I'm gonna say something controversial now, I like this film more than The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.
Of course the third in the trilogy is a masterwork which I love (even got a poster of it on my wall!) but there's something great about this film that makes me so fond of it, it's just unfortunate that the third film was such a landmark of the Western genre that this film often doesn't get the recognition it deserves, like a younger brother trying to live up to the greater achievements of the older. I think what swings it for me though is just the amount of brilliant one-off scenes that this film has. For instance, the card scene where Clint cheats (the film doesn't show it but i like to think he does!) 'I didn't hear what the bet was?' - 'Your life.' Also the tongue in cheek of it all is superb, like where Clint and Van Cleef test their shooting skill by shooting each others hats off and all over the place!
But don't let this mild humour fool you, there is a serious revenge story behind all this and the plot unfolds like the timepiece which is centre-fold to the story. Sergio Leone manages (along with its plot, action and everything else) to cram in a good deal of vivid imagery into this film as well, I for one will never forget the picture of the three mexican gunslingers silhouetted against the town waiting for Manco to enter. Additionally, don't expect to see Lee Van Cleef match his performance here in the good, bad & ugly, his portrayal of Colonal Mortimer here is understandibly tough but understatedly moving as the film reaches its climax, and for me its Cleef who steals every scene.
This film for me is a modern great/seminal classic whatever you want to call it its one of them! Add to all this a soundtrack which is probably the best I've ever heard on a Western, ranging from a lonely whistle to a full scale orchestral blast, possibly only matched by the composition heard in Once Upon a Time in the West, Ennio Morricone must have been an absolute genius. Basically this a must see movie, so see it!