More.)
  • Al Mulock as Elam, the one-armed bounty hunter. Wounded by Tuco in the early part of the film, he loses his right arm. He seeks revenge, only to be shot and killed by Tuco, leading him to proclaim the famous line: "When you have to shoot, shoot! Don't talk."
  • Antonio Casas as Stevens. Killed by Angel Eyes, who was paid to carry out the killing by Baker. (Casas was a Spanish footballer turned actor.)
  • Antonio Casale as Bill Carson/Jackson.
  • Sergio Mendizábal as blond bounty hunter. One of three bounty hunters killed by Blondie during an attempted arrest of Tuco.
  • John Bartha as Sheriff. Takes custody of Tuco. Hat shot off by Blondie.
  • Claudio Scarchilli as Pedro, a member of Tuco's gang. Killed by Blondie.
  • Sandro Scarchilli as Chico, a member of Tuco's gang. Killed by Blondie.
  • Antonio Molino Rojo as Captain Harper, the good captain at the Union prison camp who is slowly losing a leg to gangrene. Harper warns Angel Eyes not to be dishonest on his watch, but Angel Eyes holds him in contempt and deliberately ignores his orders. (Rojo usually played henchmen in Leone's films and other Spaghetti Westerns, but here he played a more sympathetic character.)
  • Benito Stefanelli as Angel Eyes gang member. Henchman killed by Tuco. (Stefanelli was Leone's stunt coordinator who frequently had bit parts in Spaghetti Westerns.)
  • Aldo Sambrell as Angel Eyes gang member. Henchman killed by Blondie. (Sambrell was a Spanish actor whose initially small parts in Spaghetti Westerns made him somewhat famous in his home country.)
  • Lorenzo Robledo as Clem, henchman sent to follow Blondie when he leaves Angel Eyes' hideout, after Tuco kills the bounty hunter. Blondie discovers him and shoots him in the stomach.
  • Enzo Petito as Mr. Milton, the guileless store keeper robbed by Tuco.
  • Livio Lorenzon as Baker, the Confederate soldier involved in the money scheme with Stevens and Carson. Killed by Angel Eyes, who was paid to carry out the killing by Stevens.
  • Rada Rassimov as María, a prostitute who is beaten by Angel Eyes for information about Bill Carson. (Rassimov was a Serbian-Italian actress for film and television who rose to prominence in the early 60's.)
  • Chelo Alonso as Stevens' wife. (An Cuban-born Italian star of the sword and sandal films in the 50s and early 60s, Alonso had worked with Leone on several of his films as an assistant director.)

Development[edit]

Pre-production[edit]

After the success of For a Few Dollars More, executives at United Artists approached the film's screenwriter, Luciano Vincenzoni, to sign a contract for the rights to the film and for the next one. He, producer Alberto Grimaldi and Sergio Leone had no plans, but with their blessing, Vincenzoni pitched an idea about "a film about three rogues who are looking for some treasure at the time of the American Civil War."[7] The studio agreed but wanted to know the cost for this next film. At the same time, Grimaldi was trying to broker his own deal but Vincenzoni's idea was more lucrative. The two men struck an agreement with UA for a million dollar budget with the studio advancing $500,000 up front and 50% of the box office takings outside of Italy. The total budget would eventually be $1.3 million.

Leone built upon the screenwriter's original concept to "show the absurdity of war...the Civil War which the characters encounter. In my frame of reference, it is useless, stupid: it does not involve a 'good cause.'"[7] An avid history buff, Leone said, "I had read somewhere that 120,000 people died in Southern camps such as Andersonville. I was not ignorant of the fact that there were camps in the North. You always get to hear about the shameful behavior of the losers, never the winners."[7] The Batterville Camp where Blondie and Tuco are imprisoned was based on steel engravings of Andersonville. Many shots in the film were influenced by archival photographs taken by Mathew Brady. As the film took place during the Civil War, it served as a prequel for the other two films in the trilogy, which took place after the war.[9]

While Leone developed Vincenzoni's idea into a script, the screenwriter recommended the comedy-writing team of Agenore Incrucci and Furio Scarpelli to work on it with Leone and Sergio Donati. According to Leone, "I couldn't use a single thing they'd written. It was the grossest deception of my life."[7] Donati agreed, saying, "There was next to nothing of them in the final script. They only wrote the first part. Just one line."[7] Vincenzoni claims that he wrote the screenplay in 11 days, but he soon left the project after his relationship with Leone soured. The three main characters all contain autobiographical elements of Leone. In an interview he said, "[Sentenza] has no spirit, he's a professional in the most banal sense of the term. Like a robot. This isn't the case with the other two. On the methodical and careful side of my character, I'd be nearer il Biondo (Blondie): but my most profound sympathy always goes towards the Tuco side...He can be touching with all that tenderness and all that wounded humanity."[7]

Eastwood received a percentage-based salary, unlike the first two films where he received a straight fee salary. When Lee Van Cleef was again cast for another Dollars film, he joked "the only reason they brought me back was because they forgot to kill me off in For A Few Dollars More."[9]

The film's working title was I due magnifici straccioni (The Two Magnificent Tramps). It was changed just before shooting began when Vincenzoni thought up Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (The Good, the Ugly, the Bad), which Leone loved. In the United States, United Artists considered using the original Italian translation, River of Dollars, or The Man With No Name, but decided on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.[8]

Production[edit]

Filming began at the Cinecittà studio in Rome again in mid-May 1966, including the opening scene between Clint and Wallach when The Man With No Name captures Tuco for the first time and sends him to jail.[10] The production then moved on to Spain's plateau region near Burgos in the north, which doubled for the southwestern United States, and again shot the western scenes in Almería in the south.[11] This time the production required more elaborate sets, including a town under cannon fire, an extensive prison camp and an American Civil War battlefield; and for the climax, several hundred Spanish soldiers were employed to build a cemetery with several thousand grave stones to resemble an ancient Roman circus.[11] For the scene where the bridge was blown up, it had to be filmed twice as in the first take all three cameras were destroyed by the explosion.[12] The Spanish government approved production and provided the army for technical assistance; the film's cast includes 1,500 local militia members as extras.[citation needed] Eastwood remembers, "They would care if you were doing a story about Spaniards and about Spain. Then they'd scrutinize you very tough, but the fact that you're doing a western that's supposed to be laid in southwest America or Mexico, they couldn't care less what your story or subject is."[7] Top Italian cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli was brought in to shoot the film and was prompted by Leone to pay more attention to light than in the previous two films; Ennio Morricone composed the score once again. Leone was instrumental in asking Morricone to compose a track for the final Mexican stand-off scene in the cemetery, asking him to compose what felt like "the corpses were laughing from inside their tombs", and asked Delli Colli to creating a hypnotic whirling effect interspersed with dramatic extreme close ups, to give the audience the impression of a visual ballet.[11] Filming concluded in July 1966.[6]

Eastwood was not initially pleased with the script and was concerned he might be upstaged by Wallach, and said to Leone, "In the first film I was alone. In the second, we were two. Here we are three. If it goes on this way, in the next one I will be starring with the American cavalry".[13] As Eastwood played hard-to-get in accepting the role (inflating his earnings up to $250,000, another Ferrari[14] and 10% of the profits in the United States when eventually released there), Eastwood was again encountering publicist disputes between Ruth Marsh, who urged him to accept the third film of the trilogy, and the William Morris Agency and Irving Leonard, who were unhappy with Marsh's influence on Clint.[13] Eastwood banished Marsh from having any further influence in his career and he was forced to sack her as his business manager via a letter sent by Frank Wells.[13] For some time after, Eastwood's publicity was handled by Jerry Pam of Gutman and Pam.[10]

Wallach and Eastwood flew to Madrid together and between shooting scenes, Eastwood would relax and practice his golf swing.[15] Wallach was almost poisoned during filming when he accidentally drank from a bottle of acid that a film technician had set next to his soda bottle. Wallach mentioned this in his autobiography[16] and complained that while Leone was a brilliant director, he was very lax about ensuring the safety of his actors during dangerous scenes.[7] For instance, in one scene, where he was to be hanged after a pistol was fired, the horse underneath him was supposed to bolt. While the rope around Wallach's neck was severed, the horse was frightened a little too well. It galloped for about a mile with Wallach still mounted and his hands bound behind his back.[7] The third time Wallach's life was threatened was during the scene where he and Mario Brega—who are chained together—jump out of a moving train. The jumping part went as planned, but Wallach's life was endangered when his character attempts to sever the chain binding him to the (now dead) henchman. Tuco places the body on the railroad tracks, waiting for the train to roll over the chain and sever it. Wallach, and presumably the entire film crew, were not aware of the heavy iron steps that jutted one foot out of every box car. If Wallach had stood up from his prone position at the wrong time, one of the jutting steps could have decapitated him.[7]

The bridge in the film was reconstructed twice by sappers of the Spanish army after being rigged for on-camera explosive demolition. The first time, an Italian camera operator signaled that he was ready to shoot, which was misconstrued by an army captain as the similar sounding Spanish word meaning "start". Luckily, nobody was injured in the erroneous mistiming. The army rebuilt the bridge while other shots were filmed. As the bridge was not a prop but a rather heavy and sturdy structure, powerful explosives were required to destroy it.[7] Leone has said that this scene was, in part, inspired by Buster Keaton's silent film, The General.

As an international cast was employed, actors performed in their native languages. Eastwood, Van Cleef and Wallach spoke English, and were dubbed into Italian for the debut release in Rome. For the American version, the lead acting voices were used, but supporting cast members were dubbed into English. The result is noticeable in the bad synchronization of voices to lip movements on screen; none of the dialogue is completely in sync because Leone rarely shot his scenes with synchronized sound. Various reasons have been cited for this: Leone often liked to play Morricone's music over a scene and possibly shout things at the actors to get them in the mood. Leone cared more for visuals than dialogue (his English was limited, at best). Given the technical limitations of the time, it would have been difficult to record the sound cleanly in most of the extremely wide shots Leone frequently used. Also, it was standard practice in Italian films at this time to shoot silently and post-dub. Whatever the actual reason, all dialogue in the film was recorded in post-production. The relationship between Eastwood and Leone had remained strained from their previous collaboration and it only worsened during the dubbing sessions for the US version because the actor was presented with a different script than the one they had shot with. He refused to read from this new version, insisting on using the shooting script instead.

Set of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly with the distinctive rugged terrain in the background

Leone was unable to find an actual cemetery for the Sad Hill shootout scene, so the Spanish pyrotechnics chief hired 250 Spanish soldiers to build one in Carazo near Salas de los Infantes, which they completed in two days (at 41°59′25″N 3°24′29″W / 41.99028°N 3.40806°W / 41.99028; -3.40806).[17]

By the end of filming, Eastwood had finally had enough of Leone's perfectionist directorial traits. Leone, often forcefully, insisted on shooting scenes from many different angles, paying attention to the most minute of details, which would often exhaust the actors.[15] Leone, a glutton, was also a source of amusement for his excesses, and Eastwood found a way to deal with the stresses of being directed by him by making jokes about him and nicknamed him "Yosemite Sam" for his bad temperament.[15] Eastwood was never directed by Leone again, later turning down the role as Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) in which Leone had personally flown to Los Angeles to give him the script for, which eventually went to Charles Bronson.[18] Years later, Leone exacted his revenge upon Clint during the filming of Once Upon a Time in America (1984) when he described Eastwood's abilities as an actor as being like a block of marble or wax and inferior to the acting abilities of Robert De Niro, saying, "Eastwood moves like a sleepwalker between explosions and hails of bullets, and he is always the same—a block of marble. Bobby first of all is an actor, Clint first of all is a star. Bobby suffers, Clint yawns."[19] Eastwood later gave his friend the poncho he wore in the three films, where it was hung in a Mexican restaurant in Carmel, California.[20]

Release[edit]

Opening on December 15, 1966 in Italy and in the United States on December 23, 1967, the film grossed $6.3 million.[21]

In the United States, A Fistful of Dollars was released January 10, 1967, 28 months after its initial Italian release;[22] For a Few Dollars More was released May 10, 1967, 17 months after its initial Italian release;[23] and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was released December 29, 1967, twelve months after its initial Italian release.[24][25] Thus all three of the Dollars Trilogy spaghetti western films directed by Sergio Leone were released in the same year in the United States.

The original Italian domestic version was 2 hours, 57 minutes long; but the international version was 2 hours, 41 minutes—16 minutes shorter.

Contemporaneous reception[edit]

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was criticized for its depiction of violence.[26] Leone explains that "the killings in my films are exaggerated because I wanted to make a tongue-in-cheek satire on run-of-the-mill westerns... The west was made by violent, uncomplicated men, and it is this strength and simplicity that I try to recapture in my pictures."[27] To this day, Leone's effort to reinvigorate the timeworn Western is widely acknowledged.[28]

Critical opinion of the film on initial release was mixed as many reviewers at that time looked down on Spaghetti Westerns. In a negative review in The New York Times, critic Renata Adler said that the film "must be the most expensive, pious and repellent movie in the history of its peculiar genre."[29] Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the "temptation is hereby proved irresistible to call The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, now playing citywide, The Bad, The Dull, and the Interminable, only because it is."[30] Roger Ebert, who later included the film in his list of Great Movies,[31] 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".[32] Ebert also points out Leone's unique perspective that enables the audience to be closer to the character as we see what he sees.

Sergio Leone established a rule that he follows throughout The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The rule is that the ability to see is limited by the sides of the frame. At important moments in the film, what the camera cannot see, the characters cannot see, and that gives Leone the freedom to surprise us with entrances that cannot be explained by the practical geography of his shots. There is a moment, for example, when men do not notice a vast encampment of the Union Army until they stumble upon it; a moment in a cemetery when a man materializes out of thin air even though he should have been visible much sooner; the way men walk down a street in full view and nobody is able to shoot them, (maybe because they are not in the same frame with them).[32]

Re-evaluation[edit]

Despite the original negative reception by some critics, today, the film has since accumulated very positive feedback. Some critics even consider it to be one of the best movies ever made, remaining as one of the most popular and well known westerns. It is in Time's "100 Greatest movies of the last century" as selected by critics Richard Corliss and Richard Schickel.[28] Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 97% percent of film critics gave the film positive reviews.[33][34][35] The Good, the Bad and the Ugly has been described as European cinema's best representation of the Western genre film,[36] and Quentin Tarantino has called it "the best-directed film of all time" and "the greatest achievement in the history of cinema."[37] This was reflected in his votes for the 2002 and 2012 Sight & Sound magazine polls, in which he voted for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as his choice for the best film ever made.[38]

Empire magazine added The Good, the Bad and the Ugly to their Masterpiece collection in the September 2007 issue, and in their poll of "The 500 Greatest Movies", The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was voted in at number 25. In 2014, The Good the Bad and the Ugly was ranked the 47th greatest film ever made on Empire's list of "The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time" as voted by the magazine's readers.[39]

Home media[edit]

The film was first released on DVD by MGM in 1998. The special features contain 14 minutes of scenes that were cut for the film's North American release, including a scene which explains how Angel Eyes came to be waiting for Blondie and Tuco at the Union prison camp.

In 2002, the film was restored with the 14 minutes of scenes cut for US release re-inserted into the film. Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach were brought back in to dub their characters' lines more than 35 years after the film's original release. Voice actor Simon Prescott substituted for Lee Van Cleef who had died in 1989. Other voice actors filled in for actors who had since died. In 2004, MGM released this version in a two-disc special edition DVD.

Disc 1 contains an audio commentary with writer and critic Richard Schickel. Disc 2 contains two documentaries, "Leone's West" and "The Man Who Lost The Civil War", followed by the featurette, "Restoring 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly'"; an animated gallery of missing sequences entitled, "The Socorro Sequence: A Reconstruction"; an extended Tuco torture scene; a featurette called "Il Maestro"; an audio featurette named, "Il Maestro, Part 2"; a French trailer; and a poster gallery.[40]

This DVD was generally well received, though some purists complained about the re-mixed stereo soundtrack with many completely new sound effects (notably, all the gunshots were replaced), with no option for the original soundtrack. At least one scene that was re-inserted had been cut by Leone prior to the film's release in Italy, but had been shown once at the Italian premiere. According to Richard Schickel,[40] Leone willingly cut the scene for pacing reasons; thus, restoring it was contrary to the director's wishes.[citation needed] The 1998 DVD with the original US version of the mono soundtrack is still available in stores, although the sound quality is vastly inferior to that on the restored DVD. (Unlike the original DVD releases of the other two "Dollars" films, the transfer is anamorphically enhanced for 16:9 televisions.)

MGM re-released the 2004 DVD edition in their "Sergio Leone Anthology" box set in 2007. Also included were the two other "Dollars" films, and A Fistful of Dynamite.

On May 12, 2009 the extended version of this movie was released on Blu-ray. It contains the same special features as the 2004 special edition DVD, except that it includes an added commentary by film historian Sir Christopher Frayling.

Deleted scenes[edit]

The following scenes were originally deleted by distributors from the British and American theatrical versions of the film, but were restored after the release of the 2004 Special Edition DVD.[40]

  • During his search for Bill Carson, Angel Eyes stumbles upon an embattled Confederate outpost after a massive artillery bombardment. Once there, after witnessing the wretched conditions of the survivors, he bribes a Confederate NCO (Víctor Israel) for clues about Bill Carson.
  • The sequence with Tuco and Blondie crossing the desert has been extended: Tuco mentally tortures a severely dehydrated Blondie by eating and drinking in front of him.
  • Tuco, transporting a dehydrated Blondie, finds a Confederate camp whose occupants tell him that Father Ramirez's monastery is nearby.
  • Tuco and Blondie discuss their plans when departing in a wagon from Father Ramirez's monastery.
  • A scene where Blondie and Angel Eyes are resting by a creek when a man appears and Blondie shoots him. Angel Eyes asks the rest of his men to come out (all are hidden as well). When the five men come out, Blondie counts them (including Angel Eyes), and concludes that six is the perfect number. Angel Eyes asks him why, mentioning that he had heard that three was the perfect number. Blondie responds that six is the perfect number, because he has six bullets left in his revolver.
  • The sequence with Tuco, Blondie and Captain Clinton has been extended: Clinton asks for their names, which they are reluctant to answer.

A scene deleted by Leone after the Rome premiere was also re-inserted:

  • After being betrayed by Blondie, surviving the desert on his way to civilization and assembling a good revolver from the parts of worn-out guns being sold at a general store, Tuco meets with members of his gang in a distant cave, where he conspires with them to hunt and kill Blondie.

Additional footage of the sequence where Tuco is tortured by Angel Eyes's henchman was discovered. The original negative of this footage was deemed too badly damaged to be used in the theatrical cut, but the footage appears as an extra in the 2004 DVD supplementary features.

Lost footage of the missing Socorro Sequence where Tuco continues his search for Blondie in a Texican pueblo while Blondie is in a hotel room with a Mexican woman (Silvana Bacci) is reconstructed with photos and unfinished snippets from the French trailer. Also, in the documentary "Reconstructing The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly", what looks to be footage of Tuco lighting cannons before the Ecstasy of Gold sequence appears briefly. None of these scenes or sequences appear in the 2004 re-release, however, but are in the supplementary features.

Music[edit]

From The Good, the Bad and the Ugly soundtrack by Ennio Morricone

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The score is composed by frequent Leone collaborator Ennio Morricone, whose distinctive original compositions, containing gunfire, whistling (by John O'Neill), and yodeling permeate the film. The main theme, resembling the howling of a coyote (which blends in with an actual coyote howl in the first shot after the opening credits), is a two-note melody that is a frequent motif, and is used for the three main characters. A different instrument was used for each: flute for Blondie, ocarina for Angel Eyes and human voices for Tuco.[41][42][43][44] The score complements the film's American Civil War setting, containing the mournful ballad, "The Story of a Soldier", which is sung by prisoners as Tuco is being tortured by Angel Eyes.[5] The film's climax, a three-way Mexican standoff, begins with the melody of "The Ecstasy of Gold" and is followed by "The Trio."

The main theme also titled "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" was a hit in 1968 with the soundtrack album on the charts for more than a year,[44] reaching No. 4 on the Billboard pop album chart and No. 10 on the black album chart.[45] The main theme was also a hit for Hugo Montenegro, whose rendition was a No. 2 Billboard pop single in 1968.[46] In popular culture, the American new wave group Wall of Voodoo performed a medley of Ennio Morricone's movie themes, including the theme for this movie. The only known recording of it is a live performance on The Index Masters. Punk rock band the Ramones played this song as the opening for their live album Loco Live as well as in concerts until their disbandment in 1996. The British heavy metal band Motörhead played the main theme as the overture music on the 1981 "No sleep 'til Hammersmith" tour. American heavy metal band Metallica has run "The Ecstasy of Gold" as prelude music at their concerts since 1985 (except 1996–1998), and recently recorded a version of the instrumental for a compilation tribute to Morricone.[47] XM Satellite Radio's The Opie & Anthony Show also open every show with "The Ecstasy of Gold". The American punk rock band The Vandals song "Urban Struggle" begins with the main theme. A song from the band Gorillaz is named "Clint Eastwood", and features references to the actor, with the iconic yell featured in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly's score heard at the beginning of the video.[48] The film itself has been widely sampled: Punk band Big Audio Dynamite used an audio clip from the movie in its song "Medicine Show"; the audio was taken from the scene in which a judge, after reading a long list of criminal charges, sentences Tuco to be "hanged from the neck until dead." Also, the song "You Know What You Are" from the 1988 album The Land of Rape and Honey by industrial metal group Ministry repeats the song title (a portion of Tuco's final epithet at Blondie) as a background sample.

In popular culture[edit]

The film's title has entered the English language as an idiomatic expression. Typically used when describing something thoroughly, the respective phrases refer to upsides, downsides and the parts that could, or should have been done better, but were not.[49][50]

The film was novelized in 1967 by Joe Millard as part of the "Dollars Western" series based on the "Man with No Name". The South Korean western movie The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) is inspired by the film, with much of its plot and character elements borrowed from Leone's film.[51] In his introduction to the 2003 revised edition of his novel The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, Stephen King revealed that the film was a primary influence for the Dark Tower series, and that Eastwood's character specifically inspired the creation of King's protagonist, Roland Deschain.[52]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  2. ^ Boxofficemojo.com
  3. ^ Variety film review; December 27, 1967, page 6.
  4. ^ a b c Sir Christopher Frayling, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly audio commentary (Blu-ray version). Retrieved on 26 April 2014.
  5. ^ a b Yezbick, Daniel (2002). "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Gale Group. Retrieved 2006-05-23. 
  6. ^ a b Hughes, p.12
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Frayling, Christopher (2000). Sergio Leone: Something To Do With Death. Faber & Faber. ISBN 0-571-16438-2. 
  8. ^ a b Hughes, p.15
  9. ^ a b Munn, p. 59
  10. ^ a b McGillagan (1999), p.153
  11. ^ a b c Patrick McGillagan (1999). Clint: the life and legend. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0312290320 . p.154
  12. ^ Munn, p. 62
  13. ^ a b c McGillagan (1999), p.152
  14. ^ Eliot (2009), p. 81
  15. ^ a b c McGillagan (1999), p.155
  16. ^ Wallach, Eli (2005). The Good, the Bad and Me: In My Anecdotage, p. 255
  17. ^ The Daily Mail (May 6, 2005). "On the Graveyard Shift".
  18. ^ McGillagan (1999), p.158
  19. ^ McGillagan (1999), p. 159
  20. ^ Munn, p. 63
  21. ^ Eliot (2009), p. 88
  22. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058461/releaseinfo?ref_=ttfc_sa_1
  23. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059578/releaseinfo?ref_=ttfc_sa_1
  24. ^ "Il Brutto Il Buono Il Cattivo". Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  25. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060196/releaseinfo?ref_=ttfc_sa_1
  26. ^ Fritz, Ben (2004-06-14). "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". Variety. 
  27. ^ "Sergio Leone". Newsmakers. Gale. 2004. 
  28. ^ a b Schickel, Richard (2005-02-12). "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". All-Time 100 Movies (Time Magazine). Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  29. ^ The New York Times, film review, January 25, 1968.
  30. ^ Eliot (2009), p. 86–87
  31. ^ Ebert, Roger (2006). The Great Movies II. Broadway. ISBN 0-7679-1986-6. 
  32. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (2003-08-03). "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". Great Movies (rogerebert.com). Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  33. ^ "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2007-05-14. 
  34. ^ Time Magazine (1968-02-09). "Time Magazine Review February 9, 1968". Reviews - Critics. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  35. ^ Variety Staff (1966). "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". Reviews - Critics. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  36. ^ "Sergio Leone". Contemporary Authors Online. Gale. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  37. ^ Turner, Rob (2004-06-14). "The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly". Entertainment Weekly. 
  38. ^ Sight & Sound (2002). "How the directors and critics voted". Top Ten Poll 2002. British Film Institute. Retrieved 2007-05-14. 
  39. ^ "The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time". Empire. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  40. ^ a b c The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (DVD). Los Angeles, California: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 1967. 
  41. ^ Torikian, Messrob. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". SoundtrackNet. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  42. ^ Mansell, John. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". Music from the Movies. Archived from the original on 2007-02-17. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  43. ^ McDonald, Steven. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly : Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  44. ^ a b Edwards, Mark (2007-04-01). "The good, the brave and the brilliant". London: The Times. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  45. ^ "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly charts and awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  46. ^ "Hugo Montenegro > Charts & Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  47. ^ "We All Love Ennio Morricone". Metallica.com. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  48. ^ "The return of the Gorillaz" EntertainmentWeekly. Article dated November 25, 2005. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
  49. ^ KNLS Tutorial Idioms
  50. ^ An example review using the film's title as a phrase
  51. ^ The Good, the Bad, the Weird, HanCinema. Retrieved on June 23, 2009.
  52. ^ King, Stephen (2003). The Gunslinger: Revised and Expanded Edition. Toronto: Signet Fiction. xxii. ISBN 0-451-21084-0. 

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Charles Leinberger, Ennio Morricone's The Good, The Bad And The Ugly: A Film Score Guide. Scarecrow Press, 2004.

External links[edit]