Film / The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

"Two hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money. We're gonna have to earn it."

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Italian: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, literally "The Good One, the Ugly One, the Bad One"), released in 1966, is one of the Dollars Trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns that served as a Deconstructor Fleet to the entire Western genre. It is the last, and probably the most famous of the trilogy, and is credited with helping to kill the Western genre (due to how thoroughly it disassembles said genre) and inventing a bevy of new tropes (even popularizing the Mexican Standoff). It's had an incredible impact on the entirety of film-making since then, and is generally regarded as one of the greatest films ever created.

During The American Civil War, the bounty hunter "Blondie" (Clint Eastwood) and the bandit Tuco (Eli Wallach) are running a con game until the former decides to terminate their partnership and take the money. Tuco sets out for revenge. A mercenary, Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef), finds out about a stolen cache of Confederate gold, and learns the name of the man who knows where it's hidden. Tuco and Blondie stumble upon this knowledge and the three gunslingers engage in a battle of betrayal across the war-torn landscape.

Directed by Sergio Leone and with a soundtrack composed by Ennio Morricone in one of his most memorable works.

Somewhat fittingly — given that the "Dollars" trilogy started with an unauthorized knockoff of YojimboThe Good, the Bad, and the Ugly now has a Foreign Remake in The Good, the Bad, the Weird (which is Korean and moves the setting to Japanese-controlled Manchuria in the 1930s).

This film provides examples of :

  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: This is elaborated in the extended cut of the film, where all the soldiers in Union side of the bridge battle drink alcohol even as they fight with no satisfactory results.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Bill Carson lives just long enough to tell Blondie where the gold is buried.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Some of the more outrageous moments of the film (like the train cannon with the spy tied to it) are actually Leone showing off his research.
  • A Master Makes Their Own Tools: Tuco (The Ugly) built his own revolver by taking bit and pieces from a bunch of different guns in a gun store. None of that gun store's best ones was good enough for him.
  • The American Civil War: Specifically the New Mexico Campaign of Feb-April, 1862.
  • Anachronism Stew: The movie contains numerous firearms that were not manufactured until after the civil war.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The sole Bounty Hunter who survives his initial encounter with Tuco in the opening scene lost his right arm as a result of his wounds. We also see some of the wounded Confederate soldiers at the monastery where Tuco's brother resides have had limbs amputated due to their battle wounds and Tuco later quips to a Union soldier who has lost an arm about his own bounty "Three thousand dollars. That's a lot of money for a head. I'll bet they didn't pay you a penny for your arm."
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Tuco to Bill Carson: "Glad to meet you, Carson, I'm Lincoln's grandfather."
  • And Starring: Eli Wallach in the role of Tuco. This is only true for the US version, however. European prints billed Eastwood, Van Cleef and Wallach together ahead of the title.
  • Anti-Hero: Blondie is an Unscrupulous Hero.
  • Anti-Villain: Tuco. He confesses to his brother that he chose to be a bandit so he could support himself after living in poverty for so long. (And in the final duel, despite his personal animosity toward Blondie, he notably tries to shoot Angel Eyes.)
  • Arc Words: "There are two kinds of people in this world, my friend..." Alternately said by Tuco and Blondie, and always with a different ending.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Tuco is charged with (among other things) murder, rape, bigamy, and playing with marked cards and loaded dice. It's possible that Tuco confessed to a number of crimes he didn't commit in order to raise his bounty. Among other charges, he has apparently robbed from both sides of the Civil War.
  • Artistic License Physics:
    • That cannon shot lands about 5-7 feet away from Tuco, yet all it does is throw him and his horse down on the ground. In real life, horse and rider would have been blown to tiny bits.
    • It's not actually possible to neatly cut a rope with a single shot, especially not from a great distance. Rule of Cool applies here.
    • Blondie, Tuco, and their horses heave those bags of "gold" around far more easily than they should.
  • Badass Boast: Tuco to Blondie:
    "But if you miss, you had better miss very well. Whoever double-crosses me and leaves me alive...he understands nothing about Tuco." (Chuckles) "Nothing."
  • Badass Longcoat: Blondie goes through three of them, until he leaves his coat as a cover for the dying soldier and finds his trademark poncho.
  • Badass Moustache: Angel Eyes
  • Bald of Evil: Angel Eyes
  • Ballistic Discount: Tuco. Subverted in that he doesn't actually shoot the store owner. He just puts the "Open/Closed" sign in his mouth.
  • Bandito: Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez
  • Bathroom Breakout: Used by Tuco to jump from the train, handcuffed to the guard.
  • 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.
  • Behind the Black: To the point of being almost a running gag. Leone was actually experimenting with the idea that characters only perceive what's onscreen, so nothing "exists" until it's shown.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Blondie is every bit as violent and ruthless as Tuco and Angel Eyes, 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. Moreover, his Tranquil Fury is downright scary.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Tuco may be a Laughably Evil goof, but he is every bit as dangerous as the other two. Maybe even moreso. Blondie is Genre Savvy enough to unload Tuco's gun before the Mexican Standoff so he doesn't have to face him in a gunfight.
  • Big Bad: Angel Eyes, "the Bad", the Bounty Hunter opposing Tuco and Blondie on their quest.
  • Black Comedy: Without a doubt the funniest of the Dollars Trilogy.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The inevitable result of deconstructing the typical morality present in most Westerns.
  • B-Movie: Astoundingly, perhaps, the film is strictly speaking a B-feature by the 1960s definition of the term. It was made on a fairly thin budget and shot rather hastily, luminaries of the caliber of Orson Welles said it would be box office poison due to dealing with the Civil War, and it wasn't terribly widely distributed at first. It went on to become one of the most important films of all time.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    Tuco: When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk.
  • Bounty Hunter: Blondie; Angel Eyes
  • Book Ends:
    • The film starts and ends with Blondie saving Tuco from the noose. Of course, the "save" in the last part is debatable.
    • Also, the beginning and the end have the three main characters being labeled by onscreen text as "The Ugly", "The Bad", "and The Good," both times in that order.
  • Butt Monkey: Tuco. He doesn't catch a break the entire movie, and isn't successful for more than 20 onscreen minutes. Briefly, he does manage to drag Blondie around in the desert as punishment for deserting him (Blondie does win out in this case, when Bill Carson prevents Tuco from killing Blondie after telling Blondie the other half of the treasure's location). Examples of Tuco's misfortunes? He is nearly hanged for his crimes on several occasions, taken prisoner by Union soldiers (after mistaking them for Confederates), catches a hell of a beating from Corporal Wallace, is thrown off a horse from a cannon blast, survives various explosions, is attacked while taking a bath in the buff, had his gun emptied by Blondie while he slept, and at the end, after nearly being hanged by Blondie for all of the treachery inflicted on him earlier, he is left with his gold, but both hands tied behind his back and no horse to get back to town. Then again, Tuco is a greedy and conniving bandit who probably deserves most of what happens to him.
    • In case you're worried about him, there's a solid chance he'll be fine. His hands were bound with thin twine which he could easily get out of in time, and Angel Eye's gun, and provisions were nearby. Tuco would have no trouble getting out with the gold after Blondie has made good his escape... on Angel Eyes' Arabian horse.
    • Iron Butt Monkey: He survives things that no man should.
  • Can't Bathe Without a Weapon: Tuco has a gun with him, hidden in bath foam.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Subverted. One of the bounty hunters Tuco shot in his establishing moment loses his arm, spends his time off-screen learning how to shoot with his off hand and comes after Tuco for revenge. He is anticlimactically killed by Tuco while ranting about how much he is going to enjoy his revenge.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The film is a backstabbing triathlon. Tuco in particular changes sides at least four times.
  • Cigar-Fuse Lighting: Blondie fires a cannon at Tuco this way.
  • *Click* Hello: Tuco to Blondie.
  • Cliffhanger: Almost a literal one. Tuco's situation at the end.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: We see the Man With No Name pick up his trademark poncho amongst other identifying traits throughout the film.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Wallace and Angel Eyes inflict this on Tuco. Tuco also does this to Blondie when he forces him to march through the desert.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Just as Tuco is about to shoot Blondie in the middle of a god-forsaken, inhospitable desert, a horse-drawn carriage comes rolling down the road. The carriage contains Bill Carson, whom Angel Eyes had been pursuing throughout the film to this point, which serves to kick-start the rest of the plot.
  • Country Matters: Intensity-wise, the English equivalent of Tuco's curse towards Blondie as he leaves him in the desert ("¡HIJO DE UNA GRAN PUTA!", mentioned elsewhere on this site to be the single strongest profanity in the Spanish language) would be, roughly speaking, "You son of a cunt!" It's probably for the best that Foreign Cuss Word came into play here (to put it in perspective, the only other time Tuco deployed it, earlier in the film, was a case of Department of Redundancy Department which literally translates to "son of the whore that gave birth to you").
  • Crossing the Desert: Blondie enforces a "walk through" on Tuco as he leaves him stranded in the middle of a desert and far from the nearest town. Reversed later with added Ironic Echo.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Tuco, who seems like a complete buffoon who talks and acts without thinking first, but is extremely skilled and very crafty.
  • Curse Cut Short: The very last line of the movie:
    • Apparently, what Eli Wallach really said when shooting the scene was "Hey Blondie! You know what you are? JUST A DIRTY MOTHERFUCKER!"
  • Cute Kitten: Would you believe there is an adorable kitten in this movie?
  • Deadpan Snarker: All three leads have their moments of this, but especially Blondie.
  • Death Glare:
    • Angel Eyes has an awesome one.
    • And, of course, Blondie's.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: For The Western.
  • Decoy Antagonist: Baker's the one who hires Angel Eyes and set the plot in motion. Then Angel Eyes kills him fifteen minutes into the movie.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Blondie. It's his partner Tuco that gets the most focus and development throughout the film.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "¡Hijo de la puta que te parió!", screamed by Tuco when Blondie turns him in for the first time, literally translates to "Son of the whore that gave birth to you!"
  • Determinator: Not even a war can stop these men from going on a treasure hunt.
  • Deus ex Machina: Blondie narrowly escapes death thanks to a cannon ball. Note that The Man With No Name hints at cannon fire during his conversation with Tuco as he slips the noose around his neck.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The title sequence.
  • Dirty Coward/Lovable Coward: Tuco. Sometimes his cowardice is shameful, sometimes it's endearing.
  • Distracted from Death:
    • Bill Carson finally dies of thirst and exposure in the minute it takes Tuco to run to his horse and grab a canteen. In a subversion, while Tuco is distracted Blondie does come over and hears Carson say where he buried the gold.
    • Blondie is distracted by a noise coming from the vicinity of a horse, and just misses the death of the injured Confederate soldier he was tending to.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Blondie ends his partnership with Tuco, the latter starts screaming and cursing after Blondie like he just broke up with him.
  • The Dragon: Wallace to Angel Eyes.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Subverted, Tuco and Blondie put on a Confederate uniform but it backfires when they encounter a soldier column. The column is initially identified as Confederate because of their grey uniforms but it turns out they are from the Union army; the dust covering their dark blue attire made it look the opposite.
    Tuco: God's on our side because he hates the Yanks too!
    Blondie: God's not on our side because he hates idiots also.
  • Dumb Muscle: Wallace.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: Done by Angel Eyes to Stevens just before shooting him under the table.
  • Enemy Mine: Blondie and Tuco. Briefly, Blondie and Angel Eyes, although their partnership is even more nakedly a matter of convenience.
  • Establishing Character Moment: They're even labeled:
    • Tuco: Is eating in a bar. A group of gunmen come in to kill him and he shoots them all before crashing out of a window, still eating his dinner. "Il brutto," or "The Ugly."
    • Angel Eyes: Has been hired to get information from a man. He enters his house, gets the information, and accepts money from him (implicitly to kill his own boss). The man then tries to draw on him and he shoots the man dead. His eldest son comes downstairs (armed) and Angel Eyes kills him too. He then goes back to his boss, giving him the information, and then kills him he took the first victim's money, and he always finishes the job once he's been paid. "Il cattivo," or "The Bad."
    • Blondie: Tracks down Tuco, kills several rival bounty hunters, and turns him in for a reward, then frees him so they can repeat the process several more times. When the jig is up he abandons Tuco in the desert and rides off with the money. "Il buono," or "The Good."
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Tuco is genuinely distraught to learn of his parents' death.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Both Blondie and Tuco are visibly horrified by the carnage of the Civil War at the bridge.
    • Tuco pulls one quick when Blondie reveals the corpse he dug and genuflects.
  • Evil Counterpart: Angel Eyes to Blondie/The Man With No Name.
  • Evil Gloating: Tuco takes every opportunity to mock Blondie while marching him through the desert.
  • Exact Words: Utilized by Blondie in the movie's climax. All three main characters have reached Sad Hill cemetery, and they know that the treasure is buried in one of the graves... but only Blondie knows which one. With a standoff appearing inevitable, Blondie places a flat stone on the ground and promises the other men that they'll find the name on the grave on the underside of the stone, and that whoever survives the standoff can have it. The stone is blank, because there is no name on the grave. Blondie only knew where to look because Carson told him which grave the treasure was buried next to.
  • Eye Scream: Wallace gets Tuco to talk by pushing on his eyes.
    • Jackson lost an eye when the 200,000 went missing.
  • Facial Dialogue: Used to beautiful effect throughout the film. Particularly in the final shootout, where the audience reads the characters' thought processes while the characters are giving away nothing.
  • Fanservice: Eli Wallach gets to show off his great body, nude, in a couple of scenes. We even see his naked behind as he's getting out of the bath!
  • Faux Affably Evil: Angel Eyes and Tuco. Angel Eyes has a civilized, gentlemanly manner about him even when talking to people he's about to kill, while Tuco acts mockingly friendly when robbing or torturing people.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Tuco wears the hobo-style.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The names "Blondie" and "Angel Eyes" aren't exactly threatening. They are less funny in Italian. "Biondo" is a neutral word, like "blond one". "Angel Eyes" is called Sentenza, which means judgement, or verdict. His English name is supposed to echo this, meaning "Judgement in the eyes of God", but it comes off sounding more like he's just a handsome guy with dreamy eyes.
  • Freudian Trio: Blondie's the Ego, Tuco the Id, and Angel Eyes the Superego.
  • Foreshadowing: Blondie says his gun belt is empty, Tuco says "Mine isn't."
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Tuco. "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk." sums it up pretty well.
    • Blondie as well. Unloading Tuco's gun the night before arriving at the cemetery did the trick.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Obviously (and unsurprisingly) a partial Trope Namer and pretty much the whole point of the film. Interestingly, Tuco's mislabeling in the English-language trailer as "The Bad" actually makes more sense in light of this.
  • Greed: The motivating factor of all three protagonists, but especially Angel Eyes.
  • Gold Fever: A driving force for the plot. Tuco enters a frenzy state when he finds the place where the gold is: "Ecstasy of Gold"
  • The Gunslinger: Rather obviously, all of the main characters.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Blondie's hair is sandy brown. This is due to imperfect translation from the original Italian.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Tuco
  • The Heavy: Angel Eyes is technically a hired gun, but his employers are almost completely irrelevant to the plot.
  • Hidden Depths: Tuco; the scene at the gunsmith's shop makes this clear—he manages not only to show that he can pick the best components of various revolvers and custom-build one, he also demonstrates here that he's a deadly crack shot.
  • Hired Guns: Angel Eyes is best described as a mercenary.
  • His Name Is...: Lampshaded and subverted when Tuco tries and fails to extract information from the dying soldier, only to find that Blondie has succeeded in doing so.
  • Hollywood Density: Averted. It's not a plot point, but look how heavy those bags of gold apparently are.
  • Iconic Outfit: Blondie's poncho has become his trademark outfit, even though he doesn't wear it until the last 20 minutes of the 3-hour-long movie. It's memetic because he also wore it in the first film of the trilogy, A Fistful of Dollars.
  • Idiot Ball: The bounty hunter from the beginning of the movie returns with only one arm to kill Tuco. He makes the mistake of telling Tuco who he is and how much he is going to enjoy his revenge and not killing him right on the spot, which leads to his death.
    Tuco: When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
  • I'll Kill You!: Tuco, after Blondie dissolves their (first) partnership and leaves him in the desert.
    Blondie: Tsk, tsk. Such ingratitude, after all the times I've saved your life.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Displayed by many mooks who shoot at Blondie and Tuco. The most glaring example is when Angel Eyes sends his men to kill Tuco and Blondie in the abandoned town. The first guy has a clear shot at from the top of a building with a rifle while they are calmly walking down the street in broad daylight and he still manages to miss.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Each main character demonstrates this, even when they're drunk, but Blondie really takes the cake for the ability to shoot a rope perfectly on three separate occasions. When Blondie and Tuco use revolvers, there are two things they almost never do: aim or miss.
  • Ironic Echo: Blondie's use of Tuco's "There Are Two Kinds of People in the World" Catch Phrase at the end of the film.
  • Ironic Nickname: Angel Eyes wears a perpetually narrow-eyed sneer. The intended meaning, "judgment in the eyes of God," fits his personality.
  • It's All About Me: Angel Eyes. This is also the reason why he kills Baker, his own employer who hires him to kill Stevens.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Tuco's gun in the final showdown.
  • Jerkass: The three main characters themselves, though Angel Eyes is more than that.
  • The Joy of X: The title is frequently parodied or referenced by other works.
  • Just Between You and Me: Subverted and kicked while it's down, by multiple characters.
  • Keep It Foreign: Done inadvertently on the American CED release and the 1990 MGM/UA Home Video VHS release with the aforementioned Establishing Character Moments, as well as the same labels at the end of the film.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Angel Eyes' Establishing Character Moment is killing Stevens and his son after the interrogation about a missing man named Jackson. He also kills Baker, his own boss, after reporting that incident to him, because he wants all the money for himself.
    • Blondie and Tuco do this to each other, in a similar fashion. The only difference is, Tuco stays right by Blondie's side as he treks through a long and dangerous stretch of desert.
    • A scene in the extended cut has Tuco being outright awful to a dehydrated Blondie in the desert. Not only does he eat in front of him, but he lets him crawl to his foot-washing water, only to kick it away when he gets close.
  • Lack of Empathy: All three of them lack it to varying degrees, but the near soulless Angel Eyes is the worst.
  • Last Breath Bullet: ... Or not.
  • Laughably Evil: Tuco before Character Development.
  • Leave Him to Me: "Hey, Blondie, Angel Eyes is mine". Subverted when they burst in and find him gone. And later when Blondie deliberately breaks the promise.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Some scenes run long. Doesn't hurt the movie, instead adds to the epic feel of it.
  • Leitmotif: The main theme is turned into one for each protagonist (The Good's has a whistle, The Bad's an ocarina, and The Ugly's screamed — "AAAAAAAAH!").
  • Long List of Trangressions: Tuco's crimes.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Tuco, subverted with his new partner, by Blondie. And again literally left hanged at the ending... except Blondie comes back to shoot the rope from a very long distance, just for old times' sake.
  • Market-Based Title: Known in France as Le Bon, la Brute et le Truand (The Good, the Brute and the Thug).
  • Mle Trois: The premise.
  • Mexican Standoff: Famous for it. Also a subversion, as Blondie had unloaded Tuco's gun and knew to shoot Angel Eyes.
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: It rates a 5. There's some blood, but it's the brutality of the violence that puts it on this level. Tuco's (Eli Wallach) savage beating, complete with attempted eye-gouging, at the hands of Corporal Wallace (Mario Brega), Wallace's head being repeatedly bashed against a jagged rock by Tuco (and later his corpse being dragged for a while by a train that drives over it), and Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) shooting Baker (Livio Lorenzon) in the face through a pillow rank as the movie's most cruel moments. Other than that, the gun violence is pretty clean and bloodless, and there's no gore at all.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The climax is probably the most epic scene of three guys standing motionless and staring at each other ever filmed.
  • Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: Angel Eyes is what happens when this guy becomes The Heavy and gives his employers the boot.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Tuco in the bathtub.
  • Never Learned to Read: Tuco, in one particularly humorous exchange between him and Blondie.
    Tuco: (finding a note that Angel Eyes had left behind for them) "See you soon, id-id-ids..."
    Blondie: (takes the note) "'Idiots.' It's for you."
    • Tuco reading the "Unknown" grave in Sad Hill Cemetery is also priceless: "Un-k... un-k... there's no name on it!"
  • Nice Hat: Blondie and Angel Eyes both sport very nice cowboy hats.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Tuco's torture scene at the Union prison camp. Immediately preceded by a nice dinner.
    • Later on in the film, Tuco delivers a shorter but arguably more brutal one to his torturer by throwing him from a moving train and repeatedly slamming his head against a rock until he dies.
  • No Name Given:
    • "Blondie", the eponymous Good, is a nickname, used only by Tuco; his real name is never mentioned, and the character is known as the Man With No Name in popular culture.
    • Also, "Angel Eyes", the eponymous Bad. The latter is also referred to as Sentenza, which isn't his true name either.
  • Not Quite Dead: That very first bounty hunter.
  • Offscreen Teleportation
  • Oh Crap!:
    • Displayed by Baker, the old man who paid Angel Eyes to get information on the gold stash at the beginning of the film, when he finds out Angel Eyes wasn't joking about coming to kill him.
    • Tuco, when he realizes that the soldiers whom he has mistaken for Confederates are actually Unions in disguise with coatings of gray dust on their uniforms.
    • Tuco's reaction upon noticing the hangman's noose that Blondie has set up for him just after he has dug up the gold, and then again when Blondie shows up to attempt a long-distance cutting of the same rope with a bullet and Tuco thinks he's going to get shot instead of the rope around his neck.
  • One Last Smoke: Blondie and the dying soldier.
  • One-Liner: Almost all of the dialogue.
  • Only in It for the Money: All three characters, but especially Angel Eyes.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: It is set in the Civil War, after all.
  • Overly Long Name: Tuco Benedicto Paci­fico Juan Maria Ramirez, "known as the Rat"
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: What Blondie does to Tuco (among others).
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Blondie gets three; petting a kitten, comforting the dying soldier and telling the dying Captain to keep his ears open.
    • Arguably also coming back to shoot the rope so Tuco doesn't die. Even though he's the one who put Tuco in that situation, he also left him with his share of the gold and just took the opportunity to get a nice head start.
    • Tuco gets one, when he meets with his brother and gives a shockingly eloquent defense for the life he's lived and the choices he's made.
    • Immediately after that, when riding away from his brother's monastery with Blondie, he begins to gush about how close he and his brother are in spite of how they'd just had a loud fight. It's unclear if he's trying to save face or if it's his way of expressing affection, but it's rather sweet nonetheless. Blondie even seems to play along, despite having heard everything.
    • Angel Eyes gets one in the extended version, where he appears to show sadness at the sight of several wounded soldiers at a fort, before allowing the sergeant he has questioned to keep the alcohol he used to bribe him with.
  • Popcultural Osmosis: The music, the last 15 minutes, hell, even the title have all permeated pop culture.
  • PoW Camp: Blondie and Tuco end up in a Union POW camp after their scavenging of Confederate uniforms backfires on them. Angel Eyes is running the show. It's nasty.
  • Prequel: For the earlier Dollars movies. Blondie doesn't begin this movie wearing the trademark poncho he wears by film's end, which carries over to A Fistful of Dollars. The latter movie also has a tombstone with the date of death as 1873, and the American Civil War was fought ten years before that, in 18611865, so it is reasonable to assume that this is actually the Prequel.
  • Professional Killer: Angel Eyes is equal parts bounty hunter, mercenary, and assassin.
  • Psycho for Hire: Angel Eyes, who enjoys killing and torturing people every bit as much as he enjoys the money he makes from it.
  • Quick Draw: No Western movie is complete without this.
  • The Quiet One: Blondie only speaks when he needs to.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Tuco uses a pink woman's parasol against the desert sun.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Union Captain who actually runs Betterville Prison Camp tries to treat prisoners fairly; Angel Eyes pointedly ignores him.
  • Recurring Riff: One of the most famous.
  • Red Baron: Tuco is also known as The Rat.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Tuco (red) and Blondie (blue)
  • Rule of Perception: The rule for this movie seems to be anything that isn't shown on camera is invisible, not just to the audience, but also to the characters. This explains how Tuco and Blondie manage to stumble right into a massive Union Army camp without seeing it from a distance.
  • Rule of Three: The movie is sort of a "fairy tale for grown-ups", so it contains this element. There are three main characters in the story (Tuco, Blondie and Angel Eyes), three satellite bads and uglies who got involved in the business with the gold in the first place (Baker, Stevens and Jackson), and Tuco is nearly hanged three times.
  • Sadist/Soft-Spoken Sadist: Angel Eyes
  • Scenery Porn: Lots of wide, sweeping shots of the enormous desert landscapes the characters travel through.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Oddly enough, Angel Eyes. One man hires him to kill another, and his target tries to pay him to kill the man who sent him. He accepts their money and kills them both, cementing him as an utter bastard. Because when he's paid, he always follows his job through. Which makes this a subversion, since he takes everybody's money while still refusing to go back on his word. And he later decides to go for the treasure himself.
  • Shooting Gallery: Tuco crawls out of the desert, staggers into a store and after angrily rejecting the revolvers he's offered, assembles a custom model from the stripped parts of other guns. The store owner suggests he test it out the back where he has three targets painted like Native Americans. Shooting from the hip, Tuco hits all three targets so they spin sideways, then shoots them again even through they're edge on to him. The store owner is impressed until Tuco secures a Ballistic Discount.
  • Shoot the Rope: Subverted; the "hero" in this case is Tuco, and the Big Damn Hero is Blondie.
  • Showdown at High Noon: The climactic three way standoff in the cemetery.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The movie takes place during Sibley's New Mexico Campaign of 1862; Sibley himself appears briefly, the Union commander, Edward Canby, is mentioned and characters reference the Battles of Apache Pass and Glorieta. On the other hand, the forces involved weren't anywhere near as large as Leone implies; Sibley's expedition numbered only about 2,000 men, mostly cavalry and mounted infantry, compared with the movie's cast-of-thousands trench battles.
    • Tuco takes a stock from one brand of gun, a revolving chamber from another, and a barrel from another brand yet and makes a working and highly accurate gun. Because of the standardization of handgun parts by the mid-1800s, this is completely plausible, if unusual in practice.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Blondie with cigars, Angel Eyes with his pipe.
  • The Sociopath: Angel Eyes. Less so in the extended cut, where he appears to show sympathy for the wounded Confederate troops at an isolated fort.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Blondie, who is much more ruthless than Tuco.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Wallace, Angel Eyes' Torture Technician. Angel Eyes himself does an amazing impression.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: See Curse Cut Short.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The hauntingly beautiful "Story of a Soldier" is played while Tuco is brutally tortured.
  • The Starscream: One of the first things Angel Eyes does is murder Baker, who hired him to kill Stevens.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Subverted. The bounty hunter who tried unsuccessfully to kill Tuco right at the beginning of the movie locates him again much later, in the bath, naked. He's clearly got the jump on him, but can't resist going into a speech about how glad he is to have finally cornered him. Tuco immediately whips out the revolver around his neck and kills him, saying to the corpse, "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk." A memorable Throw It In by Eli Wallach.
  • Talk to the Fist: "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
  • Tempting Fate: When Tuco sees troops in gray coming towards him and Tuco and decides to greet them, he yells, "God is with us because he hates the Yanks, too!" Turns out, the uniforms are gray from the dust. Before the revelation, and after Tuco's proclamation, Blondie proceeds to lampshade this by saying, "God is not on our side 'cause he hates idiots also."
  • Thanatos Gambit: Blondie pretends to write a name of the grave where the gold is buried on the bottom of a rock. After the climatic showdown, Blondie tells Tuco that there was no name on the rock because the grave where the gold was has no name. Had Angel Eyes succeeded in killing Blondie and Tuco, he would have no leads to search for the gold. Then again, they were at Arch Stanton's grave a few minutes earlier, which was right next to the unmarked grave, so unless Angel Eyes is a complete idiot and doesn't put two and two together, it's unlikely this backup plan would've succeeded.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: Tuco's Catch Phrase, always with a different ending. Most of them don't make a whole lot of sense. Also used in an Ironic Echo at the end.
    Number One (by Tuco): There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend: those who have a rope around their neck, and the people who have the job of doing the cutting.
    Number Two (by Tuco): There are two kinds of spurs, my friend: those that come in by the door... those that come in by the window.
    Number Three (by Tuco): The world is divided into two kinds of people, those who have friends and those who are lonely like poor Tuco.
    Ironic Echo (by Blondie): You see, in this world, there are two kinds of people, my friend: those with loaded guns, and those who dig.
  • Third-Person Person: Tuco frequently refers to himself this way.
  • Torture Always Works: Subverted. Angel Eyes tortures Tuco for information, but not Blondie. Angel Eyes explains that this isn't because Blondie won't break under torture, but because he knows Blondie knows that talking won't save him, and thus is likely to lie.
  • Touch of the Monster: The Death Ray Vision type. Poor Maria.
  • Travel Montage: Quite a few throughout the film.
  • Two Halves Make a Plot: Tuco is just about to kill his old partner Blondie, but then ends up getting distracted by a runaway carriage and, upon investigating, hearing one half of a dying man's testimony about hidden treasure and its location, before getting distracted and Blondie hearing the other half. Tuco learns the name of the graveyard it's in, Blondie learns the name on the grave it's buried in.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: Angel Eyes
  • Villainy Discretion Shot: Again, if you believe the list of crimes associated with Tuco read by the executioners.
  • War Is Hell: The American Civil War is integral to the fabric of the film, and Leone is here to serve it up raw. This is remarkable in a film known primarily as a classic Western. Tattered armies in retreat. Exhausted, demoralized drunken commanders, chaos, dirt and abandoned bodies in the sun. Corn cobs to eat, scabrous prison camps, and summary justice meted out on the streets. The trope is perhaps most strongly in play during the futile fight for a bridge that Blondie and Tuco witness. An unremarked mass of shallow war graves make up the film's final setting.
    Blondie: I've never seen so many men wasted so badly.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In order to show how evil The Bad is, Angel Eyes relentlessly beats up a girl towards the beginning of the film. However, according to an interview with Lee Van Cleef, he refused to actually hit her, so they had to use his stunt man for that scene.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Angel Eyes killing Stevens' son. To be fair, the boy had a rifle.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life:
    • Blondie remarks upon this after seeing a clash between Union and Confederate troops over a contested bridge.
    • Angel Eyes originally had a moment like this where he would look sadly at a group of dead soldiers, but it was removed in the final cut, probably because it took away from his uncaring and ruthless nature. It can be seen in the extended edition though.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Almost a literal one; what happened to the kitten Blondie was petting before he finds Tuco in the deserted village?
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Invoked by Tuco, when he kills the guy who wanted to kill him for causing him to lose his arm.
    • Earlier in the film, Tuco warns Blondie that if his bullet doesn't hit the rope, it should at least hit the former's head.
    Tuco: But if you miss, you had better miss very well. Whoever double-crosses me and leaves me alive, he understands nothing about Tuco. Nothing!
  • Widescreen Shot: The graveyard shot is a notable one.


Alternative Title(s): The Good The Bad And The Ugly