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Once upon a Time in the West

  • Western
  • Drama
  • 1968
  • Sergio Leone
  • 158 mins
  • 12

Summary

Epic spaghetti western starring Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards and Charles Bronson. A cold-blooded killer is hired to ensure the progress of the railroad through a nascent frontier town. Standing in its way is recently widowed Jill McBain, whose property has a water supply that is vital for the venture.

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Review

A star rating of 5 out of 5.

In seeking to paint "a fresco on the birth of a great nation", Sergio Leone turned to the Hollywood western, rather than American history, for his inspiration. Set at the time when the dollar replaced the bullet as the currency of the frontier, this breathtaking tale of progress, greed and revenge clearly bears the influence of John Ford's seminal silent western The Iron Horse (1924). The story focuses on brutish gunfighter Frank (Henry Fonda), who dreams of becoming a tycoon, but is still prepared to resort to trusted methods to drive widow Jill McBain (Claudia Cardinale) off the land coveted by a ruthless railroad company. However, Frank must also deal with a mysterious harmonica player (Charles Bronson), as well as sympathetic outlaw Cheyenne (Jason Robards), if he is to achieve his goal. The screenplay was based on an original treatment by Bernardo Bertolucci, Dario Argento and Leone himself; despite such impressive credentials, however, much of the action was improvised around the mood of the score, which Ennio Morricone had composed in advance. No wonder many critics described the film as an operatic masterpiece.

Credits

Cast

rolename
FrankHenry Fonda
Jill McBainClaudia Cardinale
CheyenneJason Robards
HarmonicaCharles Bronson
Brett McBainFrank Wolff
MortonGabriele Ferzetti
SheriffKeenan Wynn
SamPaolo Stoppa
WobblesMarco Zuanelli
BarmanLionel Stander
SnakyJack Elam
StonyWoody Strode
KnucklesAl Mulock

Crew

rolename
DirectorSergio Leone

Details

Theatrical distributor
BFI
Released on
2009-07-24
Languages
English | Italian | Spanish
Guidance
Contains some violence and swearing.
Available on
video, DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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