The Good, the Bad and the Ugly  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo) is a 1966 Italian epic spaghetti Western directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach in the title roles. The screenplay was by Age & Scarpelli, Luciano Vincenzoni and Leone, from a story by Vincenzoni and Leone. The widescreen cinematography was by Tonino Delli Colli, and Ennio Morricone composed the film score. The film was the third and final entry in Leone's popular "Dollars" trilogy, following A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965). The Tagline for the film was "For Three Men The Civil War Wasn't Hell. It Was Practice!"


In 1862, during the American Civil War, a mercenary known as "Angel Eyes" interrogates former Confederate soldier Stevens, whom Angel Eyes is contracted to kill, about Jackson, a fugitive who stole a cache of Confederate gold. Learning Jackson's new alias "Bill Carson", Angel Eyes kills Stevens and then his employer Baker so he can find the gold himself. Bandit Tuco Ramirez is rescued from bounty hunters by a nameless drifter to whom Tuco refers as "Blondie", who delivers him to the local sheriff to collect his $2,000 bounty. As Tuco is about to be hanged, Blondie severs Tuco's noose by shooting it, and sets him free. The two escape on horseback and split the bounty. They repeat the process in other towns until Blondie grows weary of Tuco's complaints and strands him in the desert.

Bent on revenge, and after a failed attempt with friends of his, Tuco catches up with Blondie and force-marches him across the desert until Blondie collapses from dehydration. A runaway horse-drawn hospital ambulance arrives with several dead Confederate soldiers and a near-death Bill Carson, who promises Tuco $200,000 in Confederate gold, buried in a grave in Sad Hill Cemetery, in exchange for help. When Tuco returns with water, Carson has died and Blondie, slumped next to him, reveals that Carson recovered and told him the name on the grave before dying. Tuco takes Blondie to a nearby frontier mission to recover.

The duo decides to search for the gold together, but they are apprehended by Union forces shortly after leaving the mission. The two are brought to a prison camp which Angel infiltrated as a Union sergeant in his search for Bill Carson, getting his attention when Tuco poses as Bill Carson. Tuco reveals the name of the cemetery under torture and is sent away to be killed. Knowing that Blondie would not reveal the location, Angel Eyes recruits him into his search. Tuco escapes his fate by killing Angel Eyes' henchman, and soon finds himself in an evacuated town, where Blondie, Angel Eyes, and his gang have also arrived.

Blondie finds Tuco and the pair kills Angel Eyes' men, though Angel Eyes escapes. They travel toward Sad Hill before ending up on the Union side of a military siege over a strategic bridge. Blondie decides to destroy the bridge to disperse the two armies to allow access to the cemetery. As they wire the bridge with explosives, Tuco suggests they share information. Tuco reveals the name of the cemetery, while Blondie says "Arch Stanton" is the name on the grave. After the bridge is demolished the armies disperse. Tuco steals a horse and rides to Sad Hill to claim the gold for himself. Tuco finds Arch Stanton's grave and begins digging, where Blondie encourages him at gunpoint to continue. Angel Eyes arrives and holds Blondie at gunpoint. Blondie states that he lied about the name on Stanton's grave and writes the real name of the grave on a rock before challenging Tuco and Angel Eyes to a three-way duel.

[[File:Mexican standoff.jpg|thumb|The iconic Mexican standoff, with Tuco seen on the left, Angel Eyes in the middle, and Blondie on the right: The scene is accompanied by Ennio Morricone's "The Trio".]] The trio stares each other down. Everyone draws with Blondie killing Angel Eyes, while Tuco discovers that his own gun was unloaded by Blondie the night before. Blondie reveals that the gold is actually in the grave beside Arch Stanton's, marked "Unknown". Tuco is initially elated to find bags of gold, but Blondie holds him at gunpoint and orders him into a hangman's noose beneath a tree. Blondie binds Tuco's hands and forces him to stand balanced precariously atop an unsteady grave marker while he takes half the gold and rides away. As Tuco screams for mercy, Blondie returns into sight. He severs the rope with a rifle shot, leaving Tuco alive to furiously curse him while disappearing over the horizon.

See also

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