The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
[IMDB Completionists Series #11 of 85]
Not exactly the first time I've seen this film. It is possibly the first time I have sat through it in its entirety. however. The first time I laid eyes on it was about forty-odd years ago and as a pre-teen was supremely bored by what I saw was pointlessly protracted scenes that served no purpose. I have roundly disliked westerns since then and I blamed that feeling on this film.
My patience and attention span is also responsible of course, but three hours of men glaring at each other in various American (okay, Spanish as it happens) dustbowls was about as unappealing it got. God it was dull. It was slow, relentlessly misogynistic and racist, abominably performed for the most part (and Eastwood was far from the highlight in this regard) and an all-round waste of my very valuable time.
Four decades and thousands upon thousands of movies later, I would like to think that my appreciation for all film would have grown enough to see this for what it is, its subtleties and nuance, its tension and story-telling, character development, scale, pacing and undisputable style.
With wizened eyes I can see elements of all of these superlatives here. Even the acting seems more rounded with Good, Bad and Ugly all giving highly entertaining performances for one reason or another. I still feel that it is overlong and could easily lose an hour and comparing a much more sophisticated Once Upon a Time in America, shows just how far Leone advanced as his career progressed.
It's IMDB rating at number ten of the best films ever made does flatter it, however, and I imagine that wistful, rose-tinted eyes have possibly, helplessly placed it there.