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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

📅 2011-Jan-29 ⬩ ✍️ Ashwin Nanjappa ⬩ 🏷️ clint eastwood, eli wallach, ennio morricone, lee van cleef, movie, sergio leone, western ⬩ 📚 Archive


I cannot remember how young I must have been when I first heard the music of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The tune, as you might very well know, is absolutely unforgettable. Somehow I never got around to watching the movie, misconstruing it to be a movie about cowboys and ranches, a setting that I find to be somewhat boring.

The movie centers around three criminals, who despite their monikers of Good, Bad and Ugly, are all remorseless bastards. Blondie (Clint Eastwood) aka The Good and Tuco (Eli Wallach) aka The Ugly are partners-in-crime who have a falling out and Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) aka The Bad is a hired killer. Through different circumstances, all three come to know about a hidden stash of Confederate gold. Between them they know pieces of information about the gold, Angel Eyes discovers the person who buried it, Tuco learns the cemetery where it is buried and Blondie knows the grave of burial. Set amidst a destructive American Civil War, what follows is a nail-biting chase for the gold, with each of them backstabbing the other to get closer to the hoard. The movie ends in an epic climax, a Mexican standoff set in the center of a Colosseum-like cemetery.

Despite its age, released way back in 1966, I found the movie to be supremely cool! 😁 All three heroes deliver awesome performances, Clint Eastwood is at the prime of his coolness, but Eli Wallach takes the cake with his comic performance. The cinematography is gorgeous, lovely wide angle shots show the emptiness of the landscapes, while up-close shots give the viewer a sense of the tension of the heroes. The music by Ennio Morricone is out-of-the-world fabulous! The movie is 2.5 hours long, but the story is so riveting that there is not a wasted moment. The climax is probably one of the best ever and the ending is very satisfying. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is truly a Hollywood epic, one which I know I will be watching many times over!

"When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk." -- Tuco