If there ever was a template for the modern movie then this would be that film. It has everything from the epic story complete with many twists and turns, characters with plenty of depth and an epic soundtrack by the great film composer Ennio Morricone. The films stars Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach (Who I knew from Mork and Mindy) and Lee Van Cleef. The main idea is pretty basic. Three bounty hunters set out to find some hidden treasure but along the way they are constantly trying to outwit each other which makes for some interesting moments. It's the characters that make this film great. The way they interact with one another is genius especially between The Good, Blondie (Eastwood) and the Ugly, Tuco (Wallach) as they travel through a war torn America. That's the other interesting thing about this film, it's not the average cowboys and Indians style of western, it's more of a war film. The Civil War doesn't just serve as the backdrop for the film, it plays a pivotal role in the story as the three characters experience the brutality of war.
So, what is there to like. Well for starters, the depth of the characters is something to be admired. Say goodbye to the simple gunslinger of the John Wayne era of western and say hello to the kind of real character that we are familiar with in films of today. The Ugly is more than just, well, ugly. A greater level of depth is revealed when he meets up with his god fearing brother - some revelations about his childhood are revealed. which made me feel a bit of sympathy for the guy. The Good is not all good, in fact at times he comes across as a real jerk, especially to Tuco who gives back as good as he gets. Next we come to the Bad who is pretty much out and out bad but even he has a redeeming moment. He gives a bottle of whiskey to an injured soldier.
Another level of depth is added to this film thanks to the sweeping score by Ennio Morricone. He manages to bring out the three main characters by giving each one a piece of music all of there own. Some of the music is fun while other pieces are just epic.
It's the little touches of genius that help make this film a classic from the dialogue, the evolving story and of course the memorable characters. There's no doubting that the 161 min run time was needed to cram it all in.
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