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YMMV / The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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  • Accidental Innuendo: Tuco to Wallace: "I like big, fat men like you."
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Tuco guilty of all those crimes that are being read off just before he's hanged, or has he falsely admitted to these crimes to drive up his bounty, and make his and Blondie's scam more profitable?
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Orson Welles tried to talk Sergio Leone out of making the film, believing that Civil War films were box office poison (Gone with the Wind being the exception that proved the rule).
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  • Award Snub: Among many other things, two blog posts decided that Eli Wallach deserved the Oscar for Best Leading Actor 1966 as Tuco.
  • Awesome Music: "The Ecstasy of Gold" and "The Trio" play a large part in creating one of the most memorable finales in the history of film. The former in particular is so memorable that Metallica have used "The Ecstasy of Gold" to open their concerts since 1983. The opening theme is so iconic that one only need hear the first whistle to be immediately reminded of the Western genre, even if one has no idea where it came from.
  • Broken Base: The numerous changes made to the movie over the years tend to breed a fair bit of debate.
    • Is the American theatrical cut, which runs 16 minutes shorter than its Italian counterpart, a better movie because of its tighter pacing, or an incomplete experience with a few too many unanswered questions?
    • Does the cave scene belong in the movie? Most viewers say "no" because Sergio Leone himself removed it shortly after the movie's premiere, but it made it into the extended American cut anyway.
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    • Speaking of the extended American cut: should Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach have returned to dub themselves nearly 40 years later, or would it have been better to use soundalikes, as was done for the late Lee Van Cleef? Is the new 5.1 surround sound mix tolerable or does it destroy the whole movie?
    • Is the latest blu-ray release, which presents the movie with a strong yellow tint not found in previous releases, accurate to the way the movie was supposed to look in theaters? Supposedly the Technicolor print used as a reference for the blu-ray features the yellow tint, but other surviving prints appear more red, which is how previous transfers of the movie looked.
    • And of course, the longstanding debate about whether or not this film actually shares any sort of continuity with A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More or if the movies are only unified by the idea of the Man With No Name rather than one specific character.
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  • Complete Monster: Angel Eyes/Sentenza ("The Bad") from the International Cut is a sociopathic mercenary whose only concern is making as much money as possible. In the opening scenes of the film, he tracks down and murders a man at another's behest. When his victim offers him money if he will spare his life, Angel Eyes replies, "Once I'm been paid, I always see my job through to the end." He kills the man and his son, takes the money, and reports to his employer...whom he promptly kills, since he wants to keep the gold he's found out about for himself. He proceeds to beat the information about the location of the gold out of a hooker. Later on, he has Tuco tortured and watches with absolutely no emotion on his face. While this is going on, he has his men force the POWs to sing in order to cover up the sounds of their friends being tortured. He's less a character than he is Greed in a trench coat and cowboy hat. He's so bad that the other two main characters — no saints themselvesboth agree to shoot him in the three-way Mexican Standoff that ends the film, despite their extreme distaste for one another. Cold-blooded and without remorse, Angel Eyes will cross any lines, and commit any crime as long as he can make a profit doing it.
  • Designated Hero: Outside of a Pet the Dog moment here and there, Blondie's status as "the Good" is... pretty questionable. He mostly comes across well in comparison with his rivals, but he's also emotionally distant and not as personable as his bandido rival Tuco.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Tuco. He does almost too good a job of making the audience sympathise with him. Some fans even go so far as to forgive his charges of rape, murder, kidnapping, extortion, armed robbery, etc. It doesn't help that critics have painted him as the emotional heart of the movie.
  • Ear Worm: One of the most unforgettable musical scores in history. And by that we mean this.
  • Epic Riff: The flute part at the beginning of the main theme, which has become a standard invocation in any place trying to invoke the Old West. You can hear it in Super Mario Bros. music, of all places.
  • Even Better Sequel: All of the Dollars Trilogy is generally considered good, but The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is the best-known one. And for good reason.
  • Evil Is Cool: Angel Eyes might be an utter bastard, but damn if he isn't a badass.
  • Fan Discontinuity: The tie-in novels, which aren't even by the original authors, for Blondie's enigmatic past getting demystified and Tuco suffering a slight case of Flanderization in his only other official appearance, A Dollar to Die For.
  • Foe Yay: Blondie and Tuco, mostly carried through bizarre Does This Remind You of Anything? innuendo. They are really into tying each other up, Tuco bursts in on Blondie tenderly polishing his gun in his hotel room (not a euphemism), and while Blondie is talking to the naked Tuco in the bathtub, he smirks, while suggestively playing with the end of a bedpost. This is almost certainly intentional, as Sergio Leone made them share a bed for the whole of filming as Enforced Method Acting. Quentin Tarantino, who was heavily influenced by the film, claims to ship it a lot.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: This isn't the last time Clint Eastwood would go treasure hunting while there's a war going on around him.
  • Hollywood Homely: He's scruffy and unkempt, but for a man branded "The Ugly", Tuco is actually rather handsome. Many fans like to explain this designation as him being ugly on the inside.
  • Hype Backlash: There has been a slowly increasing amount of backlash towards the movie in the past few years, with people calling it overrated and boring.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Tuco. It's somewhat ironic that the most sympathetic and likable character is the one who's most morally ambiguous.
  • Love to Hate: Angel Eyes.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The Man with No Name. See the main page for details.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: Angel Eyes crossed the line at the beginning of the movie, killing the son of the man he was hired to kill. It's one thing to kill the man himself, as that was just business ("When I'm paid, I always see the job through."); he didn't have to kill anyone else beyond those he was hired to kill (yes, those–just before dying, Stevens pays Angel Eyes to bump off the guy that sent him to do the deed). Although the boy came running down the stairs behind him, rifle drawn, Angel Eyes was too smart to chance that the boy would be too scared to pull the trigger.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The Union Captain at the bridge fight. He transitions from a comedic drunk to a tragic figure within a five minute span.
    • Pablo Ramirez. His one scene provides a massive factor in his brother's development, and makes him just as interesting.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Some fans have come up with "Blonco" (Blondie/Tuco) by coincidence.
  • Sequel Displacement: The last film of the trilogy is generally more well-known than the previous two.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: The first 45 minutes are just Blondie and Tuco's shenanigans, with a minor sub-plot involving Angel Eyes searching for a guy who ultimately becomes a plot point. It's only about the 45-minute mark that Blondie and Tuco finally find out about the buried gold and begin searching for it. Strangely, this is a case where this was not only done deliberately, but it works on a level that allows the film to build atmosphere and character, and even if you get bored by the first part, the main plot just gets better, to the point where the greatest scene in the whole film is saved for the very end.
  • Stoic Woobie:
    • Blondie as he's crossing the desert, dehydrated. Even if you know that he always wins in the end, you can't help but feel a little bad for him here.
    • Pablo Ramirez is emotionally restrained, but he had grown up in poverty, and within the film's timeline he has been silently coping with his parents' death and despairing the loss of his wayward brother's perspective.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • In an ultimate example that involves Evil Gloating interrupted with a Talk to the Fist, the One-Armed Bounty Hunter that caught Tuco while the latter was taking a bath. Tuco even mentioned that if he was going to shoot him, shoot. Don't talk.
    • Tuco himself became an example earlier, when he could have hanged Blondie faster (and tied his hands) instead of just sat there monologuing, but given his obsessive Foe Yay sadism, it's sort of understandable on his part.
    • Both Angel Eyes and Tuco theoretically could guess the money was at least somewhere near Arch Stanton's grave. Otherwise, how did he know there was an Arch Stanton in the graveyard? Possibly justified in that neither have enough time to really think about before the Mexican Standoff. On top of that, it would be a lot easier to just learn the name instead of digging up several graves until they find the right one.
    • Even Blondie isn't immune to a bout of idiocy. When he decides his gambit with Tuco has run its course, he just leaves him out to die the desert instead of just letting him hang the next round. Because of his rule of only killing in self defense, and that he was positive the bandit, with his impatient and impulsive nature, and bound tight with rope, wouldn't survive out in the heat, this mistake almost costs him his life. He clearly took for granted Tuco's admonishment.
    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!
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Blondie comforting the dying Confederate soldier. Clint Eastwood claimed he knew his days of making movies with Sergio Leone were over when they filmed it.
  • The Woobie:
    • Maria. In the few minutes she's on screen she's dumped out on the street by drunken revellers, and then beaten by Angel Eyes, enough indication of the poor girl's hard life.
    • The Union Captain with the gangrene eating away at his leg. He wants desperately for his prison camp to be a humane one, but he's powerless to stop Angel Eyes and Corporal Wallace from torturing prisoners.
    • The Union Captain played by Aldo Giuffre. He's caught up in a war that he knows is pointless, especially the feud over the bridge, and he's mortally wounded in battle. Even Tuco, if only just in a brief glance, appears to show some pity for him as he lies suffering on a stretcher.


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