The good the bad and the ugly route

Over the epic Summer of 1966, one of the most important films in the history of cinema, Sergio Leone’s masterpiece, ‘The good, the Bad and The Ugly’ transformed the huge landscapes of Burgos Province, between the tiny villages of Salas de los Infantes and Covarrubias, into the American Far West.

Over the epic Summer of 1966, one of the most important films in the history of cinema, Sergio Leone’s masterpiece, ‘The good, the Bad and The Ugly’ transformed the huge landscapes of Burgos Province, between the tiny villages of Salas de los Infantes and Covarrubias, into the American Far West.

The wild and limestone juniper landscapes of the Peña de Carazo and the Arlanza Valley into the natural settings of New Mexico and the Rio Grande, settled in the Santa Fe and Glorieta Pass.

Burgos hosted four locations crucial to the development of ‘The good, the Bad and The Ugly’s’ plot: The Mission of San Antonio in the Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza (Hortigüela), the Betterville Concentration Camp in Carazo, the Battle of Langstone Bridge over the Arlanza River (Hortigüela), and the epic final scene at Sad Hill Cemetery in the Mirandilla Valley (between Contreras and Santo Domingo de Silos).

1. The Misión of San Antonio (San pedro de Arlanza, Hortigüela – Burgos)

The convent bivouacked into a military hospital packed with wounded where “Tuco” (Eli Wallach) takes “Blondie” (Clint Eastwood) to heal after crossing the desert, consisted of interior and exterior shots filmed in completely different locations. The interiors were filmed inside the ruins of the historic San Pedro de Arlanza Monastery in Hortigüela, and the exteriors at the Cortijo de El Fraile in Nijar (Almería).

 

2.  Betterville (Carazo – Burgos)

This scene was filmed on a hill near the town of Carazo known as Majada de las Merinas. The set designer, Carlo Simi, built an imposing fort with deep moats, palisades, and attached buildings where the worst of the war, torture, executions, is represented. Sergio Leone was inspired by the real engravings and photographs of the American Civil War taken at the northern field of Andersonville.

3. Battle of Langstone Bridge (Hortigüela, Contreras – Burgos)

This is the most spectacular and expensive scene in the movie. Unionists on one side and Confederates on the other fight a spectacular battle for control of a one hundred metre long wooden bridge over the Rio Grande (Arlanza). The scene was filmed 3.5 km from Hortigüela and featured more than 2,000 extras gleaned from the local community.

4. The Cemetery of Sad Hill (Contreras, Sto. Domingo de Silos – Burgos)

This scene is the dramatic climax of the film. Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef arrive at a war cemetery where the $200,000, buried in a grave, will be disputed in a truel. The scene was shot in the Mirandilla Valley between the villages of Contreras and Santo Domingo de Silos. The set, a work of genius, was built in just three days according to Carlo Simi’s designs. Two hundred and fifty Spanish army soldiers recreated a superb circular cemetery, arranging more than 5,000 graves into a system of concentric circles and radii, surrounding a central thirty metre cobbled square where the final climax was to be filmed.