20 Things You Didn't Know About The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

A fistful of facts about one of the greatest westerns in cinema history.

Eli Wallach The Good The Bad And The Ugly
United Artists

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly needs no introduction. Sergio Leone's epic tale of 3 gunslingers competing to find fortune amongst the chaos of the American Civil War is a brutal and unflinching look at an exceptionally violent chapter in American history, but somehow retains a sense of swashbuckling, adventuring fun.

Clint Eastwood's Blondie and Eli Wallach's Tuco carry the film with an almost buddy comedy-like energy, while Lee Van Cleef's villainous Angel Eyes lurks in the background, stealing every scene he's in despite his scant screen time. With Leone's distinctive directorial style and Ennio Morricone's legendary musical score, the film has served as one of the most memorable and influential films of all time.

Aside from the film itself, the making of The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is utterly fascinating. An unusual and often chaotic project, the production was beset by language barriers, tensions between cast and crew, and several near-death experiences for its stars. We've unearthed a few of these, and they're far more worth finding than any stash of Confederate gold.

20. Orson Welles Tried To Dissuade Sergio Leone From Making The Film

Eli Wallach The Good The Bad And The Ugly
Warner Bros.

During pre-production for The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, legendary filmmaker Orson Welles warned Sergio Leone against making the film, as Civil War movies were "box office poison". Ever since 1935's So The Red Rose failed to perform, films set during the Civil War (with the exception of Gone With The Wind) were largely unsuccessful.

Leone studied the photography of Matthew Brady, a prolific 19th century photographer, whose documentation of the American Civil War is considered the most comprehensive available. He insisted that his film would be much more historically accurate than previous American-made westerns set during the conflict.

Despite being shot in Spain and starring a mostly Italian cast, the film was indeed much more accurate and authentic than its predecessors, give or take a few anachronisms.


Neo-noir enjoyer, lover of the 1990s Lucasarts adventure games and detractor of just about everything else. An insufferable, over-opinionated pillock.