Loosely based on the Biblical parable of the thieves and the "Pardoner's Tale" in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, John Huston's morality tale is one of the great cinematic proofs of the Biblical adage radix malorum est cupitidas, or, the root of evil is the love of money. The film is a clever study of the erosive effect that money can have on flawed men's characters. Shot entirely on location in Mexico, the film's dry and dusty atmosphere is clearly authentic. Humphrey Bogart's maniacal Fred Dobbs is one of moviedom's great characterizations, a conglomeration of cunning, greed and paranoia. As his wealth mounts, so does his distrust. While external threats abound, the real enemy lies within. The Treasure of the Sierre Madre examines the essential existential hopelessness and loneliness of the avaricious man, drawing an implicit parallel between the prospectors and man's contemporary pursuit of material wealth. A failure with audiences who apparently didn't want to see Bogie playing such a nefarious anti-hero, the movie is now recognized by most critics as an American classic: AFI voted it #30 on the list of 100 all time great American films, while for the first time ever, a father and son -- John (for directing and screenplay) and Walter Huston (for best supporting actor) -- won Oscars for their stellar work.
by Dan Jardine review