The film was shot mainly in Spain during the Franco dictatorship period; 1,500 soldiers of the Spanish army appeared in the scenes of the battles between Northerners and Southerners.
The final scene of the “triello” is considered one of the most significant of western movies and perhaps in the history of cinema.
Initially the screenplay was assigned to Age and Scarpelli but was deemed absolutely disappointing; it was said that it looked more like a comedy, absolutely far from Leone’s idea. The screenplay was therefore written by Luciano Vincenzoni.
It seems that Lee Van Cleef not able to ride horses; for this reason he was assigned a docile and trained horse on which he climbed and descended with difficulty, often helping himself with a chair. In the film the same horse is also often used by Eli Wallach.
Lee Van Cleef has different colored eyes; usually use contact lenses to correct the color but in this film, in the long close-ups, you notice the difference between the two eyes.
It seems also that Eli Wallach risked his life several times during filming: once by drinking acid instead of his drink; another was almost hanged because during the scene a gunshot exploded and the horse ran away from fear while he was riding; the third in the scene in which he frees himself from the chain that links him to Mario Brega by passing the train over it (Leone asked him to repeat the scene but the actor refused).
A construction department of the Spanish army took care of the construction and bursting of the bridge; during the scene the Spanish captain did not understand exactly the words of someone from the crew and blew up the bridge earlier than necessary; for this reason the bursting of the bridge did not have all the expected shots. The bridge was rebuilt in one night and the scene shot again the next day. However it seems that the shots of the film are those of the first explosion.
Leone wanted a real skeleton in Arch Stanton’s grave: it seems that in Madrid a woman was renting the skeleton of her mother who had been an actress in life and had left it available so that her skeleton could recite even after death. So this skeleton was used in the movie.
In addition, Leone unleashed a dog that ran after Eli Wallach in the middle of the graves of the cemetery (see above in the frame on the bottom right).
And one last curiosity: in the final scene, when Tuco is abandoned by The Good hovering on a cross with the rope around his neck, a motorbike is seen passing in the background. I realize that in the frames it is difficult to locate it but if you watch the film at normal speed you can easily see it. It is seen on the left of Tuco’s ear, on the lower edge of a part free from trees and moves from right to left.
The film was released in Italian cinemas on December 23, 1966; in the USA on December 20, 1967.
Finally click here to watch some cut scenes, never seen in the movie released in the cinemas.
Almeria & surroundings, Carazo, Colmenar Viejo, Contreras, La Calahorra, Los Albaricoques & surroundings, Manzanares el Real, Rodalquilar & surroundings, San Pedro de Arlanza, San Josè & surroundings, Tabernas – MiniHollywood.
Richard Alagich, Chelo Alonso, Fortunato Arena, Roman Ariznavarreta, Silvana Bacci, John Bartha, Manuel Bermudez, Joseph Bradley, Frank Brana, Mario Brega, Antonio Casale, Antonio Casas, Amerigo Castrighella, Saturno Cerra, Luigi Ciavarro, Antonio Contreras, Axel Darna, Tony Di Mitri, Attilio Dottesio, Clint Eastwood, Veriano Ginesi, Aldo Giuffré, Jesus Guzman, Victor Israel, Antonio Molino Rojo, Livio Lorenzon, Julio Martinez Piernavieja, Al Mulock, Angelo Novi, Ricardo Palacios, Enzo Petito, Luigi Pistilli, Jesus Porras, Romano Puppo, Rada Rassimov, Lorenzo Robledo, Antonio Ruiz, Aysanoa Runachagua, Aldo Sambrell, Enrique Santiago, Claudio Scarchilli, Sandro Scarchilli, Benito Stefanelli, Josè Terron, Franco Tocci, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach