The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

treasure of the sierra madre poster 1948 movie
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great morality tale


Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Studio:  Warner Bros.

Genre(s):   Action/Adventure/Western

Release Date(s):  January 14, 1948 (Premiere)/January 15, 1948 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

treasure of the sierra madre gold humphrey bogart tim holt walter huston

Gold! Now everything will be good!

Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) is a man down on his luck in Tampico.  Joining a work crew, he meets Bob Curtin (Tim Holt), and the two are soon joined by the frustration of a con.  When they meet Howard (Walter Huston) who claims to know the location of a gold payload, the three create an uneasy alliance…but the temptation of wealth is strong and the bond between men may not be strong enough.

Directed by John Huston (who also adapted the screenplay), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is an action-adventure Western.  The film is an adaptation of the 1927 German novel Der Schatz der Sierra Madre by B. Traven.  The film won Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Huston), and Best Screenplay with a nomination for Best Picture.  The film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1990.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was a big hole in my film viewing for years.  The movie is important and influential…and finally seeing it, I get its place in cinematic history, but it isn’t my favorite film.

treasure of the sierra madre we dont need no stinkin badges alfonso bedoya

Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

The movie is essentially is about the morals of men and how money corrupts.  The characters all start out at the same tier of society and have the opportunity to all get out…but their actions cause their downfall.  Dobbs of course is the worst of the three in that he (as the backer) feels most entitled…despite his life being saved multiple times by the other characters.  The cost of a life doesn’t equal the cost of gold, and he pays for it.

Humphrey Bogart plays the down on the luck man who is driven mad by gold and he does it well with his expressive eyes.  Tim Holt is kind of bland as his friend, but Walter Huston is fun as the old prospector who isn’t quite all there.  The movie has fun small appearances Alfonso Bedoya (aka Gold Hat) by as the leader of the banditos (“We don’t need no stinkin’ badges”) and Bruce Bennett (Cody) is oddly thrown in as more of a moral decision for the other characters rather than a fully developed character.  The movie also features a young uncredited Robert Blake as the lottery ticket kid (John Huston also cameos).

treasure of the sierra madre ending humphrey bogart killed

Greed = Death

The movie was shot in Mexico and is known as the first Hollywood film shot out of the United States.  The film comes off as a noir film but with its nice location, it might have been better served to be shot in color…but the black and white does catch the grittiness of the picture.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a good film.  It has a smart runtime and doesn’t drag like modern pictures that would have extended each segment.  It is put together well and it earns the praise it receives.  The movie isn’t my type of movie though and though I am happy to have seen it and enjoyed it, I don’t know that I’ll revisit it often.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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