Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Epic Western, Revisionist Western, Ensemble Film, Spaghetti Western  |   Run Time - 165 min.  |   Countries - Italy, USA  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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In Sergio Leone's epic Western, shot partly in Monument Valley, a revenge story becomes an epic contemplation of the Western past. To get his hands on prime railroad land in Sweetwater, crippled railroad baron Morton (Gabriele Ferzetti) hires killers, led by blue-eyed sadist Frank (Henry Fonda), who wipe out property owner Brett McBain (Frank Wolff) and his family. McBain's newly arrived bride, Jill (Claudia Cardinale), however, inherits it instead. Both outlaw Cheyenne (Jason Robards) and lethally mysterious Harmonica (Charles Bronson) take it upon themselves to look after Jill and thwart Frank's plans to seize her land. As alliances and betrayals mutate, it soon becomes clear that Harmonica wants to get Frank for another reason -- it has "something to do with death." As in his "Dollars" trilogy, Leone transforms the standard Western plot through the visual impact of widescreen landscapes and the figures therein. At its full length, Once Upon a Time in the West is Leone's operatic masterwork, worthy of its legend-making title.

Characteristics

Moods

Keywords

gunfighter, hired-gun [hit man], railroad, harmonica, homestead, land-rights, outlaw [Western], revenge, showdown, sociopath, against-all-odds, family-member, frontier, land, assassination, flashback, tragic-love

Attributes

High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance, High Production Values