Welcome to the final review of Threequel month! I just finished reviewing The Godfather Part III, and after going through that hell, I felt like I needed to end this month a good note! With that, I've decided to review what is considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Alright folks, this movie is why movies are made. It's the benchmark of great threequels, the yang to Godfather Part III's yin, Sergio Leone's masterpiece, and the greatest western of all time. It's dark, nasty, gritty, atmospheric, unapologetic, and just downright badass. Be prepared for me to jerk this movie off, because I love everything about this classic!
I'll cut to the chase here, the character introductions are brilliant. The movie opens with a close-up of that extra who's always in Leone's films, as he and his posse are in a ghost town, and walking towards an empty saloon. They barge in, you hear three gunshots, and then you see Eli Wallach as "The Ugly," smash his way out of a window. We then cut to the three dudes, with two of them dead and the other one trying to squeeze off one shot. Oh Tuco, you slippery devil!
He may be ugly but this freeze-frame is fucking cool!
We then cut to a small farming land where a little boy is walking his donkey around the mill. We see a dark horse rider coming from the distance, and we then cut to Angel Eyes "the bad" as we hear the badass bassoon. He walks into the farmhouse looking for the man of the household, and begins talking to him, asking him of the whereabouts of a guy named Jackson, because, to quote Angel Eyes "When I start off to find somebody, I find them! That's why they pay me!" He finds out that Jackson now goes under the name of Bill Carson, and after the man pays him over $1000, Angel Eyes guns him down, along with the man's son. His wife walks in to see, and passes out. Angel Eyes proceeds to walk out of the place like a boss. He then goes to collect the $500 he was originally paid by his employer named Baker, followed by putting a pillow over Baker's face and shooting him to death. Wow, Angel Eyes doesn't fuck around!
I shoot people in the face for fun!
We then cut back to Tuco getting knocked off his horse by bounty hunters. One of them comments on how Tuco has a face that's worth $2000... and then, we get the most badass intro of them all! We hear "Yeah, but you don't look like the ones who'll collect it." This is followed by a duel where The Man with No Name (who goes by Blondie in this movie) guns down all three bounty hunters in the blink of an eye. He then brings Tuco in himself, only to save him from execution, just so he can raise Tuco's bounty and have more money to himself. That's a fucking genius plan!
However, after Blondie decides Tuco won't be worth more than $3000, he parts ways with The Ugly. Tuco then opens up a can of insults on Blondie, to which Blondie replies... "Such ingratitude, after all the times I've saved your life." I know, right?
The way back to town is only 70 miles, dude.
Like in many of Leone's other movies, the character introductions are fucking cool, and they match the atmosphere of the film. All three of them were built-up beautifully, and the payoffs were filled to the brim with badassery!
As for the characters themselves, well, it goes without saying. Tuco Ramirez, Angel Eyes, and The Man With No Name have become iconic and legendary in the annals of film. Blondie is the calm, unassuming gunslinger who has one of the fastest draws going; Angel Eyes is the confident, determined bounty hunter who always finds his man; and Tuco Ramirez is the nasty, oafish jackass who would step over his own mother to get what he wants. These characters are god-like now, often imitated but never duplicated, and they will live on in movie history until the end of time!
One of the greatest tricks this movie pulls is this: While Blondie is labeled as "The Good" Angel Eyes is "The Bad" and Tuco is "The Ugly", all three of these guys have each trait within them!
I mean, Blondie constantly helps a wanted criminal cheat death for his own personal gain, not to mention leaves him hanging by a thread at the end... that's not really "Good" of him, is it? Tuco may be The Ugly, but there is a lot of bad in him, and you'll know that just by watching the movie. But he does have a very emotional scene where he meets his brother only to find out that his mother died, and for a split second, you can see good in him... He also helps Blondie get nursed back to full health after drying out in a desert, even though it's only so he can find out the name of the grave that holds $200 000... but still, he saved him, right? That's good of him, isn't it? Angel Eyes shows some traits of good in him as well when he decides to partner up with Blondie to find the grave... I mean, he could've just killed him and looked through every grave in the cemetery, but that would've taken forever, but still, it shows that he has a conscience and knows when not to kill someone. His ugly side tends to go hand-in-hand with his bad side, especially when he beats the living shit out of Tuco to find the name of the cemetery.
So yeah, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly are all good, bad, and ugly. Get it?
These characters are well rounded, fleshed out very well, and extremely well written. The amount of awesome quotes that come out of these guys is too much to keep up with! Classic one liners, like...
"When you gotta shoot, shoot! Don't talk!" -Tuco, after Tuco guns down a dude who wouldn't stop talking about shooting him.
"Every gun makes its own tune." - Blondie
"If you work for a living, why do you kill yourself working?" - Tuco
"We cut down my percentage... liable interfere with my aim." - Blondie
"Idiots... It's for you..." - Blondie to Tuco
"People with ropes around their necks don't always hang." - Angel Eyes
"You're the son of a thousand fathers all bastards like you!" Tuco to Blondie
Now, there's one more one-liner in this movie that is best and most badass quote of the whole fucking movie, but I'll get to that one later...
The casting is great, as Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach, and God himself Clint Eastwood were all born to play their respective roles. Wallach, who was a comedic actor at the time, plays the role of the Ogre-ish Tuco beautifully, and it's nice to see him play a good role after seeing him in that cinematic abomination that I've mentioned one too many times in this review. Van Cleef had already played a great role in the previous installment, and it was awesome to see him play a different character in this one, as he effortlessly brings the Angel Eyes character to life. Of course, there's not really much I can say about Clint Eastwood's performance that hasn't already been said. There's great debate on which role is Eastwood's finest, Harry Callahan or The Man with No Name? I'm inclined to go with the ladder, as he brings a quiet confidence to the character that can only be done by him.
I know a lot of people might be turned off by all of the dubbed dialogue, but not me. I actually find that the dubbing adds a dirty, detached quality to the film. This quality very much matches the gritty, nasty tone of the movie... So I guess that's a segue into the tone of the movie, right? Well, if you know about the previous two Spaghetti Westerns in this trilogy, you'll know that this movie is just as brutal, badass, and just as littered with atmosphere. There's just something about this film's tone that keeps you engaged, even when you don't know what is going on. It sucks you into it's world and shows you all aspects of it, good bad or ugly... Haha, get it? Yeah I know it wasn't funny, shut up!
As for the music in this movie... Oh... my... god... The Music! Ennio Morricone just completely nails every scene with his score. The main theme has gone down as one of the most iconic in movie history, and stuff like "The Trio" and "The Ecstasy of Gold" are symphonic masterpieces... the ladder is what I consider to be the best piece of music ever made for a movie... ever! The legendary composer's reputation grew exponentially in this one, that's for sure!
By the way, on that note...
Ennio Morricone > John Williams
Yeah I said it!
The cinematography and direction is absolutely amazing. Sergio Leone proves once again what you can do with just a 35mm film camera, as all of the shots, whether it's a close-up, a wide landscape shot, or a bridge blowing up, every single frame in this movie is perfect. Leone is one of my favourite directors of all time, and this movie is the best directing job he's ever done! But I'm pretty sure you already know that... so I'll move on.
The last thing I want to talk about is, fittingly, the ending. And...
Oh you know what, I'm just going to show you the final duel, because no words I can use can ever describe the awesomeness of this scene! Here you go...
Awww yeah that scene is just... fuck, the word that can describe the perfection of it doesn't exist! And the one liner at the end of it is one of my favourite movie quotes of all time! Of course, you get one more awesome one liner by Tuco to top everything off... "HEY BLONDIE, YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE??? JUST A DIRTY SON OF A BA-A-UGH-A-OHHHH."
To put it quite simply, this is one of my all time favourite movies. This is Sergio Leone's finest piece of work, the characters are legendary, the writing and acting is perfect, the cinematography is gorgeous, the music is hair-raisingly great, and, well, it's virtually flawless! Heck, the only flaw I can think of is the dubbing, and as I've already explained, it's not really a bad thing!
This movie is 1000 loaded guns out of 1000. Cinematic perfection, my friends...
Of course, the comments section is there for you to call this movie overrated and to make fun of me for being some blind fanboy or whatever.
- Mad Mike of Metal