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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Year:
1948
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Action, Adventure, Western
IMDB rating:
8.4
Director:
John Huston
Walter Huston as Howard
Tim Holt as Curtin
Barton MacLane as McCormick (as Barton Mac Lane)
Alfonso Bedoya as Gold Hat
Arturo Soto Rangel as Presidente (as A. Soto Rangel)
Manuel Dondé as El Jefe (as Manuel Donde)
José Torvay as Pablo (as Jose Torvay)
Margarito Luna as Pancho
Storyline: Fred C. Dobbs and Bob Curtin, both down on their luck in Tampico, Mexico in 1925, meet up with a grizzled prospector named Howard and decide to join with him in search of gold in the wilds of central Mexico. Through enormous difficulties, they eventually succeed in finding gold, but bandits, the elements, and most especially greed threaten to turn their success into disaster.
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Reviews
One of the best Treasure Hunt films.
Dobbs, a young man is jobless and searching for a way out. He tries his best ways to earn some money. He meets a friend Bob Curtin, who is in the similar situation. They come across an old man Howard talking about the treasure (gold) on the mountain of Sierra Madre. The three team up and decides to on a treasure hunt. But, it was not as easy as find the gold, pack it up and take to the bank. They start mining. But, troubles start when their treasure piles up. Greed, jealous and distrust pile up along with their treasure.

This film was one of the most expensive films made those times. Did not perform well at the box office at the initial release. Yet, the movie is a masterpiece.

Nominated for 4 Oscars, but won 3 of them. Father and Son received the Oscars in this movie. Father was the Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Walter Huston) and son for the Best Director (John Huston). Director also makes his cameo appearance in the beginning of the movie. He is the same person that hero asks for arms three times.

A must watch for movie maniacs. Highly recommend.

#KiduMovie
2017-04-30
One of the great
This is undoubtedly a great artistic endeavor, a universal moral tale, to be appreciated by all people from every country, still relevant today. It is also one of my favorite films. Intelligent, extremely well directed, scripted, edited and acted, with some superb photography, plus Max Steiner's score. I rank Walter Huston's performance as one of the best ever. (I also love his Mr. Scratch in "All That Money Can Buy"). His son John was one of the most literate, gifted directors in Hollywood during the 40's and 50's (qualities he didn't seem to keep up later). It is a testament to how efficient Huston's direction and script was that he managed to tell the whole story, with well-developed characters, fights and shoot-outs, travel to a remote place, bandits, psychology and mistrust, human nature, an unexpected intruder, visits to an Indian village, and scenes at a Mexican pueblo, in just over 2 hours. One measure of greatness for me is the innumerable times I'm able to see the film, another the many memorable scenes, shots and details, mostly dealing with Howard: Howard's explanation on the effect of gold in men, the fight at the cantina, the look of Howard when Dobbs and Curtin shake hands and agree to go prospecting for gold, the whole sequence with Howard's dancing when he finds the gold, ending with him pointing to the mountain: "Up there!" (one of the greatest scenes ever); the cut to Howard looking at Dobbs when he first mentions dividing the gold; the boy's revival; Howard looking back when he's forced to go back with the Mexican Indians; Dobbs turning suddenly mad by the campfire; Howard's laugh at the end. Now be advised: this is a man's film, inhabited by tough men, ambitious, flawed, sometimes dumb, who respond to reason but have no qualm to lie or kill if necessary. John Huston's oeuvre has little place for women, and this film is no exception, with no prominent female role, mostly leisure girls, except for the reference to Cody's wife, the classic ideal woman. Even when the 3 adventurers discuss what they intend to do with their money, when it comes to women they keep silent. Be also advised that this film originated a somewhat mythic view in Hollywood of the country of Mexico, as someone else wrote: "The Mexico portrayed in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and then subsequently promulgated in later Westerns is that of a mythic space with four distinctly separate parts, which incorporate the four main stereotypes of Mexico at that time: the city, starkly divided between the corrupt wealthy and the downtrodden poor; the primitive pueblo which heralds simple justice under one person, such as a mayor; the wilderness camp in which no law exists save for guns; and the village, an Eden-like paradise."
2014-07-26
a movie with a sobering message
This movie is unique as ,besides superb acting and direction,it has a message,possibly several. Given the time the book was written,early twenty century,with socialism riding high,holding many not to be materialized promises,the book which is the basis for the movie,aimed at depicting the corrupting influence of wealth,the gold treasure. I find another,in my opinion more important,message:-holding a mirror to our face and telling us how we behave in our natural state. This is raw ,uninhibited behaviour,personified in the main character,Dobbs,played by Humphrey Bogart. We witness the evolution of Dobbs who, like the other gold prospectors,is devoid of any restraining influence-laws,family,friends,community or neighbours ,with the only means of settling differences being the gun. It is interesting what a disproportionate number of classic movies are black and white,when color was available.It may be that black and white adds somber and serious atmosphere. I think that this movie not only retains its power and artistic value after more than half a century,it has secured a prominent place in the pantheon of classic movies.
2003-12-12
An invigorating adventure about the tests of character in the familiar Western landscape.
Apparently Paul Thomas Anderson watched this film frequently throughout the making of There Will Be Blood, and I can see how that this might have got him into the necessary mindset – sweltering desolate landscapes with small pockets of civilisation that sit like mirages in the expanse, the lifestyle of finding your fortune or wait until you die, and the drive of hunger and greed that both films share. This isn't a film about gold so much as it is about the people who seek it and how the fantastical material pursuit affects character. Fred Dobbs is no Daniel Plainview, but both of them travel down a road to the worst of their humanity. Dobbs is a Bogart I didn't expect. This was my first experience of him, and cornerstone of American acting and cultural icon such as he is, the image I had of him in mind was more one of nobility and bravado. The sentiment of Rick Blaine is not welcome here. From the moment we're introduced to Dobbs, he's washed up, desperate, scrounging for meals and for work. But this is Bogart, and he's got a hardened edge to him. In that sharp equine face, there's an eagerness for adventure. But instead of that, he gets conned out of a pay check for doing back-breaking labour in the intense heat. It's an inhospitable world, where self-preservation is the ultimate concern.

I like the languid Mexican town, Tampico, which the film and its characters initially dwell in, struggling to find a way out. It's sort of like a Casablanca; not a destination that you choose, but a place in which you end up. Except this little Oasis doesn't have that beating heart of optimism, romance, or solidarity. The only common ground the people find here is their need for their next monetary fix. Dobbs meets another American in the same tired situation as him, a man named Curtin (Tim Holt) who counterbalances his roughness and edginess with a more relaxed, take-it-as-it-comes personality, and when they eventually decide on their quest of gold and shake their hands in bargain, you just know which one of them is going to hold up their end of the deal. But it's how you get there of course, not necessarily where you're going.

There's a wonderful saloon brawl early on in the film, when Dobbs and Curtin confront the man who cheated them out of their pay, and it's an uneven and almost pathetic display of flailing limbs and thrown weight that is interesting to watch, because it ignores the standard of a quick and easy fight that usually ends in some cheap retribution, and thereby kind of sets the tone for the film; that in this Western world, things can be unfair and bloody and one has to go to uncomfortable lengths to protect or pursue your interests.

The third adventurer, Howard, is a delicious performance by Walter Huston and he plays that wizened yet giddy old man perfectly; he's the type of character that can impart sage advice and dance and click his heels simultaneously, so it's something to relish in. So the three men all provide interesting counter-points to each other, with Howard as a reflection of the hardened selfishness of Dobbs and the compassion and loyalty of Curtin, yet neither entirely either one. He is an old man who has been through more than these two men combined, and still reached this far. He admits at one point that had he been younger he might have actually succumbed to the temptation to betray his partners. Wikipedia describes this as neo-western, and however credible that may be, as these weird categorisations are often convoluted and obtuse, it is definitely not incorrect, as this is not a typical, romanticised Western, where everything hero prevails and everything is right in the world. Yet it is not an 'anti-western' like Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, where there is no hope or unconditional love in the world and everyone's lives are subject to the whims of nature and man, entirely out of their control. This film has a fairly neat, melodramatic conclusion where the characters reflect on preceding events and reach some sort of realisation in their lives (two other films, both of which I love and were coincidentally also released in the same year as this, 'Drunken Angel' and 'Rope', include this type of ending) and the heroes, if we wish to restrict them to a simple title, do prevail, and the bad guys do die, and everyone does, arguably, get their just reward, but this conclusion is earned rather than forced, as there is real human conflict to get there.

The actual gold-procuring part of the film in which the three men live on the mountain for however long reminded me, oddly, or not so oddly, of Brokeback Mountain. In writing that I realise that it may seem my mind has wandered to stupid and immature territory, but I like making odd and tenuous connections with things. Both films have their most consequential moments in the isolated natural landscapes of their respective western worlds, in which their characters become their truest selves. In Brokeback, the two men are alone, herding, in these gorgeous sweeping vistas, and they are in the heart of their Western, slowly drawing closer together but realising this can't happen back home. Here, the men are in a rough, harsh landscape and become more suspicious of each other. They elect to kill a man who insists on working with them, because they can't summon the necessary trust as their energies are consumed entirely by their fortunes. The fortune is gold of course, and we realise, in a concise moral conclusion like those at the end of movies released in 1948, that when man reaches gold, the gold often reaches the worst of him.
2015-02-19
"The Treasure" of American Cinema ...
A brutal and uncompromising portrayal of greed's effects on the human spirit and an exhilarating quest of the Mexican El Dorado, the Treasure of the Sierra Madre. You'll be thrilled by John Huston's masterpiece, a genuine monument that would catch by surprise, even the most skeptical viewers when it comes to 'old' movies.

The "Sierra Madre" was the first major studios films set outside Hollywood, in Mexico, when even the most acclaimed masterpieces didn't raise such a level of authenticity in their exotic setting, like in "Casablanca" when Captain Renault refers to the titular town as the middle of the desert. The geography in Huston's film is crucial as it provides the obligatory escapism for any adventure film, with a unique flavor. In "Sierra Madre" we get the same authentic feeling that probably inspired Clouzot's "Wages of Fear", with the proverbial financial struggle of the white men in South America. There's almost the same criticism of capitalism that prevailed in B. Travel's novel, as these men have been purely and totally exploited by the capitalistic majors that literally raped Mexico from its precious resources.

Huston's movie is less politically loaded, but it portrayed capitalism in a negative light through the downfall and total disintegration of its main character, Humphrey Bogart as Fred C. Dobbs. Bogie, after having been a gangster, a private eye, a cynical, detached, and sometimes romantic lead, probably gives one of his best performances as a big s.o.b. And how he didn't get a nomination is unbelievable. His evolution from a decent man who wants a job and some money to the cold-blooded paranoid lunatic who tries to keep the gold for himself is not only fascinating but also mirrors the evolution of the film from a light-hearted mood, made of some comedic running gags like the encounters with Huston as the rich man in a white suit, to a heart-pounding thriller.

And on that very level, the differences between the characters set the perfect circumstances for tension, despite the many signs of camaraderie displayed in the beginning. Curtin, Tim Holt in a remarkable performance, is younger and exudes a certain idealistic naiveté that counterbalances Dobbs' growing cynicism. Howard, the old-time prospector, an unforgettable Walter Huston, knows everything about prospecting, with enough experience to foresee the psychological changes on people when gold is at stakes. Of course, the movie is also remembered for the famous 'Gold Hat', Alfonso Bedoya with his unforgettable "stinking badges" line but more than an exotic villain, Bedoya foreshadows with a sort of charming charisma the evolution of Dobbs as a similar bastard.

Indeed, one never knows how gold would transform us, and one must have the guts to work alone without falling into madness. During their journey guided by Howard, Dobbs and Curtin discover the true meaning of the word 'value' as measurable through the efforts you spend, days and nights, to find the treasure. Walter Huston deservedly won the Oscar for best supporting character, but he's as central as Vito Corleone in "The Godfather". Whatever Howard says, we know it's the truth, when he's reluctant, we understand it's a bad premonition. And when Howard esteems that the best would be to split the share when it becomes money, Dobbs, already showing signs of suspicion, recommends that each one takes care of his own share. Howard is experimented enough to resign, with all the wisdom of a man who doesn't want trouble.

Dobbs' gradual descent into paranoid madness is highlighted in the episode when a gila monster gets stuck under the rock that covered his share while he suspects Curtin to have come for another reason. The paranoia grows and contaminates the whole team when another American named Cody, joins them and proposes his help. He's obviously smarter than them and doesn't deny that murdering him is an option they would consider. The way the team handled his proposal says a lot about the conservative instinct that could govern so called 'civilized' hearts, and again, doesn't speak in favor of the monopolistic systems regulated by capitalism. The alienation that grows within the team erodes all the camaraderie built during these months of labor, to a point even the word 'partner' loses its humanistic meaning.

Bogart perfectly embodied the metamorphosis of a man alienated by his own greed, where the value of his share of gold, exceeded, every kind of principle that made him a decent man. As it's almost impossible to break free from a gila's bite, Dobbs became that gila with paranoia as a venomous poison, too mistrustful to go, to let go or to be reasoned. When Curtin says he protected Howard's money as he would have done for Dobbs, Dobbs uses the same reasoning in a reverse way, pushing cynicism to its paroxysm : betraying before being betrayed. And in an ironic anticlimactic twist, Dobbs is killed by bandits, 15 minutes before the end of the film as to highlight the pointlessness of this entire struggle. After all, what's the point of earning money if you lose principles?

Failure is a recurrent theme in Huston's films with this double dimension of cynical denunciation, generally driven by an impeccable script, and this entertaining dimension that pleases the crowds as much as the more sophisticated audience, both who, matured enough by World War II, accepted a story about greed and deception, but maybe not Bogie so far from his usual character, playing such an unsavory bastard. I don't know, if like some said, this is why the film's flopped. One thing for sure, after 60 years, it remains as one of the most enduring classics ever, that beautifully earned a father and a son three deserved Oscars.

And any other consideration is as pointless as crying over the loss of the Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and the only reaction it deserves is the unique loud and hysterical, jig-driven, maniacal laugh of Walter Huston …
2011-07-17
Classic Adventure
Humphrey Bogart is the master of all genres. He shows a character's strengths and faults so realistically you forget you're watching a movie. In this film his fortunes go from down to up to the ultimate demise. The suspicions of his character Dobbs are almost too disturbing to bear. Good versus evil is evident and shocking. Still Dobbs is human and the viewer can identify with him. The other prospectors are portrayed as almost saintly. The bad guys are shown as savages who don't even appreciate the importance of a lawman's badge. The ending where the good guys end up with nothing for all the trouble they went through is a letdown. Natives are depicted as ignorant of basic medical knowledge and the White Man has to save them. This wouldn't go on in a modern movie.
2014-07-03
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Superb movie. Every inch the all-time classic it is made out to be. John Huston doesn't put a foot wrong in a movie that it on the surface a Western- / adventure-epic, but deep down it is so much more than that. It is about greed, and how wealth corrupts, and what is important in life.

Even ignoring the deeper meaning, it is an excellent movie. Brilliant plot. Enthralling, not at all predictable and incredibly engaging. You are lead on a continuous, unflagging, adventure, where you care what happens to the characters, but have no idea how things will turn out.

Humphrey Bogart didn't get an Oscar nomination for his performance, but he deserved one. For once he isn't necessarily a good guy, and his portrayal of Dobbs' descent into paranoia and madness are incredible to behold. Superb performance by Bogart, and possibly his best. Only Casablanca, and maybe The Caine Mutiny, comes close, I think.

Good support from Tim Holt and Walter Huston. Walter Huston won Best Supporting Actor for his performance, which would make for a rare feat - a son directing his father to an Oscar-winning performance.

Surely one of the greatest movies ever made.
2014-01-04
Well concluded movie
Dobbs and Curtin are two guys that are desperate from living on streets and after meeting Howard they decide to go on gold searching journey which will bring a lot to table. All three of them went there with hopes to find anything that will give them some kind of life but after realizing how much they could get Dobbs starts to change attitude towards them leaving with quantity of gold they have. Dobbs slowly but surely starts to lose himself in so much gold that starts to eat him and now his mistrust is pointed into everybody. After encountering Cody, there arrives trouble with bandits and now they are face to face and trying to survive. Cody ends up dead and bandits running away from Federals and now three companions decide to leave. One night they come in touch with indios that seek help for their kid and Howard decides to help them and tomorrow they are going away but villagers are determined that Howard stays and enjoys with them leaving Dobbs and Curtin to carry his gold. Dobbs finally lost it and in his madness he shots Curtin taking all gold and hoping to leave with everything. Dobbs soon after gets caught recognized by bandits which led to his death and Curtin was found by indios so now they are leaving to find Dobbs. Their discovery shocked them but it had a great sarcastic ending. It was a great journey and adventure but sometimes movie feels to slow and to long but it had a a great point of view on humans. There were some great and intense moments alongside with a great script by John Huston. All three men Bogart (Dobbs), Holt (Curtin) and Walter Huston were great in the movie giving three different portrayals of men but original. 9.4/10
2017-01-15
THE BEST
It's hard to avoid superlatives when writing about your favorite film of all time, so bear with me here if I tend to go overboard. The fact remains, however, that "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" contains what is arguably Humphrey Bogart's finest screen performance in a 25+-year career; one of John Huston's best directorial efforts; AND my favorite performance of all time--Walter Huston as the wise-with-experience prospector, Howard. For this terrific portrayal, Walter Huston won what is perhaps the most well-deserved Supporting Actor Oscar in the history of those dubious awards.

By now, everyone is familiar with the story of the three gold prospectors who go into the wilds of Mexico, only to be undone by gila monsters, banditos, and human and Mother Nature. This is perhaps the best (there's that word again) movie ever made on the subject of human greed...including the incredible 1925 von Streihem classic, "Greed" itself. The movie has so many quotable quotes--the "stinking badges" line is just one of dozens--and wonderful, classic moments, including a brutal fight in a cantina; the fight on the train with the banditos; Howard's jig when gold is finally discovered; the Bogart/Alfonso Bedoya conversation before the shootout; Bruce Bennett's arrival in the camp; and on and on and on. My personal favorite moment occurs when Howard looks straight into the camera as a pretty Mexican girl lights his cigar. The expression on his face is absolutely priceless. There is one extended sequence that takes place in a village where the banditos have come to sell their stolen burros. The entire scene is performed in Spanish, which I don't speak at all, but such is the power of the directing and the storytelling that no subtitles are required to understand precisely what is going on. This picture is a true American classic, and a wonderful retelling of a terrific Traven novel (which I also highly recommend). It seems to me that I may have given Humphrey Bogart (my favorite actor) insufficient praise in this minireview. The truth is, the actor's portrayal of a man transforming from a decent and generous human being into a venal and dangerous sociopath is little short of miraculous. This is a much more interesting performance than the one Bogart won his only Oscar for, three years later--as Charlie Allnut in "The African Queen." Go figure. To conclude, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" is that rarity: a perfect motion picture. If you're about to see it for the first time, I envy you; if you're about to see it for the 30th time with undiminished pleasure, then you're like me. 10/10
2002-08-13
The seeds of mistrust are sown
IMDb Top 250: 71

Wow. After seeing The Maltese Falcon, an earlier Huston film, I was a little nervous going into this one because I hated The Maltese Falcon. I was in for a surprise: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is fantastic.

Two Americans in Mexico work with an aged prospector to find gold in the 20's. That's the short. They fight the elements, bandits, other Americans and even each other to try and make their fortune. This is a plot-focused film, a true adventure. But it steps beyond that: it becomes a character analysis, with themes of greed, betrayal, and suspicion: all in the desert of Mexico. It starts strong, ends strong, and is a bull the whole way through.

Like Sunset Blvd., a film from 1950, 'Treasure' is made during the transition period between 'old' and 'new' cinema. There are more cuts and the film feels more dynamic. The film is extraordinarily well made, and is visually fantastic being filmed on location in Mexico, a first. The imposing musical score is also great.

I think this is the best Humphrey Bogart film; both in his performance and the overall film. My view of him was turned upside down in this film. The Rick Blaine/ Philip Marlowe character is gone, replaced by a bearded, rugged, unclean bum who asks for money from tourists, and has a really, really creepy laugh. Dobbs. His development is incredible, showing his doubts and delusions without making us have to infer anything. The other two in the treasure hunting trio hold their own next to Dobbsy. Howard (Walter Huston) is an eccentric old-timer, and we are never quite sure what his agenda is, or if he even has one. Curtin (Tim Holt) is the straight man of the three, but is just as grey as them. Together there are three great performances of three great characters in a great scenario. Although I have to say the head bandit is a tad too comical.

The plot makes for a great film, treasure hunters in Mexico. There's great dialogue, scenery, fights (fistfights still from the old film era though), and suspense. This western noir has a great pace. There's a lot of character foreshadowing, and then it wraps up with a quietly brilliant ending, though it might not be so astounding today.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was much better than I could have expected- it's a strong, constantly engaging film. The plot is solid and well told, with developed ideas and characters. And a very, very memorable Humphrey Bogart. 8.9/10
2012-03-16
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