The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966) IMDB Top 250 Review

Hi everyone! I’m finally doing my own IMDB Top 250 review again! I’ve been too lazy about doing these myself instead of just posting guest reviews… Let’s get started!

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966)
Italian title: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo

Directed by Sergio Leone

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè, Mario Brega, Eli Wallach

Music by Ennio Morricone

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

My Opinion:

First of all, I better point out that I shouldn’t be allowed to review a Western as I “clearly know nothing about them” and should just “delete” my blog (as an extremely angry, Western-loving troll told me in the comments of my review for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance). Man I love trolls! And I always reply to them like a damn idiot.

Well, here’s a further reply to the issue my troll addressed: We all have a “first time” experience of EVERYTHING in life – why should we not be allowed to discuss something just because we don’t have a thoroughly extensive knowledge of it? I’m working my way through the IMDB Top 250, partly, to gain more knowledge of films that are seen as classics and to have a better understanding of those that are within the genres that I’ve not really explored before (mainly war movies & especially Westerns). So I apologize if I offend anyone by discussing yet another Western even though I haven’t managed to first watch “every Western known” like that troll has. Good for him! I’d rather watch a wide range of films from all kinds of different genres. (For the record, I gave The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance quite a positive review). Now onto my uneducated review of The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

This is Western #5 for me out of the Top 250 and I’m afraid to say that I found it slightly disappointing after starting with Leone’s Once Upon A Time In The West (although I did like it more than The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid & Unforgiven). Personally, I thought West was a better film overall and enjoyed it more than this one. However, I believe West had a much larger budget so it’s not totally fair to compare the two. Also, I’ll say that this one has a brilliant ending and I absolutely loved the final half hour or so plus I of course couldn’t get enough of the amazing Morricone score. 

How the hell had Ennio Morricone not won an Oscar before this year?  He’s a true genius so, until this year’s Oscars, I’d always just assumed he’d won one before now. I didn’t further look into it until after seeing The Good, The Bad And The Ugly as I wanted to see who the hell managed to beat Morricone that year but the film wasn’t even nominated for any Oscars at all, let alone the score. This score wasn’t even nominated?!?! It’s a masterpiece! Stupid Academy… (Even IMDB users have more sense – this film is currently very high at number 9 out of 250)

This film is the third in what later became known as Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy“, which I did know but didn’t actually think to look at the order in which they came out & for some reason thought this was the first of three instead of the last. The other two are in the Top 250 as well so maybe I should’ve watched them in order? I suppose it doesn’t matter too much as the stories are unrelated & Eastwood has a different name in each but it would’ve been interesting to see how Leone’s movies developed over time.

For its time & budget, I realize that The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is a damn masterpiece. I have to admit, though, that the dubbed dialogue is very distracting in this one. It’s not something I noticed as much in West but I suppose there were a lot more English-speaking actors in that one. Apparently Leone cared much more about the look of the film than the dialogue so all the dialogue was recorded in post-production.

However, I personally appreciate a “sweeping epic” such as The Good, The Bad And The Ugly with a beautiful score & visuals much more than, say, a modern-day, straightforward, documentary-style Oscar winner such as Spotlight. The two Leone films I’ve seen just say “now THIS is proper filmmaking!” to me. I guess it depends on what kind of movies you prefer but someone with zero experience of Spaghetti Westerns may struggle with the length, slow pace & bad dubbing of this film (I’m experienced – I have two Spaghetti Westerns under my belt now). πŸ˜‰

As for Clint Eastwood, I do quite like him as an actor but never fully understood the appeal before (although I’m liking him even more recently after watching two great 70’s classics of his – Escape From Alcatraz & Play Misty For Me). I kind of understand the appeal now after finally seeing one of his classic Spaghetti Westerns. The dude is f*%#ing cool, okay? Look at him in that poncho! Look at the cool way that cigarette hangs out of his mouth!

After this movie, I thought “Damn – I wish Eastwood had played Harmonica in West instead of Charles Bronson”. Bronson is okay but Eastwood had that extra special something in the same way Harrison Ford had something special as Indiana Jones. I just read that Eastwood was offered the role of Harmonica but turned it down due to falling out with Leone. What a shame! I really liked Eastwood in this and he helps make this a classic along with “The Bad” and “The Ugly” – Lee Van Cleef & Eli Wallach, who are both also great in the film. I especially liked the relationship between Eastwood’s & Wallach’s “Good” & “Ugly” and the fact that you apparently couldn’t trust anyone in the Wild West.

Summary:

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is a fantastic film and I can see why Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns are so highly regarded to this day. However, I’m not going to pretend that it’s now going to be an all-time favorite of mine. Yes, I found it overlong and too slow at times (I watched it off & on over two days while doing chores) plus it was very hard to not be distracted by that bad dubbing. But there are a lot of films like this that I almost like the thought of more than the actual film itself…

For example: I couldn’t stop thinking about The Man Who Fell To Earth after watching it – it looked cool as hell and David Bowie was this amazing otherworldly presence but it’s so flawed that to call it a good film would be a lie even though I loved it. I feel kind of the same way about The Good, The Bad And The Ugly and also Once Upon A Time In The West (although both indeed ARE very good films). What I’m doing a horrible job of trying to explain is this: I’d find it very hard to sit down and watch any of these three films from start to finish again but I think the overall look, feel, and score (the latter in the case of the Leone films) make these the exact sort of movies I wish were still being made. Well, okay – some are as The Revenant is this same sort of thing (and I think it would’ve made a more worthy Best Picture Winner than Spotlight as it’s the one that’ll be more appreciated and seen as a masterpiece in 20 years in the same way Leone’s movies are seen now). The artistic beauty of Leone’s films makes me happy and I find that very moving in a way that I rarely get with films nowadays. Sorry… that sounds cheesy as hell! Hey – look at Clint Eastwood’s smokin’ hot son Scott:

Where was I? This review is almost as long as the movie itself! (2 hours 41 minutes, FYI). Basically, I’m a sucker for a film with awesome visuals & a beautiful score and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is one of the all-time greatest when it comes to these two things. I may never sit through it for its entirety again but I’ve re-watched the ending, starting with the scene involving Morricone’s gorgeous The Ecstasy Of Gold, several times in the past month. It’s not very often that I have the desire to keep re-playing a part of a movie like that so I consider that to be some damn fine filmmaking.

My Rating: 8/10

Awesome theme. So damn awesome. But this one actually gives me chills:

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54 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966) IMDB Top 250 Review

  1. great review despite u finding more reasons to dis on spotlight!

    also it’s abt F***ing time u reviewed one of these IMDB 250 reviews since it IS UR idea πŸ™‚

  2. This is pretty much one of the best spaghetti westerns (I’ve seen many more than two) and one of the best pure westerns ever made. There’s a whole lot going on, from the relationships between the men to the backdrop of the Civil War to the music to the tremendous close-ups.

    You can’t really compare this sort of film to SPOTLIGHT, though (obviously you can but you probably shouldn’t). They’re different animals with different senses of purpose, so it’s an odd contrast to make despite your overall point. Leone does seem to make MOVIES, the sorts of cinematic visions that provoke broad vistas and memorable imagery and all that.

    You should definitely check out the rest of the Dollars trilogy, as well as DUCK, YOU SUCKER! and his gangster picture ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. You’ll need to block out some time for those films because they’re on the long side, but they hold many rewards.

    Nice write-up, by the way.

    • Thank you! πŸ™‚ I found it difficult to write about this one. I wasn’t so much comparing the two films to each other as I was comparing what the Academy (and general public, I think) value in a movie these days compared to in the past. It seems that Oscar winners of the past were more often the sort of “epic” & beautiful films like The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. I just prefer that sort of thing to the straightforward dramas that always win Oscars nowadays. Mostly, I think I was just shocked when looking into it to see that TGTBATU wasn’t nominated for even ONE Oscar! Crazy!! Stupid Academy – I can’t take them seriously anymore anyway. πŸ˜‰ I’ll definitely watch the other two Dollars films now. πŸ™‚ I’d also been planning on watching Once Upon A Time In America so I guess I may as well go all out & watch Duck, You Sucker too! Lol. I’ll be a man in no time! Might start growing hair on my chest. πŸ˜‰

      • I don’t know if the Academy Award winners of the past were more epic than the winners of today, but awards are just awards and taking them all that seriously has never been my strong suit either. People always disagree with their decisions and that’s what makes subjectivity such a tricky thing.

        I’m also not sure that what the “general public” values is always a good thing, though. If we based awards on box office value or popular opinion, we’d have to consider things like FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and MINIONS as contenders.

        At the time of its release, Leone’s movie wasn’t really well-regarded. That likely explains its omission at the Oscars. Critics weren’t fond of the spaghetti western genre in general and it took a lot of time before these sorts of movies were respected as art. Even the venerated Roger Ebert gave it three stars in his initial review before casting it as a Great Movie later on. Plus, all three films of the Dollars trilogy were released in the same year in the United States and it didn’t exactly clean up at the box office. So whether you judge it by popular opinion or critical opinion, TGTBATU didn’t really have much mainstream value in 1967.

        I’m eager to see your thoughts on some of Leone’s other outings.

  3. I think this movie took me about six weeks to get through but I do agree that the last thirty minutes are excellent. Nice work now go delete this blog before I call the cops.

  4. Have seen this film about a dozen times and enjoy it every time. There are westerns that I like better though, but there is just something about this one that really makes it a classic. Good review too!

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  6. Great review. I enjoyed your POV looking at this legend from today. It’s never too late to watch classics, or start a new genre. Forget about trolls. I like the honesty of your opinion. Eastwood was cool. Plain and simple. So was the style and score. I think no Oscar noms since westerns were like superhero flicks today… a fad that’s all the craze… and the cheap Italian ones weren’t so respected. But time proves the audience is still behind it. If you haven’t seen John Ford’s The Searchers, I’d love to know what you think from today’s POV. It’s one of my favs.

    • Thanks! You know what? I somehow wasn’t following you anymore. I was just thinking that I hadn’t seen any posts from you in a while! 😦 Fixed now. πŸ™‚ Yeah, I find it interesting to hear people’s opinions on genres they AREN’T fans of, actually. I think everyone should be allowed an opinion on anything. I’m not too bothered about that troll – everyone gets them from time to time. Mostly they just amuse me. πŸ˜‰ And I always try to be completely honest so I’d never pretend to be an expert on Westerns. I admit that this would have a lower rating from me if it wasn’t for the score. SO AMAZING. Even though I know these movies didn’t get as much respect at the time, I don’t see how the score wasn’t immediately considered brilliant. Hmm… I don’t think The Searchers is in the IMDB Top 250. You want me to watch a Western that I don’t actually have to watch?? I don’t know if I can do that…. πŸ˜‰ lol. I think what pissed that troll off the most was that I didn’t immediately love John Wayne. So, yeah – I should do another John Wayne movie. See if that guy comes out of the woodwork again!

      • Hahaha I think the Searchers is worth it. Let’s call the not being in the top 250 a travesty πŸ˜‰ As for the troll, good philosophy. Brush it off. I’m glad you found me, by the way. I switched to a dot com. Thanks for the follow though. You should get updates. πŸ™‚

  7. Kudos to you for watching all those westerns! When it comes to my IMDb-250 challenge, I will fail with all those westerns and mafia films, I just really don’t like those genres. And this one, I vaguely remember watching this as a kid with my dad or smth and I remember it being very long and dragging. But I got to watch it at some point, right? And add Clint Eastwood whom I really don’t like. *sigh*

    • Well, yeah…. I admit that this one is way too long. I mean, I watched it in three or four sittings. πŸ˜‰ But the end is great, it’s lovely to look at, and that SCORE blew me away. Stick it on while doing chores around the house like I did. lol. Aw, I like Clint just fine but he’s definitely a “dads’ favorite actor” type (my dad loves him). It was interesting to see him in one of his old Westerns finally – I think I prefer him as a cowboy to Dirty Harry. I’m not big on mafia films either but I have to say that the first two Godfathers are very very good. I probably prefer them to Westerns, at least. πŸ™‚

    • Ha! Yeah… It didn’t actually bother me too much since it was clearly just some idiot troll. Mostly, I just find them amusing. I’ve had a few good ones. Someone also took exception to me trashing Oz The Great And Powerful. It’s funny the stupid shit that makes people angry. πŸ˜‰

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  10. I really need to re-watch this. It’s been a long, long time since I watched it so I can’t remember why I didn’t get on with it, but I think maybe I found it too long? I dunno, I like long films — I loved Once Upon a Time in the West — so maybe it was something else. I enjoyed the other two Dollars films very much (For a Few Dollars More is my personal favourite of the three), so goodness knows.

    The music is definitely awesome, I do know that. Ecstasy of Gold was put to good use in The Book of Life recently, too, which was cool.

    • Haha. I know! My kid happened to watch Book Of Life just after I watched this & I was all “Hear that music? That’s what you’ve been hearing me play for the last week”. Well, this one feels very overlong to me and that dubbing is SO distracting. I do prefer Once Upon A Time overall. But this one has moments of brilliance that are hard to ignore. πŸ™‚

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