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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Year: 1966
Director: Sergio Leone
Writer: Sergio Leone
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach
Part of Leone's iconic lone hero trilogy of spaghetti westerns, given new life by legions of fans (following the lead of the hip new Tarantino generation of directors and moviegoers), and full of the same distinctive flair that characterised A Fistful of Dollars.

The Man With No Name (Eastwood) is still drifting through the Mexican desert, this time running a scam with an unscrupulous partner, Tuco (Wallach) to make off with loot from any flyspeck town they come across.

They part ways unfavourably and Tuco declares a vendetta, trailing his former partner across the land for revenge. Meanwhile, fearsome 'mob' enforcer Sentenza (Van Cleef) comes into the fray and all three join the race to a fortune in loot buried in a graveyard.

I've heard Leone's style described as being like that of David Lean, with the long, profound pauses that say more than words - and for that reason the whole story could have been told in half the time, although Leopne takes every opportunity to give his film the same pacing the sweeping locations and landscapes give him.

If you love westerns, this is the pinnacle of the spaghetti subgenre, but even if not, the western mythology is full of parables that can (and have) been translated into every other literary and cinematic genre in popular culture - even if you haven't seen this film, you've seen the story a million times before (and since).

It balances a fine line between tense and dull, comical and dramatic, but even it's power as a piece of cinema is apparent even to the newcomer.

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