HomeAmerican Entertainment‘Elvis’ Star Austin Butler Picks a Clint Eastwood Western as His Favorite Classic Film

‘Elvis’ Star Austin Butler Picks a Clint Eastwood Western as His Favorite Classic Film

by Craig Garrett
Austin Butler
(Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Elvis actor Austin Butler is one of Hollywood’s fastest-rising young stars, but his pick for his favorite classic film may surprise you. At this year’s Academy Luncheon, TCM’s Dave Karger had the pleasure of conversing with 2023 Oscar nominees about their most beloved classic films. He managed to sit down with Butler, who expressed his love for an essential Clint Eastwood western.

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“The first film I ever remember seeing was The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” Butler recalled to Karger. Butler explained that the iconic Ennio Morricone soundtrack can instantly transport him back to childhood. “I remember that soundtrack and watching Clint Eastwood that movie back to me as like a five-year-old.”

Capturing the essence of classic Spaghetti Westerns, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly delivers a gripping story about transforming allegiances and plain human avarice. The plot follows three men who are in pursuit of concealed gold: an enigmatic loner (Clint Eastwood), a thief (Eli Wallach), and a bounty hunter (Lee Van Cleef). However, it’s anything but straightforward; none of these characters share faith with one another—for understandable reasons—and they must also contend with the Civil War going on around them.

The Clint Eastwood classic was originally going to tie in more closely with two previous films

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was Sergio Leone’s third film with Clint Eastwood. The trilogy helped establish Eastwood as a major star and put Leone on the international map. In fact, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly originally was intended to have “dollars” in the title to capitalize on the previous two films (A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More).

Elvis director Baz Luhrmann also weighed in on his favorite figure of classic cinema. “I’m a big crazy Orsen Welles fan,” he explained. “I mean, even though Orsen, it is extraordinary work and you know that it was very rough and tumble towards the end. He was always pushing the envelope. He was always larger than life he made incredibly theatrical but extraordinarily meaningful and powerful movies.”

Finally, acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro expressed his admiration for Marilyn Monroe, perhaps one of the most iconic stars of classic Hollywood. “[Marilyn Monroe] was incredibly interesting,” the Hellboy helmer explained. “The level the depth of her understanding of literature and her curiosity about culture the way she understood the camera, and the way she understood the lens. You know, when you work with a great actor, the actor knows as much about the camera as the director or the cinematographer. And Marilyn could basically control the camera in front of it. And I would love to talk about that with her.”