Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Where Was The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Filmed? Iconic Western's Filming Locations Explained

Screen Rant

By Kate Bove

June 16, 2024

Directed by Sergio Leone, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a quintessential spaghetti Western film. Like other films in the popular genre, the 1966 epic was mostly filmed on location in various European countries. Although The Good, the Bad and the Ugly's filming locations aren't actually in the American West, Leone's classic captures a striking authenticity. Led by Western movie star Clint Eastwood as "the Good," Lee Van Cleef as "the Bad," and Eli Wallach as "the Ugly," the film sees the three titular gunslingers fighting over a buried cache of Confederate gold during the American Civil War.

Billed as the third installment in the Dollars Trilogy, the film launched Eastwood's career to new heights, and garnered a then-impressive $38 million at the worldwide box office. Filled with duels and violent conflicts, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly features Leone's signature use of long shots and close-ups, all of which helps the accomplished director build the Western's searing, slow-burn tension. Not only does the film feature many of Leone's hallmarks, but it's perhaps the definitive spaghetti Western film. Filled with iconic scenes, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly's filming locations are equally memorable.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly's Monastery & Long Desert Walk Scenes Were Filmed In The Same Area Of Spain

Cabo de Gata, Almería, Andalucía, Spain Serves As The Filming Location

An Italian-led production, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly also had co-producers in Spain, West Germany, and the United States. By and large, most of the filming for the spaghetti Western took place in Spain. The film's monastery and long desert walk scenes, for example, were filmed in the same area of the country — Cabo de Gata, Almería in Andalucía. Set in the US, the movie uses Spain's scenic landscapes to serve as believable stand-ins. Tuco force-marching Blondie across the desert is an incredibly visceral sequence, and the filming location augments that feeling.

The Western's Battle At Langstone Bridge Over The Arlanza River Was Also Shot In Spain

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Filmed In Covarrubias, Burgos, Castilla y León, Spain

While gunfights and duels are a crucial part of Clint Eastwood's definitive spaghetti Western, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is also packed with traditional battle sequences. Set during the American Civil War, the film uses the nation-shaping conflict to augment its tense atmosphere and sense of looming menace. In the movie, there's a famous battle scene between the Confederate and Union armies — the Battle at Langstone Bridge. In reality, the battle scene was shot along a particular stretch of the Arlanzon River in Spain.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly's Bridge Explosion Scene Was Filmed On Location

The Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, Níjar, Almería, Spain Hosts The Iconic Moment

Filmed in the Almeria province of Spain, one of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly's most memorable scenes features a town besieged by cannon fire. During the course of the conflict, a bridge connecting the Union and Confederate camps is rigged with explosives and blown up by Blondie and Tuco. In the aftermath of the first take, Leone realized that reshoots were necessary, as three of the production's cameras were destroyed during the intense sequence. With the desert walk scene also being filmed in Almeria, the province's many scenic backdrops add a satisfying continuity to the film's setting.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly's Finale Was Filmed At Sad Hill Cemetery, Spain

Spain's Mirandilla Valley Serves As The Backdrop For The Classic Spaghetti Western Moment

Perhaps the most well-known scene in the entire film, the cemetery scene from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was filmed at Sad Hill. The Spanish cemetery, which is tucked away in a small, rock-enclosed valley, is shockingly reminiscent of the landscapes found in the American West. During the sequence, Blondie and Angel Eyes commence a tense showdown while Tuco watches. To transform the location into an authentic setting for the film's iconic climax, Leone ordered that 10,000 empty graves be built on the land.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly's Railroad Scene Was Filmed Outside Of Granada

Estación De Calahorra Serves As A Perfect Backdrop For A Tense Moment

At one point during the film, Tuco has a memorable moment involving railroad tracks, a corpse, and a high-speed train. Full of suspense, the railroad sequence was filmed at the Estación de Calahorra in La Calahorra, Guadix — a spot located roughly midway between the well-known Spanish cities of Granada and Seville. With impressive brickwork and a red-tiled roof, the station is a perfect stand-in for the Spanish-inspired architecture of the American Southwest. That said, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly makes great use of its filming locations — even if they were an ocean away from where the movie is set.

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