8.6/10
216,890
564 user 166 critic

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

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

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
1,347 ( 45)
Top Rated Movies #28 | 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Two bounty hunters with the same intentions team up to track down a Western outlaw.

Director: Sergio Leone
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volontè
Action | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A wandering gunfighter plays two rival families against each other in a town torn apart by greed, pride, and revenge.

Director: Sergio Leone
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volontè, Marianne Koch
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to the Lower East Side of Manhattan over thirty years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life.

Director: Sergio Leone
Stars: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern
Seven Samurai (1954)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima
Unforgiven (1992)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman
Rear Window (1954)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey
City Lights (1931)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee
Casablanca (1942)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

In Casablanca, Morocco in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
Psycho (1960)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically try to stop.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
12 Angry Men (1957)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Sam
...
...
...
Sheriff - Auctioneer
Frank Wolff ...
...
Barman
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

| |

Release Date:

4 July 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Once Upon a Time in the West  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(international) | (1970) | (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

| (2003 DVD release)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The final duel between Frank and Harmonica is shot almost exactly like the one in Robert Aldrich's The Last Sunset (1961) between Rock Hudson and Kirk Douglas, a film that Bernardo Bertolucci was a huge fan of. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Death Wish II (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

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

pure cinematic paradise
26 July 1999 | by (England) – See all my reviews

Thank god that I'm a Bronson fan. This was my first Leone movie, and dumb kid that I was, I actually watched it thinking I was in for a typical Bronson "vehicle"! Looking back I'm thankful, because if it wasn't for his involvement, I would never have discovered the beauty and majesty that is Once Upon a Time in the West.

I absolutely love this movie. It's probably my all time favourite, certainly one of the few that I can watch OVER and OVER again without losing interest. I love the way Leone creates intrigue and mystery around what is a relatively thin plot. He can make even the smallest twist of fate seem like an epic turn of events, with that amazing sense of revelation that he generates out of old hackneyed situations (something Argento has since picked up). Leone proves in this film that he could seemingly take anyone, even peripheral characters, and give them screen charisma without using dialogue as a crutch.

OUATITW features the most tense two man stand-offs ever, with some serious deja-vu in the direction of his "Dollars" trilogy. In fact, it does feel like those three movies were warm ups, practice sessions in the build up to OUATITW. Here though, he perfected everything; despite the long running time, it's all focused, and without a single irrelevant scene. For me, the two hours plus just fly by, I wish it would never end. Leone was without question at his artistic peak when he made this, that's not to say that he went downhill from then on, but I honestly don't think he ever did another film where everything came together so perfectly.

The cast is flawless. Fonda eclipsed every good guy he ever did in one fell swoop, truly chilling. Robards is a great comic character, the lovable rogue with an edge. And Cardinale is more than just (incredible) window dressing; she switches between passionate, angry, delicate and sentimental at all the right moments.

Which leaves the hero; I'm a huge Eastwood fan, but I honestly don't believe he could have done the role justice. His "man with no name" was a cool, sly character with hidden complexities. Eastwood always does these layered personalities, with some kind of mental baggage. Bronson, on the other hand, mostly does himself; simple, uncomplicated figures with only one state of mind, that's why he's put in so many revenge flicks. Plus, he looks like he's been seriously wronged at some point in his life, Eastwood doesn't have that quality. Bronson is the genuine hard-as-nails article. You can readily imagine that, had he been born decades earlier and been put in the same situation, he would resolve the problem in much the same way as his character in the movie (sometimes I affectionately refer to this movie as Deathwish part 0- could Harmonica be the great granddaddy of Paul Kersey?).

Of course the other great contribution is the music. I still think that the main theme is one of the most breathtaking pieces of music I have ever heard. It affects me deeply whenever I hear it, regardless of the mood I'm in. Maybe I should listen to more opera or something, I don't know, but that's the way I feel. And the individual character themes are just so well integrated into the film, it's unbelievable. Leone replaces words with music, and it conveys so much more in return. Bronson just plays that melancholy tune on the harmonica instead of answering people back, it consistently cracks me up.

High Noon, Naked Spur, Shane, The Searchers, etc. are all classics of the genre, but I really don't think it's possible to compare those "traditional" westerns with OUATITW. For me, it exists on a plane of it's own, it's the kind of film experience that you let wash over you, a waking dream. I recommend this movie to anyone, if you're on the right wavelength you'll be greatly rewarded.


246 of 348 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
Your favorite moment/scene? SeaHorseMafia
Repetitive and boring nickcluxton
The Most Hated Movie among the IMDB Top 25 Movies hspraj
Sounded more like a saxophone or trumpet than a harmonica... rocknroll8484
Discuss Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?