Review: ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’

The third in the Clint Eastwood series of Italo westerns, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is exactly that - a curious amalgam of the visually striking, the dramatically feeble and the offensively sadistic.

The third in the Clint Eastwood series of Italo westerns, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is exactly that – a curious amalgam of the visually striking, the dramatically feeble and the offensively sadistic.

Story [by Incrocci Agenore, Furio Scarpelli, Luciano Vincenzoni and director Sergio Leone] concerns search for buried treasure by ‘Good’ Eastwood, ‘Ugly’ Eli Wallach and ‘Bad’ Lee Van Cleef (making his second appearance in an Eastwood western). Along the way they taunt and torture each other and also contribute a total of 20 dead bodies to the western landscape, reasonably well-faked by European exteriors. As befits his star status, Eastwood kills 10 of these; as befits his titular Goodness, his victims all draw first. Unlike the earlier Leone efforts, however, the violence here has little of the balletic, even erotic quality.

Leone’s visual sense is as strong as ever, however, and his effective alternation of extreme closeups and long shots renders much of the pic graphically electric. Unfortunately, he allows several excursions into laughably sentimental characterization, and his three actors (especially Wallach) overplay to the point of absurdity.

Much of Tonino Delli Colli’s photography is a knockout. Ennio Morricone’s insistent music and Carlo Simi’s baroque art direction further contribute to the pic’s too-muchness.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Italy

Production

PEA. Director Sergio Leone; Producer Alberto Grimaldi; Screenplay Luciano Vincenzoni, Sergio Leone, Mickey Knox; Camera Tonino Delli Colli; Editor Nino Baragli, Eugenio Alabiso; Music Ennio Morricone; Art Director Carlo Simi

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1966. Running time: 161 MIN.

With

Clint Eastwood Eli Wallach Lee Van Cleef Aldo Giuffre Mario Brega Luigi Pistilli

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  1. Bobby says:

    I agree. One of the most overrated movies of all time. It’s just a bunch of non-stop, contrived coincidences thrown together to try and make the plot tie together. Eastwood’s his usual boring wooden self, and Ennio Morricone’s cheesy theme tune becomes repetitive to the point of annoyance.

    • What are you talking about? This is not one of the most overrated movies of all time, Titanic, Avatar, Donnie Darko, The Dark Night, Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump and Fight Club would easily be the most overrated. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is a masterpiece, ‘non-stop, contrived coincidences’ did you watch the film? You seem to think that’s the only thing the film has offer, which is very untrue, The film ties the plot together very well, Each scene happens for a reason and is not just sloppily thrown together. Ennio Morricone’s theme is not cheesy, But it’s very overused in the film, But that’s the only thing i agree with.

  2. name says:

    Didn’t you guys give django a great review? This hardly compares to the sadistic torture in that flick, or are you guys giving a classic a bad review just for the sake of being original?

    • timgray2013 says:

      This is the original review that Variety published in 1965. Variety.com posts reviews (positive or negative) that were written about classic films when they opened.

  3. doc says:

    The second negative review I have read in the past hour. If you don’t like Clint Eastwood, just come out and admit it. I’m wondering if his masculinity and the maleness of his films bothers a few of your critics. You really had to struggle to find negativity in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. But congrats you did it. Now, take a look in the mirror ….. what do you see …..

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