Every month we take a look at a movie on the Internet Movie Database’s List of the the TOP 250 FILMS OF ALL-TIME. These are movies that transcend a simple “My Favorite Scene” column. These are movies that are hard to just pry five gems from, but we do and examine the film overall. We’re on our eighth installment in this series. Click on the links for The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Dark Knight, Pulp Fiction , Schindler’s List, and 12 Angry Men to check out previous installments.
It’s the film the term “Spaghetti Western” is most associated with and one of, if not the, most famous Western ever made. It’s the final film in the “Dollars Trilogy” that Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leonne made, and Clint Eastwood’s iconic character “The Man With No Name” was named by Empire Magazine as one of the 50 Best Characters in Film History. For all that, and as much as I respect it as a film, this isn’t one of my favorite movies. The reason for that is that I’m a words person. If Aaron Sorkin writes something where people are spewing paragraphs like they have guns to their heads and walking quickly through an office….I’m a happy guy. In the first half-hour of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, there may be a paragraph’s worth of words…..maybe. It’s simply a style preference and you can’t deny it’s impact on the genre and the awesomeness of The Man with No Name as we’re a year shy of its 50th anniversary of release. And Ennio Moriconne’s classic score IS the music for the Western genre and some of the most famous notes in film history. Here are my favorite moments.
1. The Showdown
It’s the ultimate gunfight: simple as that. This is possibly the scene that makes Clint Eastwood the icon he always will be; the biggest Western star of all-time (sorry John Wayne, but it’s true).
2. Rescuing Tuco
I love the scam that Blondie and Tuco have going where he’s continually turning Tuco (and can we just pause to acknowledge one of the best supporting characters ever?) authorities to be hanged, then saving him at the last minute by shooting off the noose.
3. Our Partnership is Untied
No one is really “good” in this film, it’s just that Blondie comes the closest. Figuring that they’ve capped out on Tuco’s usefulness as a hanging dummy, Blondie drops him in the desert and we’re treated to a beautiful stream of Eli Wallach outraged insults.
4. Blue or Gray?
The setting for the film is shortly after the Civil War and this particular miscalculation in estimating sides is probably the funniest moment in the film. Stupid dust.
5. Tucco’s Final Insult
Here’s an occasion where Leonne’s style does work. At the end of the film, balanced on a cross surrounded by gold, strung up once again, Tuco’s not sure if he’s going to be saved this time and the acting Wallach does in conveying the tension is just beautiful.