The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

directed by John Huston
Category: "Western"
Year of Release:1948
Date Added:01/10/2008
Date Watched:11/08/2005
Description: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.
My Rating:5

Reviews for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Review - Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The

Curtin and Dobbs are two Americans bumbing around Mexico, looking for money. Ina flop house, they hear Howard, an old prospector talking about gold to be found in the mountains. They talk him into joining them — with the total amount of money they need miraculously showing up when a boy tells Dobbs his lottery ticket has just won. They strike gold in the mountains and mine for 10 months. Then another American, Cody, follows Curtin back from the village where he was getting supplies. He insists on joining them in their prospecting. The three miners decide to kill him, but before they can, Cody points to a large group of banditos coming up the mountain. They hide and engage in a gun fight with the bandits who are after their guns, not the gold. Cody is killed, and the bandits are convieniently run off by Federales. The three men look through Cody’s stuff and find that he has a beautiful wife and son who live by a peach orchard in Texas.

Dobbs gets more suspicious of the others and more jealous of his gold as the days go by, but the fight with the banditos seems to level him off. When the mine is played out, they each have $35,000 in gold. They head toward Durango. On the way, they are met by Indians who ask them to look at a boy who is unconscious. Howard goes into the village and heals the kid. The Indians are thankful and insist he stay a few days so they can show their gratitude. Dobbs and Curtin head north with Howard’s money. Dobbs goes nuts again and tries to convince Curtin to split Howard’s money and take off. Curtin refuses and disarms Dobbs, but on the second night he falls asleep. Dobbs grabs his gun and shoots Curtin. The next morning, Curtin’s body is gone. Turns out he wasn’t dead and managed to crawl to find some Indians who take him to the village where Howard is. Howard bandages him and they take off after Dobbs.

Dobbs almost dies of thirst but manages to find a well. As he’s drinking, the banditos show up and kill him. They think the gold is sand and dump it on the ground, then go into a town to sell the mules. The Federales are there and arrest them and execute them. Curtin and Howard show up, but the gold is all blown away in a storm. They laugh at their misfortune. Howard goes back to the village to be the medicine man. Curtin heads for Texas to find Cody’s widow.

• The line "Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinking badges!" was voted as the #36 best movie quote by the American Film Institute.
• The little boy who sells Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) the portion of the winning lottery ticket is Robert Blake (of "Little Rascals" and "Baretta" fame).

This is a stupid movie on so many levels. I have a very difficult time believing it’s on the AFI best 100 movies list, and pretty high up on the list too. The dialogue reminds me of the videos Jim Matheson and I used to do for Awana. It is so contrived and so stilted that it conveys no sense of reality. The coincidences, like the lottery winnings, are ridiculous. They travel for days to find a spot in the mountains where nobody has ever been and the maps are incomplete. Then Cody shows up, then the banditos, then the Federales, then the Indians. The place is crawling with people. Bogart’s acting as Dobbs is erratic and totally unconvincing. One minute he’s polite and cooperative. The next minute he’s a raving idiot. Just stupid. I couldn’t take any of it seriously. I know it’s supposed to be a morality tale about the lust for gold and what it can do for a man, but it was so hammed up that it seemed like a tale for children.
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