Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The (1967, Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach)

Poster for the movie "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"
R 161 min - Western - 23 December 1966
Our rating:

II Buono, II Brutto, II Cattivo is the third in the Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood trilogy of spaghetti Westerns, following A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. Still only a television cowboy in the United States, Eastwood, of whom Leone had never heard, got the part of the No Name Stranger in Fistful after James Coburn requested a $25,000 salary. By the third film Eastwood's take was a quarter of a million dollars plus a percentage, and he had won a poll as the world's favorite movie star.

In the American West during the Civil War, Eastwood is the mysterious stranger, Joe, presumably the good; Lee Van Cleef plays Angel Eyes, a sadistic killer, the bad; and Eli Wallach, a Mexican bandit, Tuco, the ugly. Their quest is $200,000 in gold buried in an unmarked grave. Joe and Tuco pull a con game in which Joe turns Tuco over to various sheriffs, collects the bounty, then saves him from the noose. The partners are allied only in their greed, double-crossing each other whenever possible. The finale, a three-way shootout between the gunmen, takes place in the appropriately named Sad Hill Cemetery.

American reviewers, gunning for this third "pop Western," objected en masse to Leone's excessive violence and brutality, The New York Times even dubbing it "The Burn, the Gouge and the Mangle . . . Zane Grey meets the Marquis de Sade." Only a few appreciated its black humor, its honestly unsentimental approach, and its often laughable performances. As for its ethics, Eastwood does kill 10 of the 20 bodies littering the plains, but they all drew first!

After the public turned out in droves to cheer its new cult hero, a few critics relented, Andrew Sarris going so far as to call the film "a kind of cactus Calvary [and] Eastwood a plausible lower-class hero whose phys- ical redemption is the contemporary correlative of Christ's spiritual re-demption."

Director:  Sergio Leone
Writers:  Sergio Donati, Mickey Knox
Producer:  Alberto Grimaldi
Composer:  Ennio Morricone
Director of Photography:  Tonino Delli Colli


Production Details

Release Date:  23 December 1966

Running Time:  2 h 41 min

Genres: Western
Country:   United States of America Italy Spain Germany

Language:  Italian

Tagline: For three men the Civil War wasn't hell. It was practice.

Budget and Box Office takings where known

Budget:  $1,200,000
Revenue:  $6,000,000