Widely considered the ultimate Spaghetti Western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) catapulted Clint Eastwood to super-stardom. Sergio Leone's masterpiece tows a fine line between honor and greed amid the violent anarchy of the American Civil War, all through a notable script and exquisite imagery. From the sweeping, dusty desert landscape and intense close-ups, to the climactic showdown in Sad Hill Cemetery, this is a cult movie deserving of its fame.
Despite being heralded as the genre's peak, it didn't have the greatest reception from critics at the time. One memorable review came from the LA Times, who contended the movie should be called "The Bad, The Dull and The Interminable".
Gritty and dripping in tension, the three title characters represent the good, the bad, and the ugly, but it's their flaws and ambiguity that draw the audience in. Eastwood (The Good) plays the 'man with no name' and makes a living by scamming small town police. He shows himself to be capable of some pretty sadistic acts, while still irking an air of mystery with his tendency to speak in single sentences.
Instantly recognizable by his distinctive brown hat, Eastwood's character, known as Blondie, is also a cigar-smoker. We've gone behind the camera to take a closer look at what cigars Clint Eastwood was smoking and pick our favorite cigar smoking scenes from this sprawling three-hour epic.
Aside from the gripping storyline, what makes the plot remarkable is that Leone never wrote anything down. The entire concept was in his head, and came to life naturally through the lens of the camera.
Unlikely alliances and pitiless rivalries are formed between the three central figures as they race to find Confederate gold that's been buried in a remote graveyard.
This battle to gain the upper hand in finding the prize takes place at the same time as the unrest of American Civil War. Such is the yearning of the three remorseless outlaws to get their hands on the gold, the majesty and horrid futility of conflict play second fiddle. Blondie and Tuco (The Ugly) even blow up a bridge to disperse the two armies and access the cemetery, highlighting their ignorance of a greater political and social movement for personal gain.
The opening scene sees Blondie turning in Tuco, a wanted bandit, in return for a $2,000 reward. As Tuco awaits his execution, Blondie surprises the authorities by shooting Tuco's noose to him free. The two later meet up to split the cash. Meanwhile, a mercenary known as Angel Eyes (The Bad) is contracted to kill a thief who stole a cache of Confederate gold. Angel Eyes duly obliges and sets his own eyes on locating the gold.
Blondie and Tuco form an uneasy pact that frequently flips from friendship to foe. Culminating in a nail-biting and lengthy stare-down between the three men in the middle of the graveyard, Blondie shoots Angel Eyes dead – Tuco then discovers that Blondie had unloaded his gun the night before.
Blondie directs Tuco to the correct grave. Tuco digs and is ecstatic to unearth the hidden bags of gold, but is shocked when he turns to Blondie, who forces him to stand atop a precarious grave marker before fixing a noose around his neck and binding his hands together.
He rides off with his share of the gold while Tuco cries for mercy. Blondie's silhouette returns on the horizon and he severs the noose rope, just like in the opening of the film. Tuco drops face-first onto his portion of the treasure, but still has his hands tied. He gets up in a state of rage and curses in the direction of the distant gunslinger, "Hey Blondie! You know what you are? Just a dirty sonofabitch!"
Cigar smoking scenes in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Eastwood's character is often seen lighting up a stogie throughout the movie, which proves to be his downfall in one scene where Tuco goes in a relentless search of Blondie after being left stranded in the desert. Stumbling across numerous smoldering cigars as he trots through the wilderness, his fiendish expression after he blows out smoke on the definitive one is his way of saving "Now I've got him".
Even though Blondie may have been 'The Good' in name only, there's a heartwarming moment towards the end of the film where he lives up to his title. Comforting a dying soldier, he lays his coat over him and allows him several puffs of his cigar.
However, the pinnacle cigar moment has to be the infamous 'Mexican Standoff'. Eastwood doesn't budge an inch during the incredibly tense final scene as he keeps his cigar firmly between his lips, as all three watch each other like hawks. Such is Blondie's unwavering concentration, he doesn't drop his cigar when he shoots the film's antagonist, Angel Eyes.
What type of cigars are smoked in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly?
Accidentally created in 1815, Toscano cigars are the national cigars of Italy and enjoyed by Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Produced in Tuscany, they're made using Kentucky tobacco and have been cherished by cigar connoisseurs around the world for over 200 years.
The rebellious Toscano Stilnovo is Toscono's only cigar to feature a binder. Combining the finest fire cured leaf from Italy and Kentucky for a smoky, spicy experience, there's a traditional BBQ flavor, as well as charred cedar and nuances of pepper throughout. Make sure to check out other smoky smokes such as the Cohiba Black cigars or Montecristo Espada cigars.