Leone’s reinvention of the western reaches its epic apotheosis in a movie about the pursuit of gold lost by the Confederates during the Civil War in the Texas theater. Clint Eastwood is the “good” (slow to anger, but quick on the trigger), Lee Van Cleef is the bad (an elegant exemplar of absolute evil) and Eli Wallach is the “ugly” (a menacingly funny, totally amoral bandido whose relationship with the Eastwood character consists largely of betrayals). Leone’s magnificent style is all contrasts (huge panoramic shots alternating with tight close-ups, very slow build-ups to lightning-fast action). This perfectly matches a narrative that encompasses sadistic brutality, wild humor and, yes, a tragic vision of war and its consequences.
Next Goodfellas (1990)