The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a 1948 American dramatic adventurous neo-western written and directed by John Huston. It’s a feature film adaption of B. Traven’s 1927 novel of the same name, about two financially desperate Americans, Fred C. Dobbs and Bob Curtin, who in the 1920s join old-timer Howard in Mexico to prospect for gold. Take a look below for 28 more fun and fascinating facts about The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
1. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was one of the first Hollywood movies to be filmed on location outside the United States, in the state of Durango and street scenes in Tampico, Mexico.
2. In 1990, the movie was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being, “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
3. Walter Huston, father of director John Huston, won the Academy Ward for best supporting actor. John won for best direction. This was the first father and son win.
4. In his Oscar acceptance speech, Walter Houston said, “Many, many years ago, I brought up a boy and I said to him, “Son, if you ever become a writer, try to write a good part for your old man sometimes.” Well, by cracky, that’s what he did!”
5. On seeing the depth of Walter Huston’s performance, Humphrey Bogart famously said, “One Huston is bad enough, but two are murder.”
6. John Huston stated that working with his father on the movie and his father’s subsequent Oscar win were among the favorite moments of his life.
7. A doctor was assigned to the unit in Mexico and one night he had to attend to John Huston, who had an adverse reaction to marijuana, having smoked it for the first time with his father.
8. There were scenes in which Walter Huston had to speak fluent Spanish, a language he didn’t know off camera. To fill this need, John Huston hired a Mexican to record the lines, and then the elder Huston memorized them so well that many assumed he knew the language like a native.
9. The movie’s line, “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’ht have to show you any stinking badges!”, was voted as the number 36 movie quote by the American Film Institute.
10. John Huston has a cameo as an American tourist in the movie. This scene was directed by Humphrey Bogart, who took malicious pleasure on his director by making him perform the scene over and over again.
11. To lend authenticity to his role, Walter Huston was persuaded by his son John to perform without his false teeth.
12. Initially thrilled at Walter Huston’s scene-stealing performance, as the shoot wore on producer Henry Blanke started to have second thoughts about Huston upstaging the movie’s star, Humphrey Bogart, and so John Huston started to get notes from the studio telling him to tone down his father’s performance.
13. Prior to filming, Humphrey Bogart encountered a critic while leaving a New York nightclub. He said, “Wait till you see me in my next picture, I play the worst shit you ever saw.”
14. Humphrey Bogart’s portrayal of “Dobbs” in the movie was cited by Steven Spielberg as the main inspiration for the character of Indiana Jones.
15. The fight scene in the cantina took five days to shoot.
16. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is one of Stanley Kubrick’s favorite movies.
17. Walter Huston learned his famous jig from playwright Eugene O’Neill when he was performing in O’Neill’s play “Desire Under the Elms” in 1925. This most famous of dances was unscripted and was Walter’s idea.
18. The wind storm at the finale was created by borrowing some jet engines from the Mexican Air Force.
19. John Huston rated his father’s performance as the finest piece of acting in any of his movies.
20. Robert Blake snatched the water glass and coffee cup, the instrumental props from his big scene, as mementos of his time on the movie.
21. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was a major influence on Sam Peckinpah. The Wild Bunch follows in its footsteps and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia even has a character called Fred C. Dobbs.
22. It was novelist B. Traven who suggested that John Huston play the part of the American tourist.
23. John Huston wrote the part of Howard specifically for his father, Walter Huston. The character that appears in the original novel is much older. Author B. Traven had actually envisaged Lewis Stone in the part.
24. Most of the Mexican extras were paid 10 pesos per day, which was the equivalent of $2.00, a considerable amount for an impoverished region at the time.
25. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was an inspiration for Paul Thomas Anderson when he was making There Will Be Blood.
26. Lux Radio Theater broadcast a 60 minute radio adaption of the movie on April 18, 1949, with Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston reprising their film roles.
27. Vincent Sherman was all set to direct a version of the story during the World War II years until his script fell foul of the Breen office for being derogatory towards Mexicans.
28. Humphrey Bogart’s and Tim Holt’s very first scene together was also the very first scene shot.