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Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
"C'era una volta il West" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Western  |  21 December 1968 (Italy)
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 200,010 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 558 user | 167 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

Epic story of a mysterious stranger with a harmonica who joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.



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Complete credited cast:
Paolo Stoppa ...
Sheriff - Auctioneer
Frank Wolff ...


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 whom? 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, a man already on a quest to get even. Written by DrGoodBeat / edited by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There were three men in her life. One to take her... one to love her... and one to kill her.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for western violence and brief sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

21 December 1968 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Once Upon a Time in the West  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(international) | (1970) | (theatrical)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cheyenne's real name is Manuel Gutierrez, according to the script. Sergio Leone didn't feel that Jason Robards made a convincing Mexican, so the film dropped this. See more »


In the stable scene, Harmonica says to Cheyenne, " I saw three of these dusters a short time ago. They were waiting for a train. Inside the dusters, there were three men." The three gunmen sent to kill Harmonica may have miscounted the horses but Harmonica miscounted the dusters. Only two of the three gunslingers were actually wearing a duster. See more »


[first lines]
Cattle Corner Station Agent: Hey. Hey-hey-hey-hey, if you want any tickets, you'll have to go around, eh, to, eh, the front of, eh, eh... oooh, well, I s'pose it'll be all right. The hell am *I* doin' around here if they walk in and can do as they damn please?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's title does not appear until the end of the final scene. See more »


Referenced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Death Trap (2010) See more »


Danny Boy
(1913) (uncredited)
Written by by Frederick Edward Weatherly
Hummed and sung a cappella a bit by Simonetta Santaniello
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fonda's favorite, and mine too
15 January 1999 | by (Glendale, Az) – See all my reviews

There are few movies that can combine great directing, acting ,music, cinematography, and writing into one movie, but this one does. There are no weak points. Every scene is a piece of art. I know of no other film that affects the senses as this one. Henry Fonda said this was his favorite film and role. It's easy to see why. He created 1 of the great "bad guy" roles in history. In a side note, Leone wanted to put brown contacts in Fonda's eyes,("who ever saw a villain with blue eyes", Leone said), but Fonda wouldn't have it, and the effect is magic in the famous Leone close-ups. Bronson, Cardinale, and Robards are equally powerful, all have great lines and the camera loves them. Speaking of cameras, the visuals are stunning. There is nothing fancy about this movie. Raw power is what you see and feel. Simply the best western if not film ever made.

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Reason Frank's guys were there to kill Harmonica? DoctorKingSchultz
Repetitive and boring nickcluxton
Your favorite moment/scene? SeaHorseMafia
The Most Hated Movie among the IMDB Top 25 Movies hspraj
Sounded more like a saxophone or trumpet than a harmonica... rocknroll8484
I didn't understand this movie JeffreyLFinkle
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