There are a lot of great motion picture trilogies throughout film history, but today I’m going to talk about what I believe is the single most important film trilogy in the history of cinema. Usually, I acknowledge that when you’re talking about artistic preferences and matters of taste, it winds up being “to each his own.” But right now I’m saying, “Fuck all that.” This is me at my most didactic, resolute and unswayable.

Before I get into talking about which trilogy I’m referring to, let me talk a little bit about what makes a good trilogy. To me, a good trilogy is a series of three cohesive films that feature the same characters, tone and style, while bringing something new to the table with each installment. Some trilogies have a story that develops over the course of all three films (The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars), while other trilogies wrap up each adventure before moving on to the next (Indiana Jones, Spider-Man).

Filmmaking is a tricky business, and more often than not a trilogy has at least one weak entry. The first film is usually be good enough to spawn sequels; the second film is either just as good or not as good as the first (rarely better); and the third film is either the weakest entry or makes up for number two.

Sometimes different directors helm different installments, but I think that the same director should do all of them in order to give the films a stylistic cohesion. Sometimes major roles are recast between films because of problems with actors, and while it doesn’t ruin a trilogy, it does cause a bit of a break in the visual cohesiveness of it.

The reason I’ve picked the trilogy that I have is because, aside from being a great series of films, this trilogy has achieved a list of things that no other trilogy has ever before. This trilogy contains a remake; a second film that’s better than the first; a third film that not only is the best out of the three, but is one of the best films of all time; it created a genre; it had some of the most memorable theme music of all time; it created the mold for the quintessential badass; and it introduced the world to an icon. The trilogy I speak of is The Man with No Name Trilogy, written and directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood.

The first film, A Fistful of Dollars, was, like The Magnificent Seven before it, a remake of an Akira Kurosawa film (On a side note, if you don’t know who Akira Kurosawa is and you think you know a lot about movies, you should have angry, bloodthirsty Rottweilers sicked on you.). An unknown named Clint Eastwood was cast in the role after several prominent American actors turned it down, and to this day, no other actor has achieved the sheer level of badassery that Eastwood did in those films.

The film also marked the genuine birth of the Spaghetti Western genre (Westerns made in Italy by Italians).

After being a huge hit, a second film was made, For a Few Dollars More. Following the same character from the first film through a new adventure, the second one was bigger and better than the first, achieving that which very few sequels can.

After the success of the second film, the world would get one of the single greatest films of all time: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Regardless of all the other things about this trilogy that are unique, never before and never since has the third film in a trilogy been the best one, and by itself one of the best films of all time. If you are not completely taken with this film upon viewing, then you should be thrown into solitary confinement in a Turkish prison.

And what would these films be without the brilliant score of master composer Ennio Morricone? His score for all three films is genius, but again, when you come to the third film, you get his best work and you get one of the most iconic and recognizable movie themes of all time.

And probably the best aspect of all is that each film never repeated itself story-wise. Each film told a completely different story that was better than the last while staying within the cohesive theme of the pursuit of money. You may not like Westerns, and these films may not be your cup of tea, but there’s no refuting that this is the most important trilogy ever. End of discussion. Period. Finito.

The Man With No Name Trilogy Blu-ray is currently available.

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