I was surprised to find the origin of the line, “Badges? I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!” in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. I suppose that’s the real treasure. That and Walter Huston’s now benchmark eccentric prospector character.
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre has so much going on that it’s impossible even for this ADD-stricken viewer to get bored. The film blends seamlessly from drama, through to adventure, until it becomes action and rounds off with a powerful life-lesson. Howard gets to live out his days in peace, like he wanted. Curtin heads back to America to grow peaches, like he wanted. And Dobbs, the one who was most insistent of the strength of his character, becomes a gold-eyed monster.
This film is an exercise in how not to be a team player. To be honest, I can relate to the trust issues that the main characters develop. Many years ago, I struck it rich when I opened a pack of Pokémon cards and found a shiny Alakazam – from then on, I couldn’t be sure who my real friends were.
When I was growing up, I always wanted to have an adventure like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Of course, I didn’t know that back then, because I’ve only just seen it for the first time. Half classic adventure story, half tragic parable, this film is (so far) my favourite classic film on the Top 250.