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Once Upon a Time in the West(C'era una volta il West)

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Italy, United States · 1968
Rated PG-13 · 2h 45m
Director Sergio Leone
Starring Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson
Genre Western

"Once Upon a Time in the West" tells the mythical tale of a widow whose land and life are in danger as the railroad comes closer and closer to taking both over. When a mysterious harmonica player joins forces with a desperado to protect the woman, an epic cinematic battle commences!

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Variety by

Henry Fonda and Jason Robards relish each screen minute as the heavies, and Charles Bronson plays Clint Eastwood's 'man with no name' role. (Review of Original Release)


Chicago Reader by Dave Kehr

Leone brought back a masterpiece, a film that expands his baroque, cartoonish style into genuine grandeur, weaving dozens of thematic variations and narrative arabesques around a classical western foundation myth.(Review of Original Release)


LarsenOnFilm by Josh Larsen

It’s probably unwise to come to Leone looking for too much in the way of feminism. Instead, Once Upon a Time in the West offers quintessential examples of the things he was better known for, including another blustery Ennio Morricone score. Visually, he mostly vacillates between extreme close-ups of intense faces and vast widescreen compositions, a technique that is lurching but also luridly beautiful.


Austin Chronicle by Marjorie Baumgarten

An additional treat is seeing Hollywood good guy Henry Fonda playing one of the nastiest curs in the West. Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the great films in cinema history. (8/30/2000 Review)


Film Threat by Phil Hall

Alas, the big screen also magnifies the problems with Once Upon a Time in the West. Specifically, Leone’s insistence on style trumped the need for substance. The film is basically a B-Western stretched an agonizing 165 minutes.


The New York Times by Vincent Canby

The biggest, longest, most expensive Leone Western to date, and, in many ways, the most absurd... Granting the fact that it is quite bad, Once Upon the Time in the West is almost always interesting, wobbling, as it does, between being an epic lampoon and a serious hommage to the men who created the dreams of Leone's childhood. (Review of Original Release)

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