The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Good the bad and the ugly poster.jpg

"Two hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money. We're gonna have to earn it."

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Italian: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, "The Good, the Ugly, the Bad"), released in 1966, is one of the "Dollars" trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns that served as a Deconstructor Fleet to the entire Western genre. It is the last, and probably the most famous of the trilogy, and is credited with helping to kill the Western genre and inventing a bevy of new tropes (even popularizing the Mexican Standoff). It's had an incredible impact on nearly all films since then, and is generally regarded as one of the best films ever created.

During the American Civil War, the bounty hunter "Blondie" (Clint Eastwood) and the bandit Tuco (Eli Wallach) are running a con game until the former decides to terminate their partnership and take the money. Tuco sets out for revenge. A mercenary, Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef), finds out about a stolen cache of Confederate gold, and learns the name of the man who knows where it's hidden. Tuco and Blondie stumble upon this knowledge and the three gunslingers engage in a battle of betrayal across the war-torn landscape.

Directed by Sergio Leone and with a soundtrack composed by Ennio Morricone in one of his most memorable works.

Somewhat ironically--given that the "Dollars" trilogy started with an unauthorized knockoff of Yojimbo--The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly now has a Foreign Remake in The Good, the Bad, the Weird (which is Korean and moves the setting to Japanese-controlled Manchuria in the 1930s).

Tropes used in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly include:

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

  • Bounty Hunter: Blondie and Angel Eyes.
  • Book Ends
    • The film starts and ends with Blondie saving Tuco from the noose. Of course, the "save" in the last part is debatable.
    • Also, the beginning and the end have the three main characters being labeled by onscreen text as "The Ugly", "The Bad", "and The Good," both times in that order.
  • Can't Bathe Without a Weapon
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The man Tuco shot in his establishing moment loses his arm, spends half the movie learning how to shoot with his off hand and comes after Tuco for revenge.
  • Click Hello
  • Cliff Hanger: Almost a literal one. Tuco's situation at the end.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: We see the Man With No Name pick up his trademark poncho amongst other identifying traits throughout the film.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Wallace and Angel Eyes inflict this on Tuco.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The film is a backstabbing triathlon.
  • Curse Cut Short: The very last line of the movie:

Tuco: HEY BLONDIE! YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE?! JUST A DIRTY SON OF A B--aa-AA-aa-AA-ahhhh

  • Death Glare: Angel Eyes has an awesome one.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: For The Western.
  • Determinator: Not even a war can stop these men from going on a treasure hunt.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Blondie narrowly escapes death thanks to a cannon ball. Note that The Man With No Name hints at cannon fire during his conversation with Tuco as he slips the noose around his neck.
  • Dirty Coward / Lovable Coward: Tuco
  • Distracted From Death: Bill Carson finally dies of thirst and exposure in the minute it takes Tuco to run to his horse and grab a canteen. In a subversion, while Tuco is distracted Blondie does come over and hears Carson say where he buried the gold.
  • The Dragon: Wallace to Angel Eyes.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Subverted, Tuco and Blondie put on a Confederate uniform but it backfires when they encounter a soldier column. The column is initially identified as Confederate but it turns out they are dressing as the enemy's enemy because the soldiers are from the Union army; the dust covering their attire made it look the opposite..

Tuco: God's on our side because he hates the yanks too!
Blondie: God's not on our side because he hates idiots also.

  • Dumb Muscle: Wallace
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch
  • Enemy Mine: Blondie and Tuco. Briefly, Blondie and Angel Eyes, although their partnership is even more nakedly a matter of convenience.
  • Establishing Character Moment: They're even labeled!
  • Even Evil Has Standards
    • Whatever you think of Blondie's morality, both he and Tuco are visibly horrified by the carnage of the Civil War at the bridge.
    • Tuco pulls one quick when Blondie reveals the corpse he dug and genuflects though his guilt turned to anger when he found out Blondie lied about the grave name.
    • As far as sociopathic mercenaries go, Angel Eyes actually has one unbreakable rule: to always see the job through when he's paid. Even if he's paid by his target to kill his employer.
  • Cute Kitten: Would you believe there is an adorable kitten in this movie?
  • Eye Scream: Wallace gets Tuco to talk by pushing on his eyes.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Tuco wears the hobo-style.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The names "Blondie" and "Angel Eyes" aren't exactly threatening.
    • They are less funny in Italian. "Biondo" is a neutral word, like "blond one". "Angel Eyes" is called Sentenza, which means judgement, or verdict.
  • Freudian Trio: Blondie's the Ego, Tuco the Id, and Angel Eyes the Superego.
  • Genre Savvy: Tuco. "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk," sums it up pretty well.
  • The Good Is Not Nice
  • Greed: The motivating factor of all three protagonists, but especially Angel Eyes.
  • Gold Fever: A driving force for the plot. Tuco enters a frenzy state when he finds the place where the gold is : Ecstasy of Gold
  • The Gunslinger: Rather obviously, all of the main characters.
  • Hair Color Dissonance
  • Hired Guns: Angel Eyes is best described as a mercenary.
  • His Name Is: Lampshaded and subverted when Tuco tries and fails to extract information from the dying soldier, only to find Blondie has succeeded in doing so.
  • Hollywood Density: Averted. It's not a plot point, but look how heavy those bags of gold apparently are.
  • Ironic Echo: Blondie's use of Tuco's "There Are Two Kinds of People in the World" Catch Phrase at the end of the film.
  • Ironic Nickname: Angel Eyes wears a perpetual narrow-eyed sneer.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Tuco's gun in the final showdown.
  • The Joy of X: The title is frequently parodied or referenced by other works.
  • Just Between You and Me: Subverted and kicked while it's down, by multiple characters.
  • Kick the Dog: Angel Eyes is good at this. Blondie and Tuco get a few too.
  • Lack of Empathy: All three of them are empathy-impaired, but the near soulless Angel Eyes is the worst.
  • Last Breath Bullet: ... Or not.
  • Laughably Evil: Tuco
  • Leave the Camera Running: Some scenes run long. Doesn't hurt the movie, instead adds to the epic feel of it.
  • Leitmotif: The main theme is turned into one for each protagonist (The Good's has a whistle, The Bad's an ocarina, and The Ugly's screamed - "AAAAAAAAH!").
  • Long List Of Trangressions: Tuco's crimes.
  • Memetic Outfit: Blondie's poncho has become his trademark outfit, even though he doesn't wear it until the last 20 minutes of the 3 hour long movie.
  • Mexican Standoff: Famous for it. Also a subversion.
  • Nice Hat: Blondie and Angel Eyes both sport very nice cowboy hats.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown
    • Tuco's torture scene at the Union prison camp. Immediately preceded by a nice dinner.
    • Later on in the film, Tuco delivers a shorter but arguably more brutal one to his torturer by throwing him from a moving train and repeatedly slamming his head against a rock until he dies.
  • No Name Given: "Blondie", the eponymous Good, is a nickname, used only by Tuco; his real name is never mentioned, and the character is known as the Man With No Name. Also, "Angel Eyes", the eponymous Bad. The latter is also referred to as Sentenza, which isn't his true name either.
  • Not Quite Dead: That very first bounty hunter.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Tuco, who seems a dim-witted buffoon but is actually quite a Badass.
  • Offscreen Teleportation
  • One Last Smoke: Blondie and the dying soldier.
  • One-Liner: Almost all of the dialogue.
  • Only in It For the Money: All three characters, but especially Angel Eyes.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: It is set in the civil war, after all.
  • Overly Long Name: Tuco Benedicto Paci­fico Juanmaria Ramirez, "known as the Rat."
  • Pay Evil Unto Evil: What Blondie does to Tuco (among others).
  • Pet the Dog
    • Blondie gets two; petting a kitten, and comforting a dying soldier.
    • Tuco gets one, when he meets with his brother and gives a shockingly eloquent defense for the life he's lived and the choices he's made.
    • Immediately after that, when riding away from his brother's monastery with Blondie, he begins to gush about how close he and his brother are in spite of how they'd just had a loud fight. It's unclear if he's trying to save face or if it's his way of expressing affection, but it's rather sweet nonetheless. Blondie even seems to play along, despite having heard everything.
    • Angel Eyes gets one in the extended version, where he appears to show sadness at the sight of several wounded soldiers at a fort, before allowing the sergeant he has questioned to keep the alcohol he used to bribe him with.
  • Popcultural Osmosis: The music, the last 15 minutes, hell, even the title have all permeated pop culture.
  • POW Camp: Blondie and Tuco end up in a Union POW camp after their scavenging of Confederate uniforms backfires on them. Angel Eyes is running the show. It's nasty.
  • Prequel: Possibly, for the earlier Dollars movies. Blondie doesn't begin this movie wearing the trademark poncho he wears by film's end, which carries over to A Fistful of Dollars.
    • A Fistful of Dollars also has a tombstone with the Date of Death as 1873, as the American Civil War was fought ten years before that, in 1861–1865, so it is reasonable to assume that this is actually the Prequel.
  • Professional Killer: Angel Eyes is equal parts bounty hunter, mercenary, and assassin.
  • Quick Draw
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Tuco uses a pink woman's umbrella against the desert sun.
  • Recurring Riff: One of the most famous.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules: Oddly enough, Angel Eyes. One man hires him to kill another, and his target tries to pay him to kill the man who sent him. He accepts their money and kills them both, cementing him as an utter bastard. Because when he's paid, he always follows his job through. Which makes this a subversion, since he takes everybody's money while still refusing to go back on his word. And he later decides to go for the treasure himself.
  • Shoot the Rope: Subverted; the "hero" in this case is Tuco, and the Big Damn Heroes is Blondie.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Blondie with cigars, Angel Eyes with his pipe.
  • The Sociopath: Angel Eyes
  • Sociopathic Hero
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Wallace, Angel Eyes' Torture Technician. Angel Eyes himself does an amazing impression.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: See Curse Cut Short.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The hauntingly beautiful "Story of a Soldier" is played while Tucco is brutally tortured.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Subverted; when the bounty hunter who tried unsuccessfully to kill Tuco right at the beginning of the movie locates him again, three quarters of the way through the movie, in the bath, naked. He's clearly got the jump on him, but can't resist going into a speech about how glad he is to have finally cornered him. Tuco immediately whips out the revolver around his neck and kills him, saying to the corpse, "When you have to shoot, shoot! Don't talk!" Most fans consider it Tuco's Crowning Moment of Awesome. The line was also a Throw It In by Eli Wallach.
  • Talk to the Fist: "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk!"
  • Thanatos Gambit: Blondie pretends to write a name of the grave where the gold is buried on the bottom of a rock. After the climatic showdown, Blondie tells Tuco that there was no name on the rock because the grave where the gold was has no name. Had Angel Eyes succeeded in killing Blondie and Tuco, he would have no leads to search for the gold. Then again, they were at Arch Stanton's grave a few minutes earlier, which was right next to the unmarked grave, so unless Angel Eyes is a complete idiot and fails to put two and two together, it's unlikely this backup plan would've succeeded.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: Tuco's Catch Phrase, always with a different ending. Most of them don't make a whole lot of sense. Also used in an Ironic Echo at the end.
  • Touch of the Monster: The Death Ray Vision type. Poor Maria.
  • Torture Always Works: Subverted. Angel Eyes tortures Tuco for information, but not Blondie. Angel Eyes explains that this isn't because Blondie won't break under torture, but because he knows talking won't save him.
  • Travel Montage: Quite a few throughout the film.
  • Villain Protagonist: Tuco's either this or a Type V Anti-Hero.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: Angel Eyes
  • Villainy Discretion Shot: Again, if you believe the list of crimes associated with Tuco read by the executioners.
  • War Is Hell: The American Civil War is integral to the fabric of the film, and Leone is here to serve it up raw. This is remarkable in a film known primarily as a classic Western. Tattered armies in retreat. Exhausted, demoralized drunken commanders, chaos, dirt and unregarded bodies in the sun. Corn cobs to eat, scabrous prison camps, and summary justice meted out on the streets. The trope is perhaps most strongly in play during the futile fight for a bridge that Blondie and Tuco witness. An unremarked mass of shallow war graves make up the film's final setting.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In order to show how evil The Bad is, Angel Eyes relentlessly beats up a girl towards the beginning of the film. However, according to an interview with Lee Van Cleef, he refused to actually hit her, so they had to use his stunt man for that scene.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: Blondie remarks upon this after seeing a clash between Union and Confederate troops over a contested bridge.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: The climax is probably the most epic scene about three guys standing around doing nothing ever filmed.
  • Widescreen Shot: The graveyard shot is a notable one.
  • You Look Familiar: Colonel Mortimer's the villain?!