The iconic 1966 Western ‘The Good the Bad and the Ugly’ follows the titular trio on a bounty hunt for a fortune. Set amidst the chaos of the wild west, the lives of “Blondie,” “Angel Eyes,” and “the Rat” become entangled when they each set off on the hunt for a particular cache of buried gold. The adventures are epic and encompass every element of what makes an epic Western.
The widely acclaimed film has often been hailed as the greatest spaghetti western of all time. Part of what makes it iconic is the sweeping landscapes that provide fitting backdrops for the race of fortunes to play out. It encompasses a vast landscape, so let’s take a look at the locations that were used to bring ‘The Good the Bad and the Ugle’ to life.
The Good the Bad and the Ugly Filming Locations
It might come as a surprise that the iconic western was actually shot across Europe than on the continent where the story plays out. The production team spent a significant amount of time filming in Spain, and sections of the film required the crew to travel to Italy and Mexico.
Given the film’s undisputed status, it comes as no surprise that most of the landscapes seen on screen were shot on location. Some scenes were also filmed in a studio in Italy. Principal photography reportedly started around April 1966 and wrapped up by July of the same year. Let’s take a closer look at the specific locations used in the film.
A good part of the production was set up in the Almeria province of Spain. Some of the film’s most iconic scenes, including a town besieged by cannon fire and an American Civil War battlefield, were lensed here. The scene with the exploding bridge was also seemingly shot in Almeria and had to be redone after all three cameras were destroyed in the first take.
Many other scenes were also filmed in Almeria using a variety of locations in the vicinity. The Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park near the capital city of the same name was used for lensing the desert walk scene. The small community of Tabernas also hosted the film crew for the filming of a few scenes, as did the Farmhouse of the Friar (Cortijo del Fraile) in Níjar near the village of Los Albaricoques. A hanging scene was shot at Cortijada del Higo Seco in Níjar and a few additional shots were lensed in the village of Rodalquilar.
The crew also filmed in the municipality of Tabernas in the Mini Hollywood Western theme park at Carretera Nacional 340A. A few scenes depicting a town were also shot in the nearby Tabernas Desert (Desierto de Tabernas).
The crew also spent a significant amount of time in the Granada province, including in La Calahorra in Guadix, where scenes depicting a railroad station were shot. Exterior shots of the station were lensed at Estación de Calahorra at 18512 La Calahorra in Guadix.
Scenes depicting the Southwestern United States were actually filmed in Spain’s plateau reign near Burgos. The province of Burgos is located in the community of Castile and León. Scenes depicting the Betterville concentration camp were shot in Carazo, while the Langstone Bridge battle scene was put together on the Arlanza River in a village called Covarrubias.
The Monasterio de San Pedro de Arlanza in Hortigüela stood in for a military hospital. Finally, the scene in the finale set in the Sad Hill Cemetary was shot in the municipal town of Santo Domingo de Silos.
The municipality of Madrid also hosted the film crew for a short period as they filmed in a small town named Colmenar Viejo, about 30 kilometers north of the city of Madrid. A few scenes were also shot in the small community called La Pedriza.
The production also filmed in Rome, specifically at the Cinecittà studio on Via Tuscolana, 1055. In fact, this was one of the first legs of shooting and included the famous opening scene in which Clint Eastwood’s character Blondie captures Tuco. Some scenes were also seemingly filmed at the facilities at the Elios Film production company at Piazzale Flaminio, 19.
Finally, considering Tuco is a Mexican bandit, a few scenes were fittingly shot in Mexico. Filming took place in Durango City, officially known as Victoria de Durango, in the state of Durango.
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