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As the inspiration for this blog, I will try to make this post short but impactful, and dense
Right from the first scene of the film, we start to see this running motif of the number three. We are introduced to our main characters: Tuco, Angel-Eyes, and Blondie. We are briefly shown their personalities, and why each is deserving of the role granted to them that the movie's title showcases.
But beyond that, we are shown how all of our characters actually exhibit every facet that the others seems to exude: Angel-Eyes, "the Bad," has an honor code, fulfilling the dying wish of a man he was hired to kill, albiet with financial compensation. Tuco is shown to have a soft side for his brother and family, in start contrast to the heinous crimes he has was convicted for earlier. And blondie, the stoic Clint Eastwood, is briefly reduced to a hobbling cripple after his forced excursion into the desert by Tuco.
We viewers realize that the title does not actually enumerate the three ruffians, but rather is a description they all share: none of them are just good, bad, or ugly, they all are, to different degrees.
An often overlooked facet of this piece of cinema is the subtext of the Civil War waging on in the background, and at times, becomes the full attention of the characters despite their greed and desire for their treasure. In the final act, we see the Union Captain drunkenly ranting about how thousands of innocent soldiers are dying defending one lousy bridge. Blondie and Tuco destroy it mainly to further their own goals, but also feel for the soldiers and their plights, as they are human too.
To the modern viewer, the humanizing characterization of the Confederate troops might come as a surprise. Were they not murderous traitors, fighting for their right to own a human being? Without turning this movie review into a history lesson, YES they were. But at the same time they were people: they had families, loved ones, goals, and at the end of the day, they didn't want to die. And really, who does?
On a more technical note, the cinematography and set design is absolutely spectacular. One really feels like they are there, in the shanty towns, fighting on the battlefields, and a part of the shootouts. Long shots of the surrounding land give a beautiful view of the desert ecosystem, and only enhances the viewing experience
And of course, one cannot discuss this piece of work without mentioning the iconic ending. The spell-binding musical score combined with the nerve-wracking tension built up in the final scene of the three-hour epic, and the ultimate culmination of the main characters' greed and aggressions leads to one of the most heart-stopping and memorable climaxes in cinema history
"You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig."
Junior studying Computer Science and Math at Saint Louis University (SLU)
I made this blog as a personal side project and outlet. I've always wanted to be a critic!
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