Characters: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

"Blondie", The Good (Clint Eastwood)

  • Anti-Hero: The main reason he's "The Good" is because his two opponents are worse.
  • Badass Cape: Though only at the end.
  • Badass Longcoat: Goes through three of them.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The most handsome man just happens to be "The Good". Granted, the other two were morally worse than him, but Blondie's not exactly a nice guy.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Blondie is capable of being as violent and ruthless as Tuco, but he's much less flamboyant. He barely ever talks above a whisper, and he frequently confronts life-threatening situations without uttering a single word. Even when he's crawling through the desert, half-dead from sunburns and dehydration, he never once begs Tuco for his life.
  • Bounty Hunter: Though, he has a tendency to claim bounties and free said criminals, raising the bounty and turning them in at another town to make more money.
  • Broken Ace: Anytime Tuco takes charge.
  • Call Back: To Tuco's "two kinds of people" line.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: With Tuco.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially with Tuco.
    Tuco: God's on our side because he hates the yanks too!
    Blondie: God's not on our side because he hates idiots also.
  • Deus ex Machina: Saved from death by a hangman's noose at the hands of Tuco as the result of a sudden cannon ball that crashes through the wall.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: He and Tuco in the Union soldier camp.
  • Enemy Mine: With Tuco.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Shooting down the guys that were about to catch Tuco, but then turning the latter in for the bounty.
  • Genre Savvy: Unloading Tuco's gun the night before the showdown did the trick.
  • Good Is Not Nice: An odd case where he's soft-spoken and rather polite, but acts like as much of a scoundrel as Tuco or Angel Eyes. However, he still retains a moral value unlike the other two and most of the time does what's right, as long as it doesn't interfere with going after the gold.
  • The Gunslinger: One of the prime examples.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: His hair is sandy brown due to imperfect translation from an original Italian.
  • Iconic Outfit: He dons the classic poncho seen in the other Dollars films near the end of the film.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Only Blondie could perfectly cut the rope about to hang Tuco with a single shot.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He always does what's right in the end, but be warned it could be hell getting there.
  • The Man With No Name: The Trope Namer, although "Fistful of Dollars" and "Few Dollars More" introduced the character first.

Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez, The Ugly (Eli Wallach)

  • And Starring: "and Eli Wallach in the role of Tuco." Only in the US version; the European prints billed the three principal actors together ahead of the title.
  • Anti-Villain: His rather Sympathetic P.O.V. turns him into a Type I by the end of the film.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: He's quite hyperactive and generally talks and acts on impulse. The cemetery scene is worth noting.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He's every bit as dangerous as Blondie and Angel Eyes, perhaps even more so.
  • Bond One-Liner: "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk." Actually improvised on the spot by Eli Wallach.
  • Butt Monkey / The Chew Toy: He isn't successful for more than 20 onscreen minutes. Although, considering that Tuco is a scheming and opportunistic bandit, he probably deserves most of what happens to him.
  • Can't Bathe Without a Weapon: He was probably expecting Blondie rather than the one-armed soldier, but it still came in handy...
  • Catch Phrase: "There are two kinds of people in this world, my friend..."
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: With Blondie. It's originally part of their get-rich-quick scheme, but later becomes real when they go after the big money.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: From Wallace, courtesy of Angel Eyes.
  • The Comically Serious: It's seldom hard to ever take him seriously, but you can definitely take him for granted that he'll kill you over a bag of loot.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He seems like a buffoon, but is quite the opposite.
  • Curse Cut Short: The famous last line of the film - "HEY BLONDIE! YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE? JUST A DIRTY SON OF A BAAAAAA!!!"
  • Determinator: He just won't give in on catching up to Blondie or searching for the gold.
  • Enemy Mine: With Blondie.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Gunning down the men who were sent to kill him while apparently enjoying a meal. In addition to Foreshadowing how Tuco gets ambushed in the most unlikely of times, it sets him up as The Comically Serious because his freeze-frame intro has him holding a chicken leg in his hand.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He is genuinely distraught to learn that his parents have passed away.
  • Eye Scream: Wallace gets him to reveal to Angel Eyes the name of the cemetery where the gold is buried by pressing down on Tuco's eyes with his thumbs.
  • Faux Affably Villainous: When he's taunting Blondie, he speaks in a reserved, cool manner (that is, until Blondie pisses him off). Regardless, Blondie himself isn't fooled, and is never really intimidated by Tuco. Except for the two occasions in which Tuco actually comes close to killing him.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Hobo-style, to be exact.
  • Genre Savvy: Enough to hide a gun under the bubbles when he takes a bath. It works, too.
  • Gold Fever: One could argue that Tuco has it the worst. Just watch his "Gold Ecstasy" when he finally digs up the treasure during the finale.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: When Blondie rescues him the first time, they're both laughing about it like old friends. Then, in the next scene, he's screaming countless obscenities as Blondie prepares to turn him in for the bounty.
  • I'll Kill You!: After he is left behind in the desert when Blondie dissolves their initial partnership.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: His gun during the final showdown.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The more we get to know about Tuco, the more we understand that he's one of these. Justified since Tuco is the only character whose backstory we learn; Blondie's and Angel Eyes' histories are a complete mystery.
  • Laughably Villainous: Doesn't mean he's stupid. Not one bit.
  • Long List of Transgressions: And it gets longer every time it's read out. Apparently, he has raped, killed, stolen money from both sides of the Civil War, and gambled with marked cards.
  • Made of Iron: Gets hit full-on by a blast of cannon fire, has the hell beat out of him by Wallace, jumps out of a moving train and down a pretty steep hill, and is nearly hanged for his crimes on several occasions.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Because, according to Angel Eyes, a scoundrel like Tuco has a guardian angel as well (Blondie).
  • Meaningful Name: "Tuco" means "rat" in Spanish.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The scene in the cantina bathtub.
  • Never Learned to Read:
    Tuco (reading a note Angel Eyes has left for Blondie and him): "See you soon, id-id-idi..."
    Blondie: "'Idiots.' It's for you."
    • "Un-k... un-k... there's no name on it!"
  • Nice Hat: For a good portion of the movie, although he loses it following the episode in the second Union camp.
  • Nice, Mean and In-between: The Inbetween. Obviously, one is "The Good", the other is "The Bad", so "The Ugly" is inbetween by default.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Receives an extremely painful one from Wallace. He gets his revenge after springing from the POW train and breaking Wallace's neck, after which Tuco proceeds to savagely beat his head with a rock.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He acts pretty buffoonish and has some genuine moments of stupidity, but that doesn't mean he's not dangerous. Not at all.
  • Oh, Crap: Has three moments: the first when he realizes the true colors of the soldiers whom he has mistaken for Confederates, the second when he notices that Blondie has set up a hangman's noose for him in the cemetery, and the third is his reaction when he thinks Blondie is going to shoot him rather than cut the noose.
  • Pet the Dog: After punching his brother due to his "The Reason You Suck" Speech and walking out on him, Tuco notes that no matter how low he sinks, he'll always be the one man who'll offer him a free bowl of soup.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: At one point carries a shredded pink parasol to shield himself from the sun (as well as taunt Blondie, who is crawling through the desert on his hands and knees).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Blondie's Blue.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Unleashes quite a tirade on Blondie when Blondie turns him in for the bounty for the 1st time. It's understandable, though.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Continually overestimates his own intelligence.
  • Talk to the Fist: The "shoot, don't talk" line.
  • Tempting Fate: The scene where he confuses the Union soldiers for Confederates.
  • Third-Person Person: Frequently refers to himself this way.
  • Unorthodox Holstering: Keeps his pistol dangling around his neck with a piece of rope. Apparently, this was because Eli Wallach kept looking down to check whenever he wore a pistol belt.
  • Villainous Gloating: "Shoot, don't talk."
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Blondie, when they aren't arguing about something.
  • With Friends Like These...: With Blondie.

Angel Eyes, The Bad (Lee Van Cleef)

  • Gold Fever: Not as bad as Tuco, but his motivation for killing so many people.
  • Greed: The motivating factor of all three protagonists, but especially Angel Eyes.
  • The Heavy: The biggest threat in the movie. Everything else that happens is simply because, well, there's a War going on.
  • Ironic Nickname: Neither his eyes nor character resemble anything particularly angelic.
  • It's All About Me: His reason for killing Baker, the man who hired him to kill Stevens.
  • Lack of Empathy: Amazingly, he shows no remorse whatsoever for his actions, and is generally emotionless. This trait is downplayed in the extended cut, however.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Van Cleef refused to actually hit Maria, the woman Angel Eyes strikes multiple times for information.
  • Psycho for Hire: He enjoys killing and torturing as much as the money he makes from it.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Never raises his voice because he knows that his victims have heard him the first time.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: His golden rule is to always see a job through if he's been paid, even if the person you paid him to kill has paid him to kill you.
  • Smoking Is Cool: To contrast even more with Blondie, he has a pipe.

Union Captain (Aldo Giuffre)

  • The Alcoholic: That's what he is when we meet him, up until he dies shortly after.

Corporal Wallace (Mario Brega)

  • Asshole Victim / Laser-Guided Karma: His prisoner, Tuco, ends up craftily pushing him out of a moving train to make his escape.
  • The Dragon / The Brute: To Angel Eyes, at least in the prison camp.
  • Dumb Muscle: Letting a scheming, conniving bandit out of his sight for even a minute onboard a moving train probably wasn't a good idea.
  • Jerkass: Unlike Angel Eyes, he had no inner motivation for what he did, and mercilessly pummeled Tuco simply because Angel Eyes told him to.
  • Mutilation Conga: After inflicting a cold-blooded beat down on Tuco (courtesy of Angel Eyes), Tuco makes his escape by pushing Wallace out of a moving train (which either knocks Wallace out cold or kills him instantly), and then Tuco proceeds to bash his former captor's head in with a rock. As if that wasn't enough, Tuco frees himself from a set of handcuffs by placing Wallace's body on the train tracks, which not only breaks the link on the cuffs, but takes Wallace's body with it.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Does torturing prisoners for information not in any way related to the War at hand count? Check.
  • Torture Technician: Gets medieval on Tuco's ass by attempting to squeeze out the latter's eyes with his fingers.