The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Film: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
Release Date: 15th December 1966
Director: Sergio Leone
Rating: 18
United Artists

The iconic one with ‘that’ theme. Nan a nan a naaan, naaa naaa naaaa. Or something.

While the first two films offer a similar feeling of badass cowboy kicking the bad guys ass, this time things have leveled up as three characters go through the story of looking for treasure hidden in a grave.

We have The Good, Clint Eastwood as the man with no name (often called Blondie here) who plays it cool though gets the rough of it far more this time round. He starts the film duping the law for extra cash as he hands criminals in and then saves them; sharing the cash then doing it with them again as their bounty rises. Unfortunately his attitude rubs the wrong way on The Ugly and he goes through a torturous desert scene. He is still the badass we love from the previous two films, but this time he seems a smaller man as a war is going on in the country; at times he feels out-of-place. He still knows how to take control though and Clint really makes the Western genre incredibly cool.

The Bad would be the films villain. He always does his job when paid and also hears about money hidden and seeks it out. Stumbling into The Good and The Ugly he ends up closer to the trail. He’s malicious in his intents though not psychotically so  and doesn’t feel as such a devious and disgusting enemy as the one from For A Few Dollars More, but the plot is far more complex this time as it follows three characters actions in great detail. He is a great guy though I wish he got some more evil time on-screen.

The Ugly is great. He’s a coward, a liar, a trickster and only looks out for himself so he can get money. He works with and betrays The Good multiple times and he creates an unpredictability to the film. He is the one who falls into tight situations and seeing how he gets out is always exciting. Quite amusing though often quite annoying he is a great character who seems to get the most attention in the film and a rather touching back story hints that he ain’t all bad.

The three move though the war-torn areas which already creates a more uneasy and dangerous environment to the previous films and creates the image that war is far more painful than the bandits of before. While the war isn’t important to the gold hunt, it weaves to and thro into the action and leaves a lasting impression. Each scene holds importance, while the film draws long it always feels relevant and interesting, you really do feel the journey of the characters and the relationship between The Good and The Ugly. It all ends on a conclusion which rides equally with For a Few Dollars more, yet this time the outcome doesn’t feel so expected and the stare downs are used to the most extreme though tense effect. Plus the soundtrack is one of the best I’ve ever heard (the main theme got top in the pop charts!) making for one of the best, if not the best film I’ve ever seen. This trilogy is magnificent. Each can be watched stand alone as the stories remain self-contained but one after the other you see the advances in story telling and a hinge of melancholy in this when you see the war was probably what started the end of the cowboy era.

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