1966. dir. Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef.
Seen it before? No.
Ahh ee ahh ee ahh - wah wah wah
That was my attempt to transcribe Ennio Morricone's score from this movie, which is arguably the definitive Western movie score (well, this or The Magnificent Seven.) This is the third movie in Sergio Leone's "Man With No Name" trilogy of so-called "Spaghetti" westerns, so named because they were shot in Europe with a mostly Italian cast. I say trilogy, but they are very loosely linked; it's mostly just Clint Eastwood playing the same part in all three. It's a totally stand-alone plot.
So why did we see this one first? Because it's the only one on Blu-ray yet. For A Few Dollars More is supposedly coming soon, and Fistful of Dollars isn't on our list so we'll see if we end up watching it or not.
There's basically only three characters in this movie: The Good ("Blondie", Clint Eastwood), The Bad ("Angel Eyes", Lee Van Cleef) and The Ugly (Tuco, Eli Wallach). These names aren't appropriate. I didn't think Tuco was particularly ugly, and I definitely didn't think Blondie was good. Why not? Well let's see... he shoots a bunch of people, he helps Tuco flee from justice repeatedly (and steals the reward money), he abandons Tuco in the desert, he steals a stretcher from a wounded Union soldier. He's really just as bad as the other two.
The three of them are all in pursuit of a cache of gold coins worth $200,000 abandoned by a dying Confederate soldier. Meanwhile the Civil War is still happening, so that keeps getting in the way. None of the characters seem sympathetic to either the Union or the Confederacy, although somehow Angel Eyes is in charge of a Union prison camp. I didn't understand how that was possible, since he only seems to be there when the plot requires him to be.
This is a very odd movie. I kept getting mood whiplash from the movie turning on a dime from comedy to drama. I mean, the plot is pretty silly, if you think about it, and I constantly was yelling "Just Shoot Him!" at various characters. Clint Eastwood is unbelievably lucky to have survived the whole movie, since on two separate occasions, somebody had him completely trapped, and could have just shot him, but then he got rescued by some improbable deus ex machina. Like the scene where the hotel gets blown up by a cannonball. That was hilarious when it happened in Blues Brothers, but then in this movie we see all this dead-serious stuff with wounded soldiers and it's hard to tell what to think.
Position on the list: 4(!!!!!)
I think that's: Way way way way way too high. I mean, this was a pretty good movie, but fourth best movie ever made? Really? I don't even think this is the fourth best Western ever made.