Benjamin has a Bachelors in philosophy and a Master's in humanities.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
''When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk,'' says Tuco in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly was the third western made by Italian director Sergio Leone. The film became the best-known and most popular spaghetti western, western movies made by Italians, in film cinema and is a classic in the tradition of anti-hero, gritty westerns. Released in America in 1967 during the height of the Vietnam War, the film was a hit and has had a lasting influence on culture and film-making.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly follows the quest of three characters to find hidden Confederate gold. The main characters, played by Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach, form uneasy alliances and intense rivalries as they race against each other for the upper hand in finding the prize.
The Man With No Name
Clint Eastwood plays the ''man with no name,'' who is called ''Blondie'' throughout the film and is the title good character. A cigar-smoking figure with no given backstory and a tendency to speak in single sentences, Blondie appears in the desert to apprehend Tuco, a wanted bandit and the ugly character, for a reward, only to then spring him from his noose so that he can gather the reward in another town.
Blondie is a shrewd and calculating figure throughout the film and is judicious in his use of force. However, he has a soft side that is seen in a scene where he covers a dying soldier with his jacket and shares a cigar with the dying man.
Tuco, played by Eli Wallach as the ugly character of the film, is a Mexican bandit who is wanted in at least 14 counties for a variety of unsavory behaviors. In one scene, the 32 charges against him range from murder to misrepresenting himself as a Mexican general to illegal postal pick-up. Wallach plays Tuco as a walking contradiction, since Tuco has no regard for killing and stealing, yet is quick to cross himself after a murder and to cry out if he is ever crossed.
His sociopathic lust for gold determines who is friend or foe, and his sense of pride makes him a man who always remembers and relishes in punishing any slight against him. We learn from an encounter with Tuco's brother at a monastery that he left home at a young age from a place where his choices were bandit or the clergy for a career. Tuco maintains in his argument with his brother that Tuco's choice to be a bandit was the harder one.
The bad character in the film is played with cunning danger by Lee Van Cleef. Nicknamed ''Angel Eyes'' at some point in his career as a hitman-for-hire, Van Cleef's character is a man whose only loyalty is to his pay. We meet Angel Eyes when he comes to fulfill his obligation to find out the name of a man who hid a cash box of gold. Angel Eyes shares dinner with his target before brutally killing him and his oldest son after accepting an offer to kill his original employer. As Angel Eyes explains, he always does the job he is paid for. After dispatching his employer following the revelation of the lost cash box, Angel Eyes sets out to find the gold and use any means at his disposal to obtain it.
Angel Eyes is the most dangerous character, capable of using the mantle of authority for his own personal ends as when he appears as a Union officer and tortures Tuco to discover the cemetery where the gold is buried.
Set against the backdrop of the Civil War in the territory that would become New Mexico, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly follows the pursuit of three unsavory characters in search of hidden Confederate gold. After a few successful cons where Tuco and Blondie collect and split the reward money on Tuco's head, Blondie decides that this partnership isn't going to make him any richer. He abandons Tuco and sets off on his own while Tuco threatens him as Blondie rides away.
Tuco does eventually catch up with Blondie, and after Blondie escapes Tuco's attempt to hang him, Blondie is captured by Tuco and forced on a death march through the desert. As Blondie nears death, Tuco comes across a carriage where the dying confederate officer Bill Carson informs Tuco of the hidden cash box. Before Tuco can discover the name on the grave where the treasure is buried, Carson dies, but not before Blondie claims to have discovered the name on the grave.
Faced with the dilemma of exacting his revenge on Blondie and the prospect of finding the treasure, Tuco's greed wins and he brings Blondie to a monastery to recover. The two then set out to seek the treasure in an uneasy alliance, as Blondie won't reveal the name of the grave, and Tuco won't reveal the name of the cemetery.
However, they are captured by Union soldiers and sent to a prison camp where Angel Eyes discovers that Tuco and Blondie know the location of the treasure he is seeking. After torturing Tuco, Angel Eyes discovers the cemetery name and takes Blondie with him to find the treasure.
Tuco, unwilling to be cut out of the loop quietly, escapes custody and follows Blondie and Angel Eyes to a town where, in a duel, he and Blondie reunite after killing Angel Eyes' gang, but not the elusive hitman himself.
The duo then comes across two armies fighting over a bridge that Blondie and Tuco need to cross, so, to get the armies out of the way, Blondie and Tuco blow up the bridge so they can get to the treasure. Finally, Tuco and Blondie reach the cemetery, but they encounter Angel Eyes and the three decide to duel to determine who will claim the treasure in an intense three-way standoff.
Blondie kills Angel Eyes. Tuco's gun was unloaded earlier by Blondie, so he can't shoot. Blondie makes Tuco dig up the gold, then leaves him, unarmed, with half the treasure.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is a spaghetti western made by Italian director Sergio Leone. It is set during the civil war that follows three unsavory characters in their quest for $200,000 in hidden confederate gold. The main characters, played by Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach, all must form uneasy alliances and shrewd decisions as they compete and cooperate to find the treasure against the obstacles of the ongoing conflict between North and South.
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