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
Following the huge success of the Dollars trilogy, United Artists were prepared to finance Sergio Leone's ambitious epic, but only if it featured top box-office names. They put forward Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, and Kirk Douglas, but Leone balked at the proposed casting, and moved over to Paramount Pictures instead. See more »
As Frank and his gang ride away from the train, tire tracks are visible in the dirt. See more »
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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The film's title does not appear until the end of the final scene. See more »
Paramount cut the film down to 140 minutes for its U.S. theatrical release. The major scenes removed were (in chronological order): 1) The entire scene set at the watering station with the introduction of Cheyenne and his gang, and his encounter with Harmonica, 2) Mr. Morton's visit to Frank's cave, 3) Frank's return to the train where he discovers the bodies of both his and Cheyenne's gang as well as a near dead Mr. Morton, 4) the last and perhaps the most damaging removal: Cheyenne's death at the end was completely dropped; cut was directly from Jill looking at Harmonica and Cheyenne leaving to the train arriving. This version also ADDED one scene to the film that was not in the original 165 minute release, in which Harmonica gets up with a wounded arm after being shot in the opening scene. When it was run on U.S. network television, A.B.C. made edits to the 165 minute international version. Paramount's syndicated television version was also the international version (with edits). This meant that more of the film was shown on television than was seen in U.S. theaters. See more »
Without a doubt, one of the best Westerns of all time
I won't claim to have the ability to say anything new about this movie. It's been around for nearly fifty years, and is widely regarded as not just one the best Spaghetti Westerns of all time, but one of the best Westerns full stop. And it's not hard to see why: an incredible soundtrack, strong performances from the entire main cast, some surprisingly good humour and funny one-liners, a few tense sequences, a well-told story that doesn't rely on excessive dialogue or exposition, and consistently amazing cinematography and direction throughout. At least half the frames in this movie would probably make good paintings- no exaggeration.
It's probably the marriage of the great visuals and soundtrack that make Once Upon a Time in the West work as well as it does. There's a good number of dramatic camera movements and interesting reveals that are tied up perfectly with the music- almost like some kind of singing-free musical at some points.
Sergio Leone was one of the greatest directors of all time. It's a real shame that he apparently never got the kind of recognition he gets nowadays while he was still alive. Out of all his films, there's a strong argument to be made for this one being the closest to perfect. Honestly, there's not a lot that could be changed to make it better. My biggest direct gripe is the way the title pops up at the very end of the film, and rotates in a full circle before it disappears. It looks really cheesy, and comes close to killing the mood the otherwise extremely strong ending creates. While we're on complaints, another minor one would be that I want to say the film feels a little too long- maybe about 10 to 15 minutes. But at the same time, I wouldn't really know what to cut. Every scene is so well-constructed and orchestrated, and there's always something interesting to look at or listen to or think about, so I'm not really sure what should be cut. It's a pretty weak complaint, I know. Like I said, this thing's close to perfect.
The Good The Bad and The Ugly might be a tiny bit more entertaining, and Once Upon a Time in America might have a slightly better soundtrack and stronger emotional moments (for me, personally), but it's still really hard to find much to complain about here. Absolutely recommended to any Western fan, and it gets a little better every time I watch it (four for me now, and counting).
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