Following in the tradition of great What Culture arguments for films such as Jurassic Park, Star Wars and Jaws, it’s now time for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly to step forward and shoot all contenders down for the prestigious title of greatest film of all time. No other film is as iconic, as epic or as purely cinematic as Sergio Leone’s 1966 spaghetti western, which combines everything that’s remarkable about about the work of the late Italian director into one astonishing piece of filmmaking.
Here’s 50 reasons why The Good, the Bad and the Ugly might just be the greatest film of all time.
1. Clint Eastwood as Blondie (Aka: The Man With No Name/The Good)
Where better to start than Clint Eastwood’s effortlessly cool return as The Man With No Name, or as he is actually named here, Blondie. A man of few words, Eastwood’s persona has become the template for the classic cinema anti-hero – often switching between being a savior one minute to a sardonic and mean-spirited hardass the next. Leone also made sure never to reveal the background of the character, smartly leaving the origins and motive of him up to the audience and adding to the overall mystery surrounding the character.
The character would define and inspire many of Clint’s later roles such as the similarly tough Harry Callaghan in ‘Dirty Harry’, while he would also inspire other characters outside of Eastwood’s films, such as Snake Plissken in ‘Escape From New York’ – which comes complete with an appearance by Lee Van Cleef.
2. It’s A Good Threequel
Third entries in beloved series of films often have a reputation of being the worst – notable examples include ‘The Godfather III’, ‘Spider-Man 3′ and ‘Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines’. It’s the complete opposite with Leone’s ‘Dollars Trilogy’, with each entry in the series being bigger, better and even more grandiose than the one that came before it.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly isn’t just the best film of the entire trilogy, but one of the best threequels ever made.
3. Quote -Tuco on Blondie
“I’m looking for the owner of that horse. He’s tall, blonde, he smokes a cigar, and he’s a pig!” – Tuco
4. Sergio Leone
Known primarily for his spaghetti westerns, Leone breathed life into the tired genre with his wildly cinematic and iconic films, only to then again redefine the western with the magnificent ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’. Beginning with ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ in 1964, his ‘Dollars Trilogy’ is comprised of three of the greatest westerns ever made – all of which are full of his operatic and stylish directorial flourishes.
Like many of the best directors, his style of film-making is still incredibly unique and distinctive to this day. Many of his trademarks, such as mixing extreme close-ups with sweeping long shots, or his love for staging epic sequences which make strong use of sound and music as well as incredible visual imagery have become hugely influential to modern filmmakers. Directors like Martin Scorsese, John Carpenter and Robert Rodriquez have all cited Leone’s style as a huge influence on their own films.
5. Scene – The Hanging
Tuco and Blondie’s elaborate scheme to cheat several towns out of reward money for the capture of Tuco gives The Good, the Bad and the Ugly some of its funniest moments. Their dysfunctional partnership sees Tuco handing himself in to the law (the list of committed crimes is never ending) with Blondie shooting the rope just as Tuco is set to hang, in order for the pair to split the reward.
Tuco’s abusive tirade to Blondie is classic (“You’re the son of a thousand fathers!”) as is Blondie’s shooting gallery trick on the hats of the town folk – the cocky scamp.
We are currently seeking Film contributors on WhatCulture. To find out more about the perks of being a Film contributor, click here.