Recently Viewed: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This is a post about movies and movie ratings and cowboys and violence, and a renegade bum.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, or as it was titled in Italian: “Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo” is a movie which will draw you in. It tells a story of three men on the trail of buried treasure. Each of them has qualities and skills. Each man has his own story, a life’s path which happens to collide with the others.

There’s the Good, played by the now legendary Clint Eastwood. His path takes him to the treasure because he tries to help a dying man. The dying man imparts some knowledge to the Good and he keeps the knowledge through the film, only giving hints to the other two men seeking the treasure at times he feels it prudent.

There’s the Bad, played by the equally legendary Lee Van Cleef, whose character kills men, women, and children indiscriminately. His character is known as “Angel Eyes” and his role is the one I think should have given the film it’s R rating. As soon as he’s introduced, we see him murder a family. It’s clear from the beginning, he has no interest in other humans. His is the Sociopathic Irony, since he wants the gold, the treasure, but he doesn’t want any other humans to stand in his way. If the world had no other humans, the gold could have only a subjective value. It would quickly become worthless without other humans around to give it that objective value. 

Last, but certainly not least or less legendary, is Eli Wallach as the Ugly. His character’s name is “Tuco”. In a different kind of irony, let’s call it Movie Rating Irony, his role is the one that gained this movie it’s R rating. He is wanted by the law as a petty criminal (very much like the Good—they have this quality in common), and he meets up with the Good early on and calls him “Blondie” for the duration of the film. In one of the greatest ideas for movie criminals, Blondie turns Tuco in to the authorities for the bounty money, then rescues him, and they both ride off into the sunset with the money.

Though I just now made it sound like they only steal the bounty money one time, they actually do it multiple times, enough times you’d think they didn’t need the buried gold, and that’s not the end of the movie. Tuco and Blondie get in lots of mischief together, not the least of which is coming across Angel Eyes several times and getting away from him almost as many. He catches up with them. He gets the upper hand enough to make you worried. Before I give you all the details, let me tell you how it ends. It ends like this: “Blondie! You know what you are? You’re a son of a—“ Ah-uh-ah-uh-aaaah, Wah-wa-Waaah (The unforgettable theme music picks up from there as the movie ends.) So there you go. You know how the movie ends, but if you’ve never seen it, understand the complexity of the plot is worth a view.

Now for the reasons you might not want to watch it. The R rating. Apparently, nudity of any kind, even the brief, non-sexual, non-suggestive, nudity of this film took a higher toll on movie ratings back in the 60s than killing did. According to legend, the R rating was given because of the renegade bum, less so because of the murders. Personally, I think that’s a bit backwards. Make your own jokes at this end of the conversation, but seriously, murder is worse than nudity. Granted, it’s a movie about war, the Civil War to be specific. A lot of death is involved in war, so to make a movie about war and not include death might be a bit fanciful, to say the least. In my personal opinion, you can’t just cover your eyes when Tuco gets out of the tub and say you didn’t watch a rated R movie. There’s still some sick and senseless killing portrayed throughout the film.

Whether you agree with the R rating of this film or not, it is fun to watch. It’s fun to watch Blondie get the upper hand over Tuco and Angel Eyes when it seems like they should have the advantage over him. It’s interesting to see these fictional characters stroll through historical events and fit themselves in seamlessly. There are explosions and horse races and sharpshooters and tender emotional moments and edge-of-your-seat moments. There’s enough going on to keep the audience interested from start to finish.

Drawing power 1

Interest factor 1

Offensive factor 0

Range of emotion 1

Character factor 1

Style 1

Length 1

Total: 6 star film

Published by Kurt Gailey

This is where I'm supposed to brag about how I've written seven novels, twelve screenplays, thousands of short stories, four self-help books, and one children's early-reader, but I'd rather stay humble. You can find out about things I've written or follow my barchive (web archive, aka 'blog) at or follow me on twitter @kurt_gailey. I love sports and music and books, so if you're an athlete or in a band or you're a writer, give me a follow and I'll most likely follow you back. I've even been known to promote other people's projects.

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