The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (Italy 1966)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 4/8/00
Director: Sergio Leone
Music: Ennio Morricone
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach

A classic epic western set against the bleak and grisly backdrop of the American Civil War. In a land ravaged by war, three rather unscrupulous men are trying to make a living. There's Tuco (Eli Wallach), a notorious criminal with an ever-increasing price on his head. There's "Angel Eyes" Setenza (Lee Van Cleef), a ruthless bounty hunter and mercenary with Confederate sympathies. And there's Blondie, the "man with no name" (Clint Eastwood), who's a rather shady character with a hidden agenda and hidden loyalties. The three of them become hopelessly entangled in each other's affairs when they learn about a stash of hidden gold and set out to claim it. Of course they can't team up and help each other - that would be too easy. So they continue to lie, cheat, and steal from each other for their own mutual advantage until their ultimate showdown.

An epic film in every sense, and a strong statement about the greed of man and the casualties of war. The cinematography is astounding and the film looks absolutely great. Excellent performances by everyone (particularly Eli Wallach) and a stirring musical score by Ennio Morricone. The only problem with the film is that it's so damn long! Clocking in at almost three hours (and that's with an additional seventeen minutes cut out), the film can be a serious chore to sit through. But considering when it came out (1966), the pacing was probably on par with contemporary standards.