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Headscratchers / The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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  • During the scene where Blondie and Tuco are watching the Union and Confederacy fight over the contested bridge, they are forced to duck away from incoming mortar fire. They take refuge behind what they quickly discover are crates full of dynamite. Not ten seconds after this revelation a wounded soldier is brought in five feet behind them and a doctor begins prepping for an operation. Uh, doc? Maybe you should move wounded men away from high explosives before trying to save their lives?
    • perhaps a bit too close yes.
    • To be fair, it's a primitive battlefield triage. They don't exactly have the luxury or picking and choosing where they're going to operate, since they can't move the patients very far very quickly without risking them dying in transit. It's a place behind cover making it difficult for anyone to see (and thus shoot) them, which automatically makes it better than out in the open, so needs must, really.
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    • But just remember, dynamite wasn't invented yet, the boxes say explosives and they contain black powder sticks Also, One of the famous stylistic elements of this film is that nothing in its universe exists until Leone puts it in the frame. That convention begins with the opening scene when a empty ghost town is populated by a pan onto a man's face in closeup. The Union pickets didn't exist until they appeared on a previously empty road to capture Tuco and Blondie, who then step off the road and into the massive trenchworks which had not existed only moments before.
    • Things appear when and where they are needed in order to advance the story. Those events create an otherworldly aura for the whole film, and personally I think the technique enhances the willing suspension of disbelief.
  • How come Blondie hasn't been issued his own "Wanted!" Poster, since he keeps helping Tuco escape? Or Angel Eyes, for that matter - leaving witnesses alive seems as if it would be pretty counterproductive for an assassin.
    • Perhaps Angel Eyes is able to protect himself with his apparently good standing with the military. Blondie is usually off in the distance during hangings, and his partners don't seem to make it out well sometimes, so they couldn't rat him out. As for the both of them, maybe they DO have wanted posters, and we just don't see them.
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    • Blondie doesn't really seem to do anything that would put a bounty on his head, other than helping Tuco escape (and, as noted, that's from a distance, where few can make him out). There's perhaps a reason he's identified as the "Good", after all; he's not exactly a decent man, but he doesn't go out of his way to commit crimes against other people.
  • At the end of the movie, they dig up the grave with the name Blondie gave, but it's just a normal coffin with a body in it. He tells them he'll write the real name under a rock. So wait a minute... Why did Angel Eyes and Tuco think that Blondie just happened to know the name of somebody else who was buried at that graveyard, so he could give an accurate fake name? Surely they would have known immediately that he was lying. After all, Blondie didn't even know which graveyard they were headed to.
    • I don't think Tuco was blessed with the abundance of brains to figure the ploy, so it would make sense that it would never occur to him. As for Angel-Eyes, he was never directly involved when the information was being parsed out, and therefore didn't have all the pieces to the puzzle to figure it out. Maybe.
    • It wasn't just anyone else. Blondie told Tuco the gold was in Arch Stanton's grave. In actuality, the dying soldier had told him it was next to Arch Stanton's grave, in a grave marked unknown. This way, even if Tuco begins digging in the false grave, Blondie would at least know he's in the right graveyard.
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    • Related question: What's Blondie supposed to write with, and why would Angel Eyes trust him to write anything at all? As, indeed, he does not.
    • Write with is easy - he just scratches it with another rock.
    • Also, he knew somebody named Arch Stanton was buried there. There's no way he could have guessed that randomly, so he must know something.
    • For all they know, the dying soldier told Blondie the name of the grave it was buried in, but added that it was next to Arch Stanton's grave to make it easier for him to find.
  • This isn't a plot point, but it is something that has persistently bugged me about the movie. What exactly does it deconstruct about Western black-and-white morality? To put it in TV Tropes terms, I guess you could call it a subversion, but it doesn't poke any big holes in the genuinely honorable "white hat" hero; it just (as far as I can tell) has an amoral con artist where the hero would normally be while pitting him against even worse enemies. On the other hand, I seem to be in a small minority in not seeing it, so maybe someone can explain what I'm missing.
    • Well, there's a morally ambiguous "hero", an extremely unambiguous villain and a third character who isn't much better than the villain but more likeable than either of the others (and who is the main protagonist). So at least it's more complex than Black-and-White Morality.
    • Italowesterns in general and the dollars trilogy in detail deconstruct the idea of a unreasonably good and fast gunslinger, which is almost impossible to kill or bring down. A guy that invincible has no one to answer to and can't be made responsible for anything. Therefore he can do whatever he likes, totally ignoring all limitations put on him by law enforcement. That's the reason why Blondie is "The Good" only through worse antagonists, and why he is short of a full blown sociopath (he shot some men in the beginning of A Fistful of Dollars for insulting his mule).
      • Actually he demanded that they apologize (to the mule, so that the mule wouldn't kick their asses), and they stopped laughing and reached for their guns, so he killed them.
      • Wrong, wrong, wrong, he deliberately aggravated a group of men who wouldn't hesitate to shoot him, basically outright stated he was going to kill them before even approaching them ("Get three coffins ready"), and then proceeds to kill them, and all for a offhand comment about his mule.
      • Wrong again, have you seen the film? First of all, the four men he killed were the Baxters, who are gunrunning criminals. The only reason we sympathize with them when the Rojos wipe them out is the brutality of the Rojos, and the fact that they are not shown to be as much of a complete monster as the Rojos. Second of all, it was not unprovoked as other tropers claim. In case you forgot, the men did more than just make fun of the mule. They also insulted the guy, threatened him, and shot at his mule. In the end, Blondie is a deconstruction of the Good is nice trope and the cliche that greed is evil, but also a deconstruction of the cliche that pragmatism means not being moral or good. Blondie is a pragmatist, willing to do dirty and down right evil things who only cares about money. He is willing to kill the Baxters to get the attention of the Rojos. He is willing to fuck over his partner Tuco. He does not care about the law, and would rather to tell Colonel Douglas Mortimer to fuck off and stay away from his bounty than work together with him and see justice done. Yet he is also not completely without mercy or morals. He gives away his money to the family that the Rojos' destroyed, helping the wife escape. He could have let El Indio kill Mortimer to keep the bounty for himself, yet he lets Mortimer have his revenge and duel with El Indio. He could have left Tuco with nothing like before, yet he leaves the guy a horse and half the treasure. Blondie deconstructs the idea that a good person has to be moral and fair.
      • In the corresponding scene in Yojimbo, Sanjuro gets the same effect by approaching a group of hardened killers and telling them they have "gentle faces," and that anger makes them look "even sweeter."
      • This could also be a case of "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny. The Good The Bad and the Ugly may not look like a deconstruction compared to say, Unforgiven, but when you compare it to the average American western circa 1966, the conduct of the protagonists looks considerably more morally ambiguous.
    • I see it not only as a deconstruction of westerns but as a deconstruction of the entire film medium itself. In many ways, "gbu" is essentially a minimalist film. It takes everything you would find in a typical movie and reduces it to its bare essentials. The characters are reduced to moral labels, and the plot is basically an excuse to get them to interact until they are finally pit against each other. Even being so simple, it is everything that a great movie should ever hope to be. By deconstructing the entire film medium, it defines the heart of every movie ever made, leaves everything else out, and blows it up to epic proportions with the use of amazing storytelling.
  • If The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is meant to be a prequel to A Fistful Of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More — which can be inferred by the Civil War aspect of its story and the Man With No Name not having his famous poncho until the end of the movie — then why does Clint Eastwood's character still do bounty hunting? At the end of the movie Blondi (as Tuco calls him) walks off with 100,000 dollars, which if adjusted for inflation and interest would make him a multimillionaire in today's money, he should have been able to live a fairly easy life after that. He is shown to be an opportunist so I guess that much money wasn't enough for him?
    • Maybe someone set upon him and took the money.
    • Or he could be one of those types of guys who can't live the quiet, easy life; tried it, got restless, ended up riding into the wild again.
    • If that was the case, then why would Manco mention that he was looking to retire in For A Few Dollars More?
    • If you accept the (dreadful) prologue scene filmed for the American broadcast of A Fistful of Dollars, then Blondie was arrested at some point; he must have lost his fortune in the process.
    • The simpler view is that the film is not a prequel, and the characters don't exist in the same continuity at all. Blondie's too smart and self-interested to blow a fortune that size, or even to stay in that part of the country in wartime after making so much. If it is a prequel then it ends with a massive irony...since Blondie ends with a fortune in gold; but Manco ends For a Few Dollars More with a much smaller Confederate paper money.
    • Well, if you consider the comics to be canon, he decided "Screw the Money, I Have Rules!", and gave it to Tuco's brother's church because they needed it more than he did.
  • Shouldn't Tuco have noticed his gun was empty? He took it out of its holster just before the big climax, and any experienced gunman knows the difference between the weight of an empty gun or a loaded gun. And don't just say it's because he's stupid, because he actually made that gun and he's a master when it comes to street smarts.
    • Technically, he doesn't take it, he has it tied on a rope. When he "takes" it, he actually grabs the rope and pulls it up. That could have tricked him about the weight difference.
      • On that note would Tuco have tried to shoot Blondie if his gun did have bullets or was he going for an Enemy Mine where he and Blondie would double team Angel Eyes? Tuco came off as having some what of a Fire-Forged Friends thing going on with Blondie near the end.
      • He aims at Angel Eyes. The only question is would he have shot Blondie afterwards?
      • He spent much of the movie's first half trying to kill him until Blondie accidentally got a secret Tuco needed, so I say he definitely would have killed him.
      • Also, after Blondie shoots Angel Eyes the first time, Tuco is desperately fanning his empty gun...and pointing it up at belly or chest height, not down on the ground where Angel Eyes has fallen. So I think he is trying to kill Blondie at that point.
      • When Blondie recocks his hammer, Tuco hears it and looks up in his direction— a different direction. He had been aiming at Angel Eyes.
  • Is Tuco really guilty of the vast majority of the crimes he is accused of committing during each of the attempts to hang him? I'm not saying he isn't a criminal because he clearly is but morally speaking he doesn't seem all that different from Blondie's character and so I'm assuming he isn't necessarily all that bad a guy.
    • Considering the con he's running with Blondie, it wouldn't be surprising if he's claimed credit for some crimes he hasn't actually committed in order to drive up his bounty. Alternately, he is that bad a guy, and it just wasn't important for the plot that the audience actually see him committing those crimes.
    • At the last hanging, the announcer says the condemned spontaneously confessed, and Tuco was pretty clearly embellishing by this point:
    ...murder, assaulting a justice of the peace, raping a virgin of the white race, statutory rape of a minor of the black race, derailing a train....robbing an unknown number of post offices....selling fugitive slaves....and misrepresenting himself as a Mexican general....
  • Why did Tuco and Blondie need to blow up that bridge to get across the river? I assumed they weren't just leaving because they needed the bridge to get across, but then they destroyed the bridge to make the armies leave. Why? Why not just go up or downriver a bit and cross there? It's not like the armies wouldn't let them go, as soon as the bridge was destroyed they left without them.
    • They were conscripted for as long as that bridge was there- they were let go because the bridge was gone. Plus crossing up or downriver carries several dangers (eg. running into troops, running into Angel Eyes, stray mortar, etc.). But aside from all that, the battle for the bridge was "a senseless waste of human life", and Blondie at least has something of a conscience; Tuco less so, but he agrees that it would be better for everyone if the bridge vanished, and Blondie might just be a good / bad / ugly influence on him in that respect.
    • The battle was over control of the bridge. Without the bridge, there's no reason for either side to fight a pitched battle anymore, but both sides do still bombard the other with artillery after the bridge is destroyed.
    • The captain says he'd like to see the bridge destroyed because of the senselessness of fighting for it. When he was mortally wounded, Blondie decides to grant his dying wish.
  • Why do the Confederate prisoners play music for the camp guards when they know that every time they do, one of their own is tortured? If they refuse to play, the guards cannot beat up prisoners without it being heard throughout the camp, and it's not as if the guards can threaten them to play because the commandant is quite firmly against brutality and would probably stand up for his prisoners if only they would voice their fears and suspicions.
    • I think the implication is play unless you want to be next.
    • The above troper is correct. Watch the scene again, and see the boy who initially stops playing his fiddle. The guards pretty blatantly threaten him to continue, or he's gonna be in for a bad time. The fiddler reluctantly complies.
  • The scene where Tuco pulls the revolver from under the soap suds... how was it still operable? I didn't post this in Fridge Logic because some types of guns are waterproof... but I don't think such existed at the time the film is set?
    • It might have just been in the suds and not in the water itself.
    • When Tuco first makes his new gun, he listens to the clicks. It's possible he was checking if it was waterproof.
      • He was listening to the cylinder stop, to check how well it would lock up the cylinder when firing, and not end up dropping the hammer between chambers, or slightly out of line with the barrel. Then again, these guns are sometimes anachronistic as they switch between period-correct cap and ball guns (not at all waterproof) and cartridge converted guns (about 5 years or so early), which have some chance to resist water.
  • Blondie knew he had tampered with Tuco's gun, so the only threat to him in the duel was Angel Eyes. Why then did he wait so long for Angel Eyes to make the first move when he could have just shot him quickly? In fact, why call the duel at all if he could have just shot Angel Eyes while following Tuco to the graveyard?
    • The Man with No Name was playing a serious Batman Gambit with Tuco. Yes, he unloaded Tuco's gun, but there was always the possibility of Tuco checking his gun at any point before the big stand off. Had Tuco checked, things would have been a lot more suspenseful. The Man with No Name knew this, and took the risk.
    • It's possible Blondie was just following his moral code. Throughout the movie he doesn't shoot anyone until they try to shoot him.
    • To the last question - Blondie looks genuinely surprised when Angel Eyes shows up and tosses the shovel...and at that point Angel Eyes has the drop on him. So I don't think Blondie really has a chance to shoot him before the duel. On the other hand, since Angel Eyes saw them at the gravesite (which he assumed was the right one), I wonder why he didn't just shoot them in the back, or better still pick them off at long range with the rifle he was carrying on his horse.
      • One possibility is pure sadism...he thinks he's holding all the cards, and he likes the idea of forcing them to dig up the money, then die at his hands, humiliated and knowing they were beaten.
  • "Every gun makes its own tune." Blondie heard Tuco's gun in the desert (when he shot his hat and canteen), but between then and the time Blondie utters this line, they've been captured and disarmed. Tuco escapes the train with no weapon at hand except Wallace's sidearm (which doesn't work when he tries to shoot off his handcuffs). So...leaving aside whether it's realistic for Blondie to recognize an individual gun by sound did Tuco end up with his old gun?
    • It is possible that Tuco's old gun was also custom-made from parts of different guns, and he made the new one to be just like the old one, hence the same sound.
  • How is it possible that nobody noticed Tuco escaping by shoving Wallace out of the train? Not there were at least a dozen people both in front and behind their train car (and even one soldier sitting on top of their car), and all of them were facing the direction they fell.
    • This. It is so insanely jarring.
    • They DO notice. They're on a Civil War era train moving at a fairly high rate of speed dragging a large amount of cars. It takes MILES for a train like that to stop, they presumably figured by the time they got back Tuco would be long gone, and given there was another train very close behind them they didn't want to risk a train collision.


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