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Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

C'era una volta il West (original title)
PG-13 | | Western | 4 July 1969 (USA)
3:02 | Trailer

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



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
700 ( 28)
Top Rated Movies #30 | 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
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:







Release Date:

4 July 1969 (USA)  »

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:

| (2003 DVD release)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sergio Leone originally intended to reunite the three stars of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) (Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach) in cameo roles as the three gunmen waiting for Harmonica at the start of the film, but when Eastwood was unavailable the idea was scrapped. See more »


When Harmonica arrives at the McBain ranch and plays his harmonica at night, he lights a match, which is shot out by Mrs. McBain. In the shot of Harmonica the next day when he confronts Mrs. McBain, he has a cut on his left cheek from the earlier night with the gunshot. In all following scenes, the wound has disappeared. 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?
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Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in Road to Perdition (2002) See more »


C'era una volta il West
Vocals: Edda (Edda Dell'Orso)
Choir :Cantori Moderni Di Alessandroni
Composed, Orchestrated and Conducted by Ennio Morricone
Published by RCA Italiana S.p.A., Universal Music Publishing Ricordi srl
(P) 1969 Sergio Leone Productions
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

It doesn't get any better than this: this is movie history
24 December 2013 | by (wherever good films play) – See all my reviews

This one only gets better with each viewing. Leone's masterful storytelling and Morricone's crazy, beautiful, epic soundtrack; desperate, haunted faces which look like the barren landscapes the story is set in and a plot that unfolds with impeccable pacing to culminate in THE ultimate western finale.

As in Leone's previous films, music isn't just used to add to the atmosphere but is essential to the story, or perhaps even more: Morricone's main musical theme plays the actual role of a (or rather: the) protagonist in the film.

Anyone who thought that the so called "Spaghetti westerns" were nothing but cheap, violent B-movies had to reconsider after seeing this film. It doesn't get any better than this: this is movie history; iconic, classic, unforgettable, epic. For this film, I just run out of superlatives.

My vote: 10 out of 10

Favorite films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/

Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/

105 of 110 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Would someone care to explain all the hype? fishncheez
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
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