The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Italian title: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, lit. “The Good, the Ugly, the Bad”) is a 1966 Italian epic Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach in the title roles respectively. The screenplay was written by Age & Scarpelli, Luciano Vincenzoni and Leone (with additional screenplay material provided by an uncredited Sergio Donati), based on a story by Vincenzoni and Leone. Director of photography Tonino Delli Colli was responsible for the film’s sweeping widescreen cinematography and Ennio Morricone composed the film’s score, including its main theme. It was a co-production between companies in Italy, Spain, West Germany and the United States.
The film is known for Leone’s use of long shots and close-up cinematography, as well as his distinctive utilization of violence, tension, and stylistic gunfights. The plot revolves around three gunslingers competing to find fortune in a buried cache of Confederate gold amid the violent chaos of the American Civil War (specifically the New Mexico Campaign in 1862), while participating in many battles and duels along the way. The film was the third collaboration between Leone and Clint Eastwood, and the second with Lee Van Cleef.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was marketed as the third and final installment in the Dollars Trilogy, following A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. Upon release, the film became a financial success, grossing over $25 million at the box office. Due to general disapproval of the Spaghetti Western genre at the time, critical reception of the film following its release was mixed, but it gained critical acclaim in later years. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is now seen as a highly influential example of the Western film genre and one of the greatest films of all time.