Clint Eastwood: Here’s Who Nearly Played His ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly’ Role

by Madison Miller
Photo by: United Artists/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Can you imagine someone else playing “The Man with No Name” in “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”?

Seeing as it’s one of Clint Eastwood’s most influential and popular Western roles to date, it’s certainly hard to imagine. It may not even be something we’re willing to imagine at all.

The “Dollar’s Trilogy,” the three popular Spaghetti Western movies directed by Sergio Leone and starring Eastwood, continue to have massive viewership. If Clint Eastwood had passed up on the role, Charles Bronson would have swooped in and played the character with the iconic poncho.

It actually wouldn’t have been too surprising for someone else to get this role. After all, at the time Eastwood was more of a TV actor anyways. Fans knew him from his “Rawhide” appearances before he would star in “Fistfull of Dollars” in 1964. It was truly his breakthrough role.

Although Eastwood was excited to get the role in the beginning, he had mixed feelings toward the end of the trilogy. According to Screenrant, he was not initially sold on starring in “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” in 1966. Apparently, Charles Bronson (who you may know from “Death Wish” movies) was ready to swipe that poncho and the cigar right from Eastwood.

If Clint Eastwood passed on the movie trilogy’s last installment, Leone wanted Charles Bronson in the role. Bronson was also being considered to play either Angel Eyes or Tuco in the movie. He was actually unavailable at the time due to his filming schedule for “Dirty Dozen.” Another possibility was apparently Steve McQueen as the Man with No Name.

An instance of déjà vu happened years later. Leone was making “Once Upon A Time In The West.” Eastwood was first offered the lead. He passed on the movie and it went to Bronson instead. It seems to have all worked out, seeing as this role is one of Bronson’s most famous.

While we have no doubt Bronson can put on a stellar Western performance, Eastwood vacating for the last movie would have been tragic. These are the movies that helped launch his career, the least he could do was finish all three. Clint Eastwood has since become one of the last-standing Western film stars. His movies always were cynical, violent, and provoking.

His last movie in the genre was “Unforgiven,” now considered one of the best ever made in the genre. He made a slight comeback with “Cry Macho” in 2021. This movie was far more emotional, less violent, and more heartfelt than any other Western-style movie of Eastwood’s.

If this is all making you crave watching “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly,” then you’re in luck. Amazon Prime is adding movies to its roster, including “A Fistfull of Dollars” and “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.” The second movie, “For A Few Dollars More,” is not currently available on Prime.