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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
Posted on May 18, 2015 by James Shults

Release Date: December 23, 1966

Director: Sergio Leone

Overall Rating: Good

In the last installment of his “Dollars” trilogy of Sergio Leone-directed “spaghetti westerns”, Clint Eastwood reprises the role of a taciturn, enigmatic loner. He searches for a cache of stolen gold against rivals the Bad (Lee Van Cleef), a ruthless bounty hunter, and the Ugly (Eli Wallach), a Mexican bandit. Though dubbed “the Good,” Eastwood’s character is not much better than his opponents. The film’s title reveals its ironic attitude toward the canonized heroes of the classical western. “The real West was the world of violence, fear, and brutal instincts,” claimed Leone. “In pursuit of profit there is no such thing as good and evil, generosity or deviousness; everything depends on chance, and not the best wins but the luckiest.” Immensely entertaining and beautifully shot in Techniscope by Tonino Delli Colli, the movie is a virtually definitive “spaghetti western,” rivaled only by Leone’s own Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). The main musical theme by Ennio Morricone hit #1 on the British pop charts. Originally released in Italy at 177 minutes, the movie was later cut for its international release.

The Good

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is dripping with iconic Western moments. The best part of this movie, however, isn’t a moment at all. It’s the music. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you know the music. You’ve heard it. It’s Ennio Morricone’s score that makes this movie. Years after you’ve seen this movie, you’ll remember the music more crisply than you remember any of the moments.

The Bad

My mom told me once that she didn’t like this movie. She said that it’s a boy movie. She was right. I’m not exactly sure how she meant it but this is very much a boy movie. Women play a very small role in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I don’t know that they’re poorly represented. Just not represented. It seems to be a common issue among Westerns in general. Women are either represented poorly or not at all. This movie, while being very exceptional, is not exceptional in its depiction of women.

The Ugly

I have noodled over The Good, the Bad and the Ugly for years. I’ve always come back to this thought: Blondie (the Good) is not all that good. I’m not sure he’s any better than Tuco (the Ugly). Am I wrong on this? Is there something I’ve missed all these years? It seems that Blondie isn’t so much good. Rather he’s just not bad or ugly.

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