The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

One of the most noticeable aspects of Sergio Leone’s trend-setting, awe-inspiring and simply iconic spaghetti western, is how the world for both us and the characters themselves, is limited by the four walls of the frame. And it is in these 4 walls, that one of the greatest films of all time is crafted.


Although the movie runs for almost 180 minutes (3 hours), its plot is quite simple at the very basic. However the detours that the characters end up taking from the normal story arc is what lends the movie some of its grandeur and the characters most of their purpose.
The film, has very little dialogue, with the titular “The Good”, Clint Eastwood having almost no lines at all. “The Ugly”, on the other hand, played by a brilliant Eli Wallach in his career defining role, is some one who almost refuses to stay shut. It is a different thing, of course, that his dialogue is something you look forward to. Lee van Cleef delivers a menacing performance in his short, yet integral role as “The Bad”. Coming back to the point, the film has very little dialogue, with the camera doing most of the work. No better example of this can be found, than the climatic scene with a three way Mexican Stand-off that begins with the titular three taking their positions in a long shot and then in a series of close ups, the emotions upon each of their faces, without a single line of dialogue, no distraction from the tension of the scene, other than Ennio Morricone’s music, which is almost inseperable from the Western genre and especially the spaghetti Western. Morricone is to The Dollars Trilogy, what John Williams was and is (now that it’s been resurrected) to Star Wars.


Leone has use the magic of music and that of the camera to craft a masterpiece that was, is and shall continue to be imitated, not necessarily as a whole, but its scenes, all of them brilliant in their own right.