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Out of all the movies I have seen, this must be one of the few that I have seen over a dozen times already. And that's coming from a non western fan!

You clearly don't have to be a western fan to have a love and appreciating for this movie. Every movie lover in general should be capable of appreciating the quality, art and talent that is all present in this movie.

It's one of those rare movies in which everything comes together perfectly. The story, the directing, the acting, the settings, the music. Everything fits and works out perfectly. All elements strengthen each other as well. The music strengthens its images, the director its actors, etcetera. Would the movie had been just as good and unforgettable with a different cast? Or different music, or a different director? Probably not. It would be like replacing an instrument in a Mozart composition, or changing some of the colors in a Picasso painting. All of the elements need each other to become the great masterpiece that "Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo." is.

One of the reasons why I have always loved this movie is because it's buildup as a real adventurous movie, in which the hunt for a treasure plays a very central role. It takes the main characters to all kinds of different places, where they meet all kinds of different people and each time run into different problems as well. Really, this movie is basically an adventure movie, disguised as a western. It also really makes this movie unique in its genre and so extremely likable and easy to watch, time after time, despite its long running time.

Also the interaction between the three main character is just great. They often trade roles and alliances with each other and constantly try to be one step ahead of the other. They never thrust each other and for good reasons. None of the characters are truly good or bad, even though the title of the movie might suggest otherwise.

And needless to say that the three main parts are also perfectly cast ones. Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef all rarely have been better. And they also make it real difficult to pick a favorite character. Each of them has their own qualities and certain amount of charm and likability level to them.

There is also no big surprise in it that the movie is really skilfully directed and put together by Sergio Leone, who obviously was a master of the genre. He perfectly combines both visual and story elements, with an equal amount of eye for detail for both. He pretty much perfected the spaghetti western genre at the time pretty much on his own and his influences can still be seen back in modern movies now days.

One of his finest moments of course comes during its final shootout. But I actually think it are the movie its last 30 minutes in general that are just great, the moment Tuco first enters the cemetery. It's really something that's among the greatest moments out of movie history.

The shootout, or Mexican standoff, itself is really nothing short of brilliant. Its compositions, the editing, its close-ups, the Ennio Morricone music. Could had things been more perfect? It has such a great buildup, in which the characters are slowly moving and looking around at first. The music helps to buildup the tension, then it swells up and when you expect things to go down it goes suddenly entirely quiet. However then the music suddenly starts again and the buildup gets even more intense, with fast cuts and even more extreme closeups. Truly one of the best and most memorable movie moments out of movie history.

The only shame about this movie is that there are actually still people out there who haven't seen it yet!

10/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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