Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Story of a young woman, Mrs. McBain, who moves from New Orleans to frontier Utah, on the very edge of the American West. She arrives to find her new husband and family slaughtered, but by who? The prime suspect, coffee-lover Cheyenne, befriends her and offers to go after the real killer, assassin gang leader Frank, in her honor. He is accompanied by Harmonica on his quest to get even. Get-rich-quick subplots and intricate character histories intertwine with such artistic flair that this could in fact be the movie-to-end-all-movies. Runtime: 175 mins Release Date: 20 Dec 1968
No western has ever come close to this one....and no western ever will. (by daniken)
I can't quite find the words to even come close to describing the pure brilliance of this movie. When this movie was made, the western genre was dominated by the big hollywood studios. The western was taken by these studios and transformed into an opportunity to portray classic superheroes like John Wayne and Burt Lancaster in their fight against all sorts of smalltime crooks and outlaws in smalltime stories and smalltime towns. It was a genuine effort to portray 'Americanism', the American Way, along with a romanticised view of the west as 'Frontier country' where good <more>
always triumphed over bad and where the life was hard but honest. It was the American Way.And then came this film. The title, 'Once Upon A Time In The West' must have seemed to mean nothing more than 'just another western' to the unexpecting viewers at the time. Oh boy were they wrong. With this movie, Sergio Leone singlehandedly redefined the western genre and no American western would ever match the brilliant spirit in which it was made. While the story is basically the same as in any other western, it is the WAY in which it is presented that so clearly distances this western from others. Whereas other westerns are simply stories that are designed to entertain, this movie is an emotional masterpiece that will move your heart. Sergio Leone takes the ordinary western and replaces words with looks, and conversations with feelings and emotions. With his brutal but honest portrayal of the sheer hardness of life and death in those times he thoroughly destroys the old romantic idea of the west as a 'generally-hunky-dory-kind-of-scene with the occasional bad guy and indian' and replaces it with an eerie, dark, hot and dry place where life is cheap and only the strongest will survive.I cannot adequately convey in words the way in which Sergio Leone deepens and defines the characters by pure means of visual persuasion. It starts with the three gunman in the beginning of the movie, waiting for some reason at a train station for someone or something that obviously is going to be on the next train. No explanation, no conversation; not a word is said. Even the stationmaster is ushered into captivity without a single audible threat. Then comes the waiting... Any other director would have skipped directly to the moment of arrival, but Sergio Leone takes minutes of boredom and translates it into a visual feast, deepening the characters that are portrayed and making them more human, more real to the viewer, while at the same time encompassing us with a deep dark sense of foreboding. This way in which the story is not just augmented but in times completely replaced by the sheer visual drama, is perfected by the absolute fantastic music, directed by Ennio Morricone. Who needs words and explanations when the combined forces of cinematic mastery and heart-tearing music are not just able to carry the story, but pick it up and push it up to such heights of excellence that it has no equal in it's genre?Another great feat that adds to the power of this movie is the minimalistic way of portrayal of the characters as real, emotional people. Not a single word is said that isn't required for the understanding of the story, yet the characters feel more true than those in movies where whole conversations are added merely to explain their motives. Instead of words, the camera focuses on the characters...so that you can simply read the emotion off their faces. Often no explanation is given other than than a mere facial expression. No superheroes or supercriminals, just real, desire-laden, traumatised, obsessed people that act upon motives inherently understood by the viewer.All in all this is without a single doubt in my mind the greatest western of all times, and even though Sergio Leone has made many more mindblowing, heart-shattering westerns like this one, like 'A Fistful of Dynamite', 'The Good The Bad and The Ugly', and 'For a Few Dollars More', none could equal 'Once Upon A Time In The West' in sheer magnitude of perfection. Western has never been the same since....I only wish I'd have been there in 1969 when the movie was new and see it, for the first time with fresh innocent eyes and an unexpecting mind..just like 2001: A Space Odyssey also of 1969, a year of legends .A tip for those who have never seen this movie: Bribe, beg, borrow, or steal yourself into possession of a Videobeam and Hifi-audio equipment if you can't find a cinema that is showing this movie. Turn the audio up WAY HIGH never mind the neighbors and prepare never to be the same again.........I obviously gave this movie a 10 because no matter how hard I try I can't find anything less than perfect about it.
I thought I knew westerns, I'd seen John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Glen Ford, Audie Murphy, Richard Widmark, Alan Ladd, all of them save the day many times. I was wrong, I was 14 yrs old when I went to the local movie house to see this movie in 1969. My grandmother took me, she had always been a huge fan of Henry Fonda's, and even though she didn't care for western's, she dragged me to this one. I'll never forget how engrossed I was from beginning to end. And this one movie was the basis for all my future wish's to have been born a cowboy. Everything about this movie <more>
impressed me one way or the other.Simply put, this movie is the most visually stimulating and engrossing movie I have ever watched. I have seen plenty of great movies in my in my fifty years of life, but this one, is in my opinion more than a movie, it's a piece of history unfolding in front of your eyes with no censorship or BS added for flavor. True, the movie has been chopped up some for TV and other forms of presentation, but when I was in that theater in 1969, the movie was, to use a semi modern term "AWESOME".No one, not even if you dislike westerns, should pass on this one.
This is one true masterpiece, I can't remember any other movie and I have seen a lot of movies that is so powerful like this one. This movie has everything great ambient, scenes larger then life, hypnotic Morricone music and what is most important great acting. In this move Sergio Leone proved that he is one of the most unique directors in movie history. If you saw this movie you know that almost every scene is great piece of art in almost every scene you are amazed by visual style of Leone. In all other great movies like: Godfather, Casablanca, Citizen Cane, Notorious,Big Sleep, The <more>
Third Man, etc. , you won't find these many great scenes like in this one. This is an ultimate Western and i want to say: Thank you Sergio Leone for your great vision and this masterpiece, after this one there is no need for any other western, in compare to this one John Fords westerns are movies for kids and women.
Leone's film unfolds across the screen in time and space with all the mellowness and majesty of such great Westerns as "Shane," "The Searchers," and "The Magnificent Seven." (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
"Once upon a Time in the West" is Leone's masterpiece and certainly one of the best Westerns of all time... It is beautifully shot, perfectly cast, ambitious, erotic, humorous and wonderfully scored by Leone's regular composer Ennio Morricone, whose haunting melodies are just as important as the widely separated dialog occurring on the action..The film opens with an extreme close-ups of Jack Elam, Woody Strode and Lionel Stander waiting at a station for Charles Bronson... Henry Fonda has sent them to kill him...The railroad wants a property for its water well belonging to <more>
the newly widowed Claudia Cardinale, a fancy lady from New Orleans who just arrived in Flagstone and learns about the tragedy... We would come to understand, much later, Claudia Cardinale's role as the bearer of water, life, and continuity to the civilization of the New West...Fonda, a despicable hired gun, kills her husband and orders, without a twinge of guilt, the slaughter of the entire family, innocents women and children...Henry Fonda, in a chilling performance, plays the cold-blooded murderer, the most vicious villain in Westerns history to ever ride the big country... the blue ice-eyed child killer, gunning down a 9-year old boy...Bronson as 'The Man' is like Clint Eastwood 'The Man With No Name,' with only one thing in common: they are the most ruthless heroes in Westerns history sharing the same character in their quality 'not' to say much in their need of emotions, in their fast draw, in their disinterest in women, in their air of mystery and in their macabre sense of humor...Their differences are also very clear: 'The Man With No Name' has no past whatsoever, and 'The Man' is motivated by revenge to settle an old personal score... Claudia Cardinale plays Jill, the well-proportioned, husky-voiced beauty, the lady, the businesswoman, the maker of coffee involved with Fonda in an incredible perverse erotic sequence...The blood, the violence, the humor, the several gunfights and the final showdown have been constants in Leone's Westerns since "A Fistful of Dollars"...The highlights of his movie are so many: Leone's overwhelming shot when he raises his camera over the Flagstone train station office revealing the sprawling town; when he replaces a shot of a smoking gun with a shot of a smoking train; when he uses close-ups instead of dialog to reveal what a character is thinking; and the striking use of his extreme close-up in the final shootout... Leone builds up tension by slowly circling his two characters, focusing with his camera on their eyes, hands and guns while the level of the music is raised to evoke the action... Leone's film is a brave epic Western, extremely violent, immensely powerful... It's above all fable and fantasy, as the desire for revenge is childish and fruitless... It is the essence of a great filmmaker...
A bit slow n tedious but still one of the best western film. Fonda was terrific. (by Fella_shibby)
As a fan of Westerns, I saw this film many times in the early 90s. Saw this recently again on a DVD aft many years. The plot- Claudia Cardinale arrives at her ranch, to find that her husband has been murdered by hired gun Henry Fonda. Mysterious gunman Charles Bronson wants an appointment with Fonda. Bronson teams up with outlaw Jason Robards to help protect Cardinale n her ranch from Fondas evil intentions. There are long scenes where you get close shots of a person's face. Sergio Leone loves the stare-down, and you can see it in virtually all of his films. In this movie he allows the <more>
camera to linger longer than ever before. You get those quiet scoreless scenes where the natural sounds of the environment are greatly exaggerated. Leone's opponents take a long time to feel each other out before they act. One may find the long stretches of silence and inaction tedious n boring. Honestly, even i found some scenes boring, especially the opening scene. Henry Fonda is terrific. No one expected him to play such a ruthless and brutal killer. Bronson was decent but Jason Robards was much better with his tip on guys patting females bottom n the tip on don't get shot by a person who doesn't know to shoot. One of the best part bah the film was Ennio Morricone's score, especially the recurring harmonica music during the final closing fight. This is Morricone's best moment in a long, treasured career. I was surprised to know that the story was written by Dario Argento.
Its odd how one comes to a film. I saw this one nearly 40 years ago in an edition that was chopped up. The sound and score was reprocessed and muted. It was terrible. I lumped it in with the Clint Eastwood trilogy. Those movies were fun in the manner of an then new extreme style. But the concept was thin and knowing that one was an exact copy of a Kurosawa samurai movie sort of took the American link out of them. That specific film was remade again starring Bruce Willis and was superior. Now after all this time, I come back to it and find it whole, a new thing. Its wonderful. Its as <more>
wonderful as advertised. There are all sorts of joys. One is the many references to ordinary, series westerns. Another is the meditative pace; a sort of an anti-action movie rooted in place and place-derived intents. These two things alone would place it as high as IMDb readers have chosen. But there are two other things that matter more to me. The first is obvious: the sound design. Few filmmakers seem to want to leverage sound much. Malick is one, but the idea there is to make an independent layer over the images. Here, the sound saturates the images. In my experience, it is unique in its effectiveness. And that's one of the other shocks: I don't think I would have been able to appreciate it as much as a young man. I've been watching films more lucidly for only a few years now and though all the other components here are ordinary but perhaps extended, this strikes me as wholly new.The other thing probably requires one to have gone through a couple stupid American wars. The second one makes all the difference, because the first was still based on the notion of doing good even if the means were bankrupt. Now, a world can look at westerns and not automatically make the John Ford connection: that Monument Valley and open spaces mean freedom. Frontier gunplay and violence automatically invoked populist justice. It took this movie to break things. And it took this long for them to break. Westerns are a notation for America, a story about an accidental nation. A collection of simple notes for us to grasp. This movie is about westerns in precisely the same way. I study these constructions and nearly always say that the underlying or original goal is to increase the viewer's engagement. But this case is different: the layers provide a distance. It allows us to see the notation about the notation about what will always be a notation: national identity.Of the sections, the opening is the best. At some point when the web grows to allow clips to be annotated online and ranked separate from the movie, that sequence will rate very high. Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
Before you have a stroke, please read WHY I was not entirely impressed by this film then, you can hate me (by MartinHafer)
I have absolutely loved the Sergio Leone "Spaghetti Westerns" that he made before ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. So, given that I have given very positive reviews for FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE and THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY, my being far from impressed with this film isn't because I dislike the genre or have it out for Mr. Leone! No, I have some legitimate reasons why I think the film is overrated--certainly very few of the IMDb users can honestly think this movie is one of the best 25 movies of all-time despite its high IMDb score .The biggest problem is the <more>
terribly slow pacing. While none of his films of the genre are fast-paced, they are deliberately paced and hold your interest. However, this film could easily have had 45 to 60 minutes chopped out of it without a major negative impact on the movie. The buildup is just way too long and drawn out to allow this to be a great film. Self-indulgent in its pacing, yes, but not great. I don't want to watch Jack Elam blowing a fly off his face again and again and again. I don't want to see closeups of the actors eyes again and again and again. And I certainly do not want to have a scene take three times longer than it would in any other Western! The second biggest problem is that although the film seems like a meticulous labor of love in some places, a few other ones it is just plain sloppy. The absolute worst is the actor who seems to play a younger version of Charles Bronson. Not only does it look almost nothing like him, but the eye color doesn't even match--and considering all the closeups of eyes, this is just sloppy Bronson's are bright blue-gray and the other has dark brown eyes . Also, in a few other places it looks like scenes were missing as the movie just jumped from one scene to another--and I DID watch the extended version of the movie, not the edited version. And finally, how Jason Robards was able to carry on the entire final portion of the movie--apparently fine--only to keel over dead in the very end just seemed ridiculous and sloppy.Now as far as what I liked and boy did I want to like this film . I loved having nice-guy Henry Fonda play a cold-blooded creep. This was great. And, although I generally hated the long, slow pace, the opening scene was worth the very long wait. The music, while not Ennio Marricone's very best, was still excellent and haunting. My advice is see these other Leone Westerns and then compare them. Even THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY a very, very long movie as well is much faster paced than this film.
Hey, it's slow on purpose. Is that a good thing? When it's this gorgeous, yes. (by secondtake)
Once Upon a Time in the West 1968 On the heels of "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly," is this equally sprawling and archetypal Western, this time with less obvious dubbing, and Henry Fonda as a kind of tie in to Hollywood's hero paradigm. It's indescribably beautiful, one of the most gorgeous Westerns ever photographed, indeed a model for good visual directing and cinematography in any genre. That alone makes the almost three hours a pure pleasure.But it's not a fast movie in any other way. It can't be. It depends on lingering over delicious details, small ones, shot <more>
up close in startling detail and ever deadpan looks and steely eyes. Nothing is believable and it's not meant to be. It's not even a fable, quite, but more a celebration of being inside an incredible film, as strange as that sounds. Not that the scenes are not believable--even the very last shots of the makeshift town and the railroad being built is about as realistic as it gets. Great stuff.Plot? You might, at times, wonder where the plot went. There are lots of bad guys, and you're not totally sure there's a protagonist, unless the one woman in the movie is the center of our concerns, even if she is clearly a bystander to it all. When it gets clear, in the last twenty minutes, it's again archetypal and has echoes of the over the tops showdown in "Good Bad and Ugly" . A small bit of slow motion not needed normally in a movie where everything is slow already makes clear this is the key moment in the film, the thing that made the rest of it, with all its confusing and violent layers, sensible.For my money, I'd love all this incredible visceral stuff, the sounds and sights, filled in with some kind of deeply felt conflict, not a purely dramatic one. I watch and am shocked, or swept away, or impressed, or dazzled, but I'm actually never moved, not from the heart. And there are plenty of aspects here that should really move us--including feeling for the woman's plight, rather than simply recognizing that it is, after all, quite a plight.Still, another landmark Sergio Leone movie.
I guess this movie is probably thought of as Leone's masterpiece, delivering, as it does, a dose of the old west with immense style and self-assured presence. Much of the cinematic style used by Leone has entered the folklore of the west and is as much a part of that folklore as spitting, guns, dust and swinging saloon doors. I can't imagine a duel any other way than through Leone's eyes and I now expect a Western to always have a 'man with no name' character who says virtually nothing.This movie has it all...the waiting, the heat, the sweat, the dust and then the swift, <more>
deadly violence. The story is not bad either, pitting our hero and an outlaw against a murderous railway man who is seeking to get a recently widowed ex-whore out of her inheritance. But what it really has is great shots of the amazing scenery, and real, palpable tension. Leone described the film as having the rhythm of the last gasps of a dying man. It is very much like that, and this builds a very strong sense of foreboding. Everyone will not walk away intact, death is woven into the fabric of the movie. As we move from one convulsion to the next the tension is ratcheted up to extreme levels so that the eventual violence is almost a relief. The end result is an amazing movie that helped to create the legend of the old west, and that is now a part of the legend. It looks amazing, it's a rollicking good tale, and it'll leave you desperate for a beer!