"When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk"
In the past I gave some consideration to whether this should be give the honour of being the best ever Western. At one time I could easily have given that title to Leone's own Once Upon a Time in the West. But over repeated viewings this just held up better for a variety of reasons. It was the most purely entertaining, the most engaging, it had a certain tone and a certain character to it all which was never quite replicated anywhere else. So I was forced to reconsider... maybe this is the best. With more thought it eventually made it into the perfect score list.
The previous two films in the so called "dollars trilogy" are watchable, but very hit and miss in terms of overall quality and consistency. Revisiting them recently the flaws are more evident and they certainly aren't nearly as fun as the third instalment, despite the similarities in many places. The music is still good and they have their own memorable set pieces and characters. Clint is iconic in the poncho and they have the same kind of style at times. But they aren't paced as well, and they certainly don't have this much personality. They're just practice runs all building up this one, where every comes together.