The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was released in 1966, and (along with its amazing theme tune) is one of the best Western movies ever created. The movie is set during the Civil War and follows three manly adventurers on their missions. And you just can’t beat it. If you want to know more, check out The Good, The Bad and The Ugly secrets…
If you’re a hardcore fan of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, you probably know that the movie was part of Sergio Leone’s ‘Dollars’ trilogy. There was A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. But even though this movie was the last in the saga, it was actually the prequel to the other two movies.
By the time the third movie came around, Clint Eastwood had already become a huge figure. And it seems he thought so too. When it came to reading the script, Eastwood was disappointed to find out that he’d be sharing the screen with Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach, so demanded an upfront salary of $250,000, 10% of the North American profits from the movie, and a brand new Ferrari. Astonishingly, they agreed…
Leone thought himself to be an expert on the cinematography of the Civil War after he studied Mathew Brady’s famous photographs of the Civil War. So he decided to film the movie in Spain with a mainly Italian cast because he thought it would be more historically accurate than an American Western.
When it comes to movie producing, Orson Welles was one of the main players in the industry. He even tried to warn Leone about making the movie, and urged him to put it on hold because he thought that Civil War movies were ‘box-office poison.’ In this case…it seems Orson Welles was wrong.
Clint Eastwood used to warn his co-stars that these Spaghetti Westerns (Westerns with an Italian cast and crew) were unsafe and unreliable. And what he said was partially true. In fact, Eastwood was almost decapitated during filming by a chunk of debris flying through the air – you can see in the movie that it lands just inches away from him.
It seems Eastwood wasn’t the only actor who was nearly decapitated during filming. Apparently, Wallach was also injured when filming the scene where the train passes over Tuco. But the crew hadn’t told him about the steps coming out the train carts…luckily, he kept his head down.
Wallach in trouble
But there’s more. Wallach also accidentally drank acid on the set. (We really couldn’t make this up if we tried). A crew member from the special effects department had left acid in a lemon soda bottle on set, and, naturally, Wallach went to drink from it. Luckily, he spat it out and didn’t swallow the acid for it to cause any damage.
They weren’t big talkers
The popularity of this movie is quite surprising…considering there is barely any dialogue. In fact, there is absolutely no speech during the first 10 minutes of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Instead, the characters just love to stare at each other. In the showdown scene, the three main characters simply stare back and forth between each other for three minutes. In silence.
Leone and the interpreter
Despite the fact that Sergio Leone had already made two Western movies with American actors, he could still not speak any English during the filming of the third movie. Leone had to rely on an interpreter to talk to his actors, apart from Wallach. He was fluent in French, and so was Leone. Ooh, la la.
The Man With No Name
Clint Eastwood’s character was known for smoking cigarillos, and there only a few moments during the movie that we see him without one in his mouth or hand. But Eastwood absolutely hated Cigars. Unfortunately, Leone was the kind of director who loved to shoot multiple takes of a scene to ensure he got the best shot. And Eastwood didn’t like that. He would often say, ‘You’d better get it this time because I’m going to throw up.’
Enough was enough
The working relationship between Eastwood and Leone was often tough, and by the end of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Clint Eastwood had had enough of Sergio and vowed never to work with him again. But this didn’t stop Leone pitching him the fourth movie, and wanted him to star in Harmonica. It’s no surprise that Eastwood turned the role down…
Leone was a very hands-on director and made sure everything, down to the tiniest detail, was perfect. And apparently, he wanted Tuco to be dressed like him – with two suspenders and a belt. Leone also didn’t want Tuco’s gun to be in a holster but wanted it to be dangling from a rope, instead.
But sometimes Leone’s ideas didn’t work out so well. His idea for the dangling gun didn’t work out in his favor. When he was demonstrating how the gun-on-a-rope idea would work, the gun ended up swinging around and hitting him in the groin. He then decided to change his mind, and Tuco kept his gun in a holster…
They made some dollar…
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is one of the most popular Western movies out there…and they made a tasty profit. Overall, the movie cost $1.2 million dollars to produce, but they then made $25.1 million in profits. I guess that Ferrari Eastwood asked for wasn’t so unreasonable with that kind of money…
Quentin Tarantino (yes, the Quentin Tarantino) called the movie one of his favorite movies of all time and thought it was an achievement in the history of Westerns and cinema as a whole. He was also so inspired by the movie that he has paid homage to it in his movie’s The Hateful Eight and Reservoir Dogs.
King loved it
The author, Stephen King, also loved the movie. He especially loved Clint Eastwood in the movie and had even said that his main character in his series, Dark Tower, Roland Deschain, was based upon Eastwood’s character.
Eastwood felt upstaged
Many reviews of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly have reported that Wallach upstaged Eastwood in the movie, and he didn’t like it. But it seems that a lot of Tuco’s most defining moments in the movie were actually improvised – including the ‘When you have to shoot, shoot! Don’t talk!’ line.
The explosion had to be shot twice
When it comes to explosions, debris, and collapsing bridges, it’s a lot easier if you can shoot it in one take. Unfortunately, the bridge explosion had to be shot twice because a special effects crew member triggered the explosion too soon. He apparently fled the set afterward. We think we would too.
John Wayne and Eastwood
In the world of Westerns, Clint Eastwood and John Wayne were in the same boat and both extremely talented actors. But, John Wayne didn’t like Clint Eastwood and made it very clear to the press. It seems he didn’t like Eastwood’s more ruthless Western style – Wayne would never shoot another man in the back, but Eastwood would.