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This Minute at Runco

Runco Staff Review - The Good, Bad, and the Ugly

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

By Matt Christensen, Runco Sales

“They formed an alliance of hate to steal a fortune in dead man’s gold.” Actual movie tagline.

It’s hard to imagine a cold Sunday afternoon in February without catching some glimpse of this movie on TV. It’s the quintessential epic spaghetti western film that starred Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach in their respective title roles. This film is the final in the “Dollars Trilogy” that also included classics A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965). Although it is often seen as a “Classic” movie, the initial critical reviews were very harsh due to the high degree of violence (very tame for today’s standards) and because it was a spaghetti western, which was widely seen as inferior movie making and not real “art”. What did they know??

Because the movie is so long (2h, 45m) the multi-layered plot takes a while to completely unfold. The bottom line is the two main characters create an Survivor-like alliance to scam bounty hunting rewards and end up in a race against a third to find a jackpot of gold buried in a war-time cemetery. What I find interesting about this film is the way the director, Sergio Leone, makes the setting of Civil War era America seem very gritty and harsh. The audience is left with a feeling that living in this part of the country, during these times, would be anything but attractive, which only adds to the toughness of each of the characters in the film.

This is not a date-night movie nor one to start at midnight after a few beers. But, if you’re looking for a good way to work off the extra bowls of chili and waste away a sub-zero degree day watching some good man-movies, then The Good, Bad and the Ugly is a must-see. You will never forget the opening score, nor where the money is hidden!

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