Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (1966)

This movie is the finale of the Dollars Trilogy directed by Italian Western master, Sergio Leone. Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wall are the good guys, the bad guy and the ugly guy respectively, mentioned in the English title. Taking advantage of the political chaos during the American Civil War, the three men planned to seize some of the wealth belonging to the southern government. However, each of them only knew part of the details of the hidden wealth, and they must work together to get all the money.

The three men used each other to their advantage, and they also intrigue against each other, resulting in a lot of funny jokes and dramatic confrontations. The film is meticulously produced and has all the elements of an entertainer of this kind, with memorable performances by the lead character and an unforgettable soundtrack by Ennio Morricone.   

It was the finale of the Dollars Trilogy: A Fistful of Dollars (1964), Per qualche dollaro in più (1965) and Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (1966), and is considered the most successful of Sergio Leone ‘s Western films. The Dollars Trilogy not only resurrected the dormant Western film industry (which had begun with The Great Train Robbery in 1903), but also made the 34-year-old Clint Eastwood a star and a fellow classmate, Ennio Morricone, a world-renowned soundtrack master. The director also set many precedents, including the development of the so-called “Spaghetti Western” ; the lead characters were neither good guys nor handsome; the dialogue was simple with lots of action close-ups to promote the mood; and yellow sand, sunset, silhouettes and whistles became the representative of western films.

Of course, there are still many legends of the Italian Western. Sergio Leone was an Italian who made the film in Spain, and his original plan was to make it for the Italians without expecting the American audience would respond to the movie enthusiastically. One of his Dollars Trilogy, A Fistful of Dollars, was not only his debut film, but also a western version of Akira Kurosawa’s The Bodyguard, which was a masterpiece.   

Although the whole film was extended for three hours, and Westerns cannot develop exciting fight scenes like eastern Kong Fu movies. Gunfight could be solved in a moment, Therefore, the mastery of the overall atmosphere, the plot and the description of human nature became the essential elements for a successful Western film. In the three hours of the film, the human nature of the good guy, bad guy and ugly guy was reflected in the film, as well as several important classic scenes, which are not comparable to the later action films with ” take one big fight and never get hurt” or movies with only fighting and blank content. This is why the film is still in the top 30 of all time 40 years later.

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