tek's rating: ¾

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (R)
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This came out in 1966, in Italy, and in 1967, in the U.S. It's the third movie in the "Dollars" trilogy (following For a Few Dollars More). It's probably the most popular movie in the trilogy, maybe even the most iconic western ever. The movies are also known as the "Man with No Name" trilogy, though in each film the main character (played by Clint Eastwood), has a different nickname; in this one, he's called Blondie. (I believe Eastwood is actually playing a different character in each movie, but it's not really clear.) I also want to mention that all three movies have music composed by Ennio Morricone, but the main theme of this movie is probably his most iconic and most recognizable work. (At least it's what I have always associated him with.) Anyway... the first time I saw the first two movies in the trilogy was in 2015, but I had seen the third movie sometime prior... Probably on VHS, and most likely sometime in the 90s, but I can't remember for sure. Whenever it was, I remembered very little of the plot, by the time I watched it again on DVD in 2015, after watching the first two movies. As for the movie's title, it refers to three characters. Blondie is "the Good" (though his virtue his highly debatable); "the Bad" is Angel Eyes (played by Lee Van Cleef, who had played a different character in "For a Few Dollars More"); and "the Ugly" is a bandito named Tuco, played by Eli Wallach. (Though personally, I'd say the ugliest part of the title is its lack of an Oxford comma, amirite?)

Anyway. The movie is set in 1862, during the American Civil War. Angel Eyes is a hired killer who has been sent by a man named Baker to find a man named Jackson, who knows where a cache of $200,000 in stolen Confederate gold has been hidden. Angel Eyes learns that Jackson is now going by the name Bill Carson. He reports this information to Baker, but then kills Baker and begins searching for Carson, himself. Meanwhile, Tuco is captured by Blondie and turned in for a $2000 bounty. When Tuco is being hanged for a ridiculously long list of crimes, Blondie shoots the rope and Tuco escapes. Later the two of them split the money, as they were working together all along. Tuco's bounty is raised to $3000, and they pull the scam again (though I have no idea if they'd been doing the same thing for many times before that or not). But after this second time, Blondie decides to end their partnership and take the whole bounty for himself, leaving Tuco 70 miles from the nearest town.

Well, Tuco eventually finds Blondie and exacts some revenge. But then they both find a runaway coach in the middle of the desert, and find some dead soldiers inside. But it turns out one of them, Bill Carson, is only nearly dead. Tuco is going to finish him off, but Carson tells him about the $200,000 in gold, and the name of the cemetery where it's buried. He refuses to tell Tuco what grave it's buried in, until he gets some water. So Tuco goes to get that, and meanwhile, Blondie learns the name on the grave. When Tuco gets back, Carson is dead. So now Tuco and Blondie have to work together to find the gold. Of course, Angel Eyes is still looking for it, too. And he finds out that Tuco and Blondie have the information he needs. Beyond that, I don't want to reveal any more of the plot. There are lots of twists and turns, shifting partnerships (though never any trust), lots of violence, a bit of humor, and just... all kinds of stuff happens. (The movie's about three hours long.)

And I don't really know what else to say. I definitely liked it more than the first two movies. And I feel like my rating should be higher than it is. I guess spaghetti westerns just aren't my thing. I mean, I think the movie is really very good, for what it is, and I could understand how some people would love it. I also expect I'll remember the movie better now than I did the first time I watched it. Which is good, because I can't imagine I would feel like watching it again in less than a couple of decades, if ever. But I'm definitely glad to have seen it for a second time, now. It was fun, and like I said, pretty iconic.

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