The Dusty, the Old, and the Lengthy

Revisiting a Western Classic

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Aidan Muhle

The classic spaghetti-western “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”, has held a spot as one of the most supreme pieces of film history for years. The movie is solidified as the epitome of western movies and continues to be alluded to in modern cinema. This art showcases the main protagonist: Blondie otherwise known as “The Good.”

The classic spaghetti-western “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”, has held a spot as one of the most supreme pieces of film history for years. The movie is solidified as the epitome of western movies and continues to be alluded to in modern cinema. The story follows three outlaws, and their adventure to find $200,000 that has been buried in the desert, all while the Civil War rages on around them. It is a nail-biting, suspenseful film that had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.
In the first scene, the audience meets “The Ugly”, a Mexican bandit by the name of Tuco with a bounty on his head for numerous crimes including: armed robbery, kidnapping and murder. Within one minute, the tension in the film is already thicker than gun smoke as three bounty hunters attempt to sneak up on Tuco. Tuco, of course, as a very skilled gunslinger, easily bests the three and escapes.
In the next segment, the audience is introduced to “The Bad”, a gruesome hitman known by the title of “Angel Eyes”. Angel Eyes is seen riding a black horse that matches the aura of the man who sits upon it. There is a sense of foreboding as he rides upon the house of a family. It’s almost certain that the hitman will kill the father of the family, yet it’s drawn out. The director of the movie, Sergio Leone, is playing with the audience, just as the hitman is toying with the father of the family. The father attempts to bribe him with money to assassinate the man he was hired by.
“You know the pity is, when I’m paid,” said Angel Eyes. “ I always follow my job through.”
Angel Eyes is shown to be a hardcore hitman as he murders the man along with his son, yet he takes the money and eliminates his initial employer as well. Angel Eyes is by no means a good individual, but he definitely follows a code.
Finally, “The Good” makes an appearance. A man with no name, and no story, as he is simply referred to by the color of his hair: “Blondie”. Blondie, played by Clint Eastwood, saves Tuco from an attempted capture by bounty hunters, but ends up taking the outlaw in to collect the reward for himself. These 3 scenes all take place in only the first 30 minutes of the film, and definitely show off how much story there is to this movie. The rest of the movie is a large adventure. Beware of double crosses, duels, and incredible action.
The most important part of the film, to me, was definitely the music, and sometimes the lack thereof. Ennio Morricone does a great job of creating musical tracks that mirror what is happening on screen. In fact, one of my personal favorite scenes stems solely from the perfect music composition job done by Morricone. At first, all that is heard is the wind, but then the music begins to swell and the atmosphere on screen begins to soar as the action kicks in.
One of the things that I had a problem with was the length. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is a long movie, clocking in at 3 hours and 58 minutes. The movie is so long that it has a built in intermission. The problem, however, isn’t with the length, but rather the scenes that are drawn out for reasons that seem unnecessary. While these scenes definitely added to the tension, sometimes they were drawn out for way too long when the moment has already been established. It would be much better if these scenes shaved off even a couple of seconds just to make it not seem as slow-paced during these movements.
As a movie, this is definitely a must-watch, even if you aren’t a big fan of western films. This movie is definitely a must watch. It is obvious that it has had many effects on modern day cinema, and is constantly referenced to this day. I’d give this movie a four out of five because of the few moments where it felt really slow, but it definitely stands near the top of my favorite films list.