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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)
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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.

Director:

Sergio Leone

Writers:

Sergio Donati (screenplay by), Sergio Leone (screenplay by) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
726 ( 77)
Top Rated Movies #45 | 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Claudia Cardinale ... Jill McBain
Henry Fonda ... Frank
Jason Robards ... Manuel 'Cheyenne' Gutiérrez
Charles Bronson ... Harmonica
Gabriele Ferzetti ... Morton - Railroad Baron
Paolo Stoppa Paolo Stoppa ... Sam
Woody Strode ... Stony - Member of Frank's Gang
Jack Elam ... Snaky - Member of Frank's Gang
Keenan Wynn ... Sheriff - Auctioneer
Frank Wolff ... Brett McBain
Lionel Stander ... Barman
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | USA

Language:

Italian | Spanish

Release Date:

4 July 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

There Was Once the West See more »

Filming Locations:

Bavispe, Sonora, Mexico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$112,229
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended) | (1970) | (theatrical) | (U.S. theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby (2003 DVD release)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The most successful film released in France in 1969. See more »

Goofs

When Jill arrives at the station, she is one of many people leaving the train, and her baggage is carried by two men and placed beside her as she walks along, and stands on, the platform. She looks at the clock and her watch. Shortly after that she is again seen leaving the train, this time on her own, and now the two men again carry her bags from the train as she walks onto the station once more. 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 »

Alternate Versions

Frank's line upon giving Harmonica his namesake varies from version to version. The Italian translates to "play something for your brother," but the most common English version is "keep your loving brother happy," and the German translates to "play me the song of death." The German movie title was inspired by this line. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Django Unchained (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Come Una Sentenza
Composed By, Orchestrated By Ennio Morricone
Choir:Cantori Moderni Di Alessandroni
Published by Universal Music Publishing Ricordi srl
(P) 1969 Sergio Leone Productions
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
such a haunting theme
15 January 2007 | by widescreenguySee all my reviews

thank goodness for IMDb !!! I remember over the years that echoing mournful theme song but since I missed this movie on first release I didn't make the connection, and it never played on television because of rights issues and the unusual length for the time.

finally I bought it on DVD and there it was, that theme song that gave me flashbacks big time.

then I finally knew what the interview with Jane Fonda was about where she described her recollections seeing her father Henry in the unusual role as archvillian, and another one with jack Elam about how it took all day to do the scene with the handgun and the fly.

this is a remarkable western, despite some stretches of credibility.

the railroad indeed was the thing that finally opened the west; it was the only way to move millions of tons of goods and tens of thousands of people over the long distances, wagon trains were too dangerous and got off the beaten path too easily and couldn't carry enough provisions. the railroad allowed in a symbiotic relationship, towns to be founded and flourish with mining, cattle herding and farming around them.

and thus the premise of the movie, McBain is going to build a town right in front of the advancing railroad.

the corruption, violence and greed depicted were certainly problems of the day considering the fortunes to be made. no different than today when a big factory is built and the land selected gains 20 times its normal value and those 'in the know' engage in speculation. or oil or mineral resources are discovered on land held by simpletons who mysteriously are murdered in a 'botched' robbery or some such nonsense. it does happen.

the movie is so long I haven't seen it once yet without falling asleep which is not to be taken as a criticism, just that wailful haunting theme song gets to me ..... and it is close to 3 hours long.

at least the good guy, in this case, the good girl wins in the end.

gawd Claudia Cardinale is beautiful and still making films.


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