Why does Angel Eyes agree to the final duel in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966)? Seems like there are a lot of other options in front of Angel Eyes without increasing his death probability many times.

I have read a lot of reviews saying that the film does not have plot holes. The only dissatisfaction I have in "The Dollar Trilogy" movies is that the characters seem to agree to duels way too often.

Am I misreading this?

  • Because duels are more exciting and intense than covering up any and all potential plot holes.
    – magarnicle
    Jan 8, 2023 at 23:28
  • 1
    To make one of the best scenes in movie history?
    – Déjà vu
    Feb 8, 2023 at 4:15

1 Answer 1


Angel Eyes is the bad one: presumptuous, cocky scoundrel and risk-taker.

Other than duelling, the only option for him is to offer the other two to cut the money in equal slices and go each their own way peacefully.

But his ego will not bear that: doing so would be shameful weakness for him after going through all the ordeal to the cemetery. He deems himself the winner and so, simply wants all or nothing.

And, beside that, the option to split the money is equally risky anyway as no one of the 3 can trust each other that there won't be attempts to shoot in the back after the splitting as they go each their own way with their own portion. Given this lack of trust, it makes sense to duel to eliminate whoever happens to be the loser(s).

  • I agree with the first part of your answer about the characterization of Angel Eyes, but the second part is not necessarily true. There is a point in the film where only Angel Eyes have the gun in his hand, Tuco is digging, and Blondie then says that if he is dead no one knows about the gold. At this point is the only option in front of a "bad" person is to agree to a duel? Jan 7, 2023 at 22:44
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    @Brownian_Motion Not before he believes that Blondie has written the secret on the stone put in the middle of the circle. From that point he thinks that Blondie can be killed and so attempts the duel. Yet the option of offering cut deal / peace is always on the table.
    – Greendrake
    Jan 8, 2023 at 1:09
  • I disagree that there could be any deal where they split the money. All three have already tried to kill each other at least once. Even if they stay cordial while digging up the gold and parting ways, one of them could double-back later and ambush them before they've traveled too far. There's just no reliable foundation to establish trust. A duel is guaranteed to settle all those questions in a way that nothing else could.
    – Tom
    Jan 9, 2023 at 7:44
  • @Tom They're certainly not big fans of each other, but the risk of getting double-backed/ambushed later isn't any higher than getting killed in a duel (and is probably lower). So, from pure rational-thinking point of view, at least attempting a deal could make sense.
    – Greendrake
    Jan 9, 2023 at 11:59

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