Anyway, today I wanted to talk about the movie we watched last night: the extended+remastered version of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. It remains to this very day one of the best films of all time, with great details everywhere, layers of subtext, awesome music, just a simply amazing film all-around.
...That being said...the added scenes didn't really do much for the film. The majority of them broke the flow, meaning that while they added something good, giving more detail to the film, they were just...awkwardly placed, breaking the naturally-established flow that the original film held. So there's a mixed baggage there.
Still, though, at least once, it was a good experience to have, to get those extra little pieces of detail and establish further background stuff. But I wanted to delve into a little bit of a theory that I developed in my mind by watching the film. Basically, this being a Western film, all three characters use guns at range, but I have actually given them traditional fantasy classes, based off of their actions.
The Bad, Angel Eyes, is the 'Rogue' type of gunfighter. More specifically, he is very deliberately an assassin. He's explicitly hired to find and kill people, after extracting information from them. This means he's rather precise in his killing, and thorough, making sure his targets give him everything, then are eliminated, because he always sees the job through, as he himself states. This is backed up by his fighting style, too: cheating.
In his battle at the beginning, he already had his weapon drawn the entire time, waiting for his opponent to make a move. He was in no danger the entire time, fully able to kill the minute he had what he needed. When the son came down the stairs, he was ready because he heard the guy coming, and the guy had a rifle (which would take time to aim) and was disoriented, not knowing what had happened below, whereas Angel Eyes did, was ready, and shot him the moment he had a clear shot.
Then, he did his overkill on his first employer, shooting him in the head four times to make sure the job got done--yet interestingly, this is the entirety of the killing The Bad does on-screen. In a bit of irony, Angel Eyes the villain of the film has the lowest body count of the three characters, all in the first five minutes of the film. He never kills again, even though he plans to, he brutally tortures Tuco, and there's tons of implied villainy.
So he is a precise killer, professional at that. Speaking of the implied villainy, though, there's his whole extortion of the prisoners, how he likely conned his way into the prisoner camp, and basically, how much he steals and double-crosses everyone he meets. All of these are classical features of what you'd consider a Rogue to be.
Finishing things out, we have his defined characteristics. We know he's good at finding information, as several scenes (some deleted) show. We also know that he's good at slipping away and getting out of sight, as shown with the "see you later, idiots" bit. He's stealthy, as also shown by his ability near the end to sneak up on both Tuco and Blondie. And most of all...we never see his skills in a gunfight. But it can easily be inferred that he's actually not that competent a gunfighter. As shown at the beginning, he cheated when it came to the two he killed. He relied on six goons (later five) out of sight initially to help him, and relied on Wallace to do the torturing. In short, he's basically never shown being competent in a gunfight, because he's not. He relies on trickery, backstabbing, stealth, and whatnot, all to get an edge. Just like a rogue, specifically an assassin.
The closest we get to him being a good gunfighter is at the end, when he takes out his gun first. A bit telling, though, is that he aimed for Tuco. As I'll cover later, if the odds were even as they appeared to be (we all know they weren't, thanks to Blondie), the standoff was such that the person drawing first was guaranteed to kill whoever they aimed and shot at, but then had a significant risk of being offed by the third. Angel Eyes did a threat assessment, though, and determined that if he killed Tuco, he'd have a chance to then shoot Blondie. This, while ultimately a mistake, showed that assassin mentality.
Tuco on the other hand is the gunslinger equivalent of a fighter. This one I think is more immediately obvious. Of the three titular characters, Tuco is undoubtedly the best of the three with a pistol at close range. We've covered why Angel Eyes isn't as good, but Tuco's shots with his pistol are just as good as Blondie's, if not better. He's shown doing trick shots, he's shown with deadly accuracy and speed, heck, in the opening scene we see him outdo Blondie.
Blondie, in a later scene, has warning of an ambush coming because of spurs. Three opponents come in. With clocking his gun (or whatever the term is), he shoots all three, two of them fatally and the third he finishes off. Tuco, at the beginning of the film, was also ambushed by three, instantly killing two of them and badly wounding a third. The difference is that he apparently had no warning and was caught off-guard. We don't actually get to see him, so it's impossible to confirm, but it's at least implied.
To put it simply, he's fast on the trigger, he uses a customized gun even, he's pretty accurate and tends to always get clean kill shots. He also has the mentality of a fighter, too: dumb as a rock when it comes to most things, but having surprisingly good insight when he needs to, when it's important. A sort-of "street smarts" as it were, where he can get by and manage the situation whenever he figures it's important to do so.
Plus, he's tough. He took several brutal beatings in the film and was no worse for wear. Environmental, by Wallace, doesn't matter, he survived through it, albeit cracking enough to talk under the torture. He's also the most down-to-earth kind of guy, portrayed with the most varied range of emotions, and the 'face' of the three, which is often the case of a Fighter/Mage/Thief combo. Furthering his skills, we see that he's good at getting allies (he got three friends in to kill Blondie, he got refuge at the monastery, and he got the Union to help him, among others, though this is slightly mitigated by his stupidity with the union earlier), and while Angel Eyes uses them as a crutch and clearly doesn't care for them (aside from that one deleted scene where he gives an informant alcohol), Tuco shows some degree of empathy towards them and while he cares for them, he also doesn't rely on them exclusively. (In short: whereas Angel Eyes needs allies to survive and doesn't really care for them, Tuco uses allies to advance faster towards his goal and cares about them.)
Another thing shown about Tuco is that he's rather blunt and abrasive. He's simple-minded, even, again, all traits common to a fighter in a party. But in spite of this, he knows how to get the job done, and is frighteningly good at following leads. While he doesn't hold Angel Eyes's skill for extracting information, he manages to track his target down without being given info. In short, again, emphasizing that Tuco uses others as a shortcut, but is competent enough that he can get by without it, able to easily track down Blondie with nothing but his own sense of wits. This is linear, fighter, thinking. He even thinks in terms of black-and-white: two kinds of people in the world, and he's got them pretty well figured out for what they are, having that fighter sense of others. (Think traditional fighter protagonists. Many of them have this ability to 'sense' facts about others that are never stated, just felt. Especially in, say, anime, with protagonists like Ichigo Kurosaki. Tuco has that ability.)
Of course, that leaves Blondie as the Mage. This one can be explained simply by the fact that he's the smartest one of the three, the one who comes up with the plans. Interestingly, he's got the highest kill count of the three (Two at the beginning, three to kill Tuco's allies, the one goon, then three of the five remaining goons, then Angel Eyes himself, whereas Tuco has two at the beginning, Wallace, one more that he missed at the beginning, and two of the five remaining goons), which can be explained by factors of Quadratic Wizardry.
Blondie is also shown to be a crack shot with a rifle, a long-range weapon. This sniper designation makes him a long-range specialist. In fact, most of his kills are at a longer range than the others. Angel Eyes kills at basically point blank range. Tuco as a fighter-type gunslinger kills at mid-or-close range. Blondie does kill at mid-range (the three Tuco allies) and at short range (the one goon), but most of his kills are at middle-long range, where the target is a fair distance away, and he manages to one-hit kill them every single time. Notably, the only time he has to shoot a second time is when he was ambushed and needed to clock his gun, which increases speed at the cost of accuracy.
So while Tuco might be a better gunslinger (debatable, but I believe Tuco's faster and deadlier at closer range, whereas Blondie has the edge at a longer range), Blondie's a better sniper. He's also shown to be able to figure things out, but rather than in the blunt abrasive way that Tuco does it, he mostly does so with his cunning. Angel Eyes even notes that Blondie's smart enough to know talking won't save him, another sign that of the three, Blondie is the most intelligent, able to get info from others not by underhanded tactics, not from luck, but by pure cunning.
Another trait he shares with Mages is that, as The Good, he's the most moral of the three, which while not necessarily always the case of a Fighter/Mage/Thief combo is frequently the case. (It's usually either the Fighter or the Mage.) His morality is not shown very well, but it's present all the same. By shooting hats off of people, he makes it clear that he could have killed them but is choosing not to, as a warning for them to not pursue him. By leaving Tuco alive after calling the deal off, he knows he's taking a risk, but he didn't just let Tuco hang like he could have.
Now, that can be argued that he hadn't made up his mind, and only after Tuco started to complain that Blondie thought Tuco was now a liability, more trouble than he was worth, but after making that call, he didn't just shoot Tuco like he could have--he simply let Tuco go. He's not exactly empathetic to everyone, but is at least somewhat-sympathetic to them, doing things like giving Tuco a cigar after the Brother Ramirez visit and the whole bit around the bridge, both on the Union and Confederate side.
While Tuco shows more primal emotions, Blondie doesn't cave in. Though he gives people what they deserve, similar to how Tuco tailors his revenge to the crime, his treatments are still relatively kind. Plus, he acts mainly on the long-term, defensive side of things, again, stuff typical of a mage. He holds control the entire film...except for when he is surprised by Tuco having rushed him point blank.
That's where Blondie's weakest. Twice, Tuco is able to get the drop on Blondie, and both times, it's because Blondie was focusing on something else that was the more pressing concern. While Blondie may be smart and cunning enough to get what he wants, he can only deal with things that are predictable. An unpredictable wildcard like Tuco is something that he has trouble anticipating. This can be shown by him taking deliberate steps to make sure Tuco is on a short leash the entire film, with him taking precautions to make sure Tuco can't harm him, up to and including the gun at the end.
That's because the unleashed Tuco, seen both times he sneaks up on Blondie, is able to get through Blondie's defenses and then leave Blondie dangerously close to death. While Tuco was deliberately torturing him and putting him at a disadvantage, the fact remains that in the desert, Blondie wasn't faring nearly as well as Tuco had. It was harsher terrain, over a longer distance, maybe at a slower pace, but Blondie still only made 50 miles or so whereas Tuco without water or protection (same as Blondie) made a full 70 miles by himself.
This is, of course, reinforcing that while Blondie can dish out damage (being the one with the highest kill count, again), he can't himself take it. If he's in control of a situation, he's really in control of the situation and can't easily be harmed. Yet if he loses that control, he falls apart. Which, again, makes him the mage.
I realize this is me bending and manipulating the narrative a little bit, but let me have my fun. I like this take on things. Don't ruin it for me by pointing out any holes in the above.