Sad Hill Cemetery is, without a doubt, the best location of the mythical film of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. It represents with absolute crudeness the absurdity of war, with its hundreds of simple graves arranged in concentric circles.
Contemplating the cemetery is also remembering the final climax of the film with the legendary “triello” between the three protagonists. The looks, the tension, the moment of the shots, … One of the best memories of the Spaghetti Western!
After decades of abandonment, Sad Hill Cemetery shines again as the day of filming the movie. All thanks to the effort of volunteers from the area and the Sad Hill Cultural Association.
In the following lines, we will tell you what you can find today in the cemetery of Sad Hill, how to get here, other scenes of the film shot in this area of Burgos and several curious facts. It is already taking time to plan your visit to this place of worship of the cinema!
Sad Hill Cemetery (Burgos)
In the first place, we find on arrival is a sculpture in honor of Sergio Leone, the mythical director of the film. In it, you can see “Blondie”, with his characteristic countenance, hat, poncho and the name of the director at his side.
Moreover, we also found a wooden sign that tells us where we are: The Sad Hill Cemetery! And we remind ourselves that in 2016, 50 years of the mythical movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” have already been completed.
We go a little further and find an informative mural with details of the place and the film, although the vast majority of visitors will have seen the film countless times …
You can also see a wrought iron sign that marks the Sad Hill Cemetery, with 2 guns representing the duels in the Western United States.
Even though we are still at the entrance of the cemetery, we continue to contemplate memories of the film. An impressive black silhouette reminds us of Clint Eastwood with its unmistakable poncho. Same as in the movie!
Scenarios of the movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”
Once we move away from the entrance, we arrive at the impressive esplanade of crosses. Although it is the restored decoration of a film, the vision of thousands of tombs arranged in concentric circles does not cease to shake us. A whole uniform field of graves and crosses, which remind us of the huge cemeteries in Normandy.
We walk among them until we reach the central area, where the “Hangman’s Tree” is located. It is here that he is in the tomb of “Arch Stanton” …
… and also the tomb of the unknown soldier, where the spoils of war really hid. What memories of this wonderful movie!
And finally, we find the stone circle where the final duel took place between the three protagonists. It is perfectly restored.
It seems that we are listening to the magnificent soundtrack of Ennio Morricone, feeling the looks of “the Good”, “the Bad” and “the Ugly”, the tension of the moment and final outcome with the shots …
How to get to Sad Hill Cemetery?
The route is simple and suitable for driving. You only have one last leg of the road, but well equipped to drive.
- If you want to go from Burgos, take the national N-234 towards Soria. Leave in the village of Barbadillo del Mercado and go to the village of Contreras. When you get there, take the road that goes to Santo Domingo de Silos (indicated). About 3 km away you will find Sad Hill Cemetery.
- If you come from Madrid on the National I towards Burgos, take the exit at Lerma. From here, head on the provincial road BU-900 towards Santo Domingo de Silos. Once there, take the road that leads to the town of Contreras. Halfway down is Sad Hill Cemetery.
Where to stay near Sad Hill Cemetery?
Our recommendation is that you stay in the city of Burgos and travel by car through the beautiful villages nearby until you reach the cemetery of Sad Hill: Covarrubias village, Santo Domingo de Silos village, Lerma town, Hacinas village, Salas de Los Infantes town, … This way you take advantage of the trip.
Although you can also book a rural accommodation in one of the tourist villages we mentioned: Santo Domingo de Silos village (a 4,7 km), Covarrubias town (a 17 km), Salas de los Infantes town (a 17 km), Hacinas village (a 18 km) o Lerma town (a 35 km). So you can enjoy the most relaxed experience and sleep in the area that served as the setting for this great movie.
Other locations of the movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”
Not only was Sad Hill Cemetery used in the famous movie, there are several more scenarios in this area near Santo Domingo de Silos:
- The San Antonio Mission: Temple where Confederate war wounds and “Blondie” (Clint Eastwood) are healed. The interiors were engraved in the cloister of the monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza. Instead, the exterior plans of La Mision were recorded in the Cortijo de El Fraile in Níjar (Almería).
- Battle of the Langstone Bridge: It was recorded on the banks of the Arlanza River, also in the area of this monastery. Today there is no rest of the film, but you can identify the hill where the trenches of the unionist army were.
- Hermitage of San Pelayo: Ruins of a hermitage located a few meters from the Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza. They are seen in the movie from the window of the room in which “Blondie” is recovered.
- Betterville: Prison camp where “Blondie” and “Tuco” are held. There are currently no visible remains of this scenario.
Fun facts about the movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”
As in all films, there are anecdotes and curious facts about the recording and subsequent release of this film. Here are some of them:
- While it is recognized today as a cult film, this film won no Oscar or any major awards in its time.
- The film belongs to the so-called “Dollars Trilogy”, along with “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964) and “For a Few Dollars More” (1965).
- The poncho worn by Clint Eastwood is the same as in the rest of the “Dollars Trilogy” movies.
- The Langstone Bridge was built and flown 2 times. The first time it was flown by mistake when the cameras were not recording. The second time’s a charm!.
- When Tuco arrives at the cemetery he is surprised by the appearance of a dog. This is no accident. Sergio Leone released him to find a more natural reaction to the camera.
- The Sad Hill Cemetery was built by several hundred Spanish soldiers in just a couple of days.
- There are several tombs in memory of celebrities: Sergio Leone, “Metallica” band (fans of this movie), … and Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, one of nature’s best naturalists.
“Sad Hill Unearthed” documentary
Documentary that tells how some romantic of Western cinema decide to rebuild the old Sad Hill cemetery. It is directed by Guillermo de Oliveira and has won several awards. If you are a admirer of Sergio Leone’s work, you cannot miss it.
Sad Hill Cultural Association
It is a collective that was formed with the idea of rebuilding and promoting the scenarios used by Sergio Leone in the filming of the movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, mainly the cemetery of Sad Hill.
This association was the one that managed to rebuild the cemetery and leave it exactly as it appeared in the film. A job not easy.
To achieve this, among other initiatives, they allowed to sponsor a grave for the symbolic amount of 15 euros. An idea so good that the past February 5, 2019 was assigned the last grave. However, you can make a donation for maintenance and cultural activities associated with the Sad Hill Cemetery.
Nearby places of interest
- Santo Domingo de Silos village: Famous for its historic abbey, where its Benedictine monks sing Gregorian splendidly. It also stands out for its beautiful cloister. It is 4.7 km from Sad Hill Cemetery.
- Desfiladero de La Yecla: Natural canyon of undoubted beauty where to live a small adventure. It is suitable for easy travel. It is 7.8 km from Sad Hill Cemetery and 3 km from Santo Domingo de Silos. (Read more about the gorge of La Yecla)
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