In this episode, Zach sits down and learns all about the Spaghetti Western as we look at The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

gbuThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a 1966 Italian epic Spaghetti western film directed by Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach in the title roles respectively. Director of photography Tonino Delli Colli was responsible for the film’s sweeping widescreen cinematography and Ennio Morricone composed the famous film score, including its main theme. It is the third film in the Dollars Trilogy following A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965). The plot revolves around three gunslingers competing to find a fortune in buried Confederate gold amid the violent chaos of gunfights, hangings, American Civil War battles and prison camps.


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  1. You had to have the bridge scene in the film because it’s the culmination of the Civil War theme lased throughout the film. For most of the film our hero’s keep find themselves in situations where they encounter the Civil War in some way. For much of it they are able to escape, but it’s that scene were, Blondie and Tuco atleast, aren’t able to escape. They are forced into a situation where not only do they have to watch the horror of it, but participate in it to reach their ultimate goal. The camp scene has some of this as well, where Blonde and Tuco, see the state of the prisoners. However it’s in that scene where both,well Tuco more forcefully, take action to stop it. It’s this scene where you see that, yes, the war does indeed effect these characters emotionaly. And even though they destroy the bridge to get to their destination. They also do it for the dieing Captain, and to end the fight over the bridge which in turn ends the killing of young men.

    I would recommend Zach watch “ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST,” which is also the one some would argue is Leone’s greatest film. It’s more personal, and more myth then his previous films. It also deals with the end of the age of Western Hero’s. Problem is, if Zach thought TGTBATU was slow, then he’s in for extreme pain watching that film. It’s very slow, but it tells a great story that build and builds to an ultimate show down. One I found to be better than the one in TGTBATU. It also has another one of Morricone’s AWESOME scores, and unlike Leone’s previous film uses a le motif for each of it’s characters. Plus it features Henry Fonda in his first bad guy role. He doesn’t disappoint.

  2. If “The Magnificent Seven” is somewhere on the list, maybe Zach should see “Seven Samurai.”
    The bad news: “Seven Samurai” clocks in at 207 minutes. The good news: SS doesn’t drag like TGTBATU, at least in my opinion. Plus, it’s Kurosawa, which is always a good thing.

  3. if Zach is down for even MORE western goodness, he might want to stop and watch Stagecoach first. it was one of John Wayne’s first starring roles (if not his first), and at first glance, it’s a black-n-white film from 1939. but you watch that movie first, then watch EVERY OTHER WESTERN EVER MADE, and you realize this one started pretty much every trope featured in every western.

    the “con-sarnit” old coot stagecoach driver, the shifty gambler who later turns noble when the poop hits the fan and everybody’s gotta pull together, the hooker with a heart of gold, the drunk, washed-up doctor, and of course, john wayne as the outlaw who’s out for revenge. and honestly, the final chase at the end is still one of the most exciting things i’ve watched, when you consider there were certainly no wire harnesses, airbags, or cgi in 1939. all real stuntmen doing the falling and jumping.

    it’s a pretty outstanding film, and out on Criterion DVD. not a plug or anything, but seriously. it’s pretty great for a 74-year old film.

  4. I suspect the bridge scene was also in the film as a commentary on war, especially considering the era it was made.

    I have been enjoying Zach on Film; in fact, I’m using it as an excuse to watch (or re-watch) the movies that are going to be discussed, which is awfully fun to do. I am not a film expert, but a couple comments about The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: I really like some of the framing used in it – doorways and of course the noose at the end. I wonder of some of the use of the very wide, long shots is to convey some of the wide-openness of the West (in addition to simply being pretty to look at).

    I have seen this movie more than once, and I don’t know what it is in the directing, but every time it gets to the end and Tuco is balanced on that wooden cross and Blondie rides off, I always wonder if Blondie is going to shoot the rope this time. I know he is, he must, but enough tension has built up that I wonder. Every time.

    Looking forward to future installments. Keep up the good work, guys.

  5. Solid Muldoon on

    I really, really enjoyed your discussion of race, religion and gender in comics.

    A few thoughts:

    I find “diversity for diversity’s sake” kind of offensive. If it is not an interesting character, I don’t care. If it is an interesting character, I don’t care what race, religion or ethnicity that character might be.

    Wonder Woman is an amazing first on so many levels. Female. Not an American. Not a Christian. Then there is the whole Lesbian/Bondage/Dominatrix/Spanking/Circus Parade thing going on.

    I wish you had discussed Tyroc, maybe the most offensive attempt at diversity ever.

    I’ve always loved Ebony White. (Cool name, bro,) Even though he was drawn with all of the offensive stereotypes of the period in place, pneumatic lips and all, he was always portrayed as smart, brave, hard-working, dedicated and loyal. That was an advance right there. The Spirit never talked down to him or diminished him. Contrast that to how superheroes talked to and dealt with women for the first thirty years or so.

    When you look at the “Big Seven” of the JLA, only three are actually white male Americans. Interesting.

    Great episode!

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