Once Upon A Time In The West

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I would like to see what the great patrons of the world of MoFo think of this exceptional piece of Movie Artistry. Do you like, love, hate, this story? Was the acting under, above par? What about the score? Do you like the creator/director?
I know it's an old movie, older than most of the MoFo's, (I was 1yr old when it was released) but it's a legend IMHO, and if you haven't seen it yet, rent it. Especially if you are an admirer of the western genre.
So let's hear it!
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Click on my favortie movies popcorn icon to see how highly I regard this film. It is Leone's masterpiece, the most poetic of the Revisionist Westerns (even more than Peckinpah's masterpiece The Wild Bunch), and simply a magnificent flick. Great iconic characters, perfectly humanized by the wonderful cast, another magnificent Morricone score, flawless images, a welcome sense of humor and an operatic style, simultaneously poking fun at and reverentially expanding the genre.

And until you've seen it on the big screen - or at least letterboxed (still only on LaserDisc here in North America - sorry, chumps!), you really haven't seen it at all. One of the many beautiful visual tour de force feasts that is totally ruined when cropped for fu*king panning and scanning. Nobody has ever composed a cinemascope frame like Sergio Leone, and to edit it for cramming into a TV-shaped square is high movie sacrilige.


To sum up: I kinda like Once Upon A Time in the West.
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Build me a body like Kurt Russel, a face like Brad Pitt, and an eloquent tounge like Sir Holden of Pike, then I might get laid more than once a month...

You hit the nail on the head Mr. Pike, this is easily my favorite western of all time. I love the "Dollars" trilogy, but this takes the cake.

I think Bronson is at his best in this film, Robards can't get much better, and Fonda...if anyone ever thought that he couldn't pull it off...well then, they were eating crow for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Is it Leone's macterpiece? Yeah Skippy! One of my favorite things about this movie is the score. I love that the four main characters have their own set musical piece. I love the use of close-ups that Leone used in the movie. Is there any other movie using a close up of Henry Fonda's eyes, any more powerful? I think not!

I love this movie. Thanks Holden, I really wanted your response to this thread...I knew you would be an admirer of this film, and have something constructive to say about it.

Now all we need are some more MoFo's to chime in! C'mon Yoda and The Bullet, let's hear what you've got to say!



well, i'm neither yoda nor the bullet, but i have seen this movie, and as far as westerns go, this is second only to high noon in terms of story (cowritten by dario "dawn of the dead" argento) and characters (though as holden pike points out, it's more comparable to the likes of the wild bunch or leone's other westerns.) the soundtrack is what you'd expect from ennio morricone, excellent. the acting is decent, bronson's not quite clint, but he's up to snuff, and henry fonda has to be one of the coolest blue-eyed butchers around, great villain.



The word "Epic" was invented to describe this film and it'sdirector's vision. One of the finest cinema artist took the mostly American genre of Western and created it's Opus.

Huge in scale the cinematography is jaw dropping and much like Kurosawa and Hitchcock the camera does a lot of the talking. The score by the legendary Ennino Morricone is superb and totally take the film to a surreal place whereyou feel somewhat detached from reality.

The story bears a resemblance to the Nick Ray anti western JOHNNY GUITAR starring Sterling Hayden. Where as that went for minimalistic scale this embraces the grand scope of the landscape while maintaining an aura of clastophobia.

The cast are as good as it gets with Henry Fonda playing against type and creating one of the screens most memorable villians. Charles Bronson and jason Robards also stay in the mind as career highs. All teh cast to an amazing job of recreating an era now dead.

this really is cinema history and a one of the best westerns ever made, if not #1.
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i saw this today. it's amazing, much much better than good,bad,ugly, which I didn't like all that much. And Bronson, is perfect in the role, I can't imagine any one being better. Being a Tarantino fan, it was nice to see where some of his inspiration came from. All of the four main roles acting was good.



Welcome to the human race...
Hell of a thread to bump, but whatever. Also put me in the "love" camp.
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I am burdened with glorious purpose
Me, too. Even wrote a paper on it in college. We were supposed to write a paper about a film and I picked this.... when the Professor graded it, he handed it back and exclaimed, "this is one of my favorite films! Good choice!"

I first watched it because of Bronson -- I was a huge fan as a kid -- but after watching it, it felt like a life-changing experience. Its one of the those films that makes you realize how much you love film... and myth... and story....

Leone's love for the western comes through in every image. And like Holden said, at the same time poking fun. Great movie.



I've never been that enamored with Italian (or any European) Westerns, although the people, sets, and background usually look more down and dirty like the real West likely was. I just get tired of everyone being a super-fast gun and trick-shot artist.
Fonda was good in the film, but then Fonda was always good in any film. I remember reading at the time the film came out that Fonda and Bronson were both critical of the female lead who I agree didn't add too much to it. I think Jason Robards was kinda of wasted in it--none of the characters were well developed and his least of all.
But I was most put off by Bronson, an actor of limited range and ability. Truth to tell, Fonda, Robards, and Bronson were all too old for their roles, although they did a hell of a make-up job on Fonda. And the musical score was a case where less would have been more.



Happy New Year from Philly!
It is highly over-rated and often unintentionally funny.

This fan video is the best thing to come of it.

Warning it will spoil the ending.



I must say in Claudia Cardinale's defense that she was more natural and far less histrionic than any of her fellow Italian thespians. Most of them acted like they were on the stage of La Scala doing the mad scene of Lucia di Lammermoor.



The People's Republic of Clogher
I can only think of a handful of finer films.

The zenith of its (sub) genre. Simples.
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Yeah, I saw it some time last year and was blown away by it. So much so that I'm kinda depressed that I saw what is probably the best western when I've just started to explore the genre. There's plenty of things to love about it, as a predominantly visual person, of course I was most impressed with the HUGE shots but it also features one of the most impressive sound designs I've heard which brings an unprecedented tension to the film. Anyways, I honestly can't see anything topping it, but did mean to ask this in the western thread, if anyone can suggest something that is at least near in quality, please do (I also loved 3:10 to Yuma and The wild bunch).



The People's Republic of Clogher
The original 3:10 to Yuma or the Jim Mangold remake, adi?

If we're talking Spaghetti Westerns then the only others I can suggest with the quality of OUATITW are also by Sergio Leone, namely the Dollars Trilogy and Duck, You Sucker.

You're spoilt for choice with the more traditional Western and I'm sure there are tons of options in the dedicated threads but I'd go for The Searchers, Tie A Yellow Ribbon, High Noon, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Ride The High Country and possibly How The West Was Won, which is epic in scope if nothing else.

From out of left field (and really far left because it ain't even a Western ) what about Leone's Once Upon A Time in America?



The original, of course, who do you take me for?...

I've seen The searchers (it was ok, but I didn't really dig the comedic interludes) and High noon (which I liked, but not nearly as much as 3:10 or OUATITW). I'm not really into the whole frontier mythology of cowboys vs. indians or lone gunmen fighting for a good cause so that may limit my choice. The ones I did really enjoy (like the aforementioned, as well as Rio Bravo) have something else going for them, either the cinematography (Once upon a time... and The wild bunch) or an unusual inversion of roles (3:10 which features a sort of anti-hero and an incredibly charismatic bad guy. High noon for example, did have a classic "got to do the right thing" western hero but had a very interesting and unusual script in that it focused on the overwhelming fear of pretty much everyone else). Rio Bravo I liked because it had 3 equally strong and charismatic leads which I'd say is another exception to the rule. I've also seen McCabe and Mrs. Miller which was another pretty interesting break from the western norm (Altman is a little too subdued for my tastes though).

I have The man who shot Liberty Valance on queue btw...

So, based on above information, does anyone have any further suggestions?



I am burdened with glorious purpose
I love the 3:10 to Yuma remake! I remember smiling when they were running to the train at the end because I was thinking how much I miss good westerns. (The music added so much to that scene.)

Adi -- move that The Man who Shot Liberty Valance DVD up in your queue. Great western. Look out for the line about "printing the myth" at the end. Wonderful.

Have you seen Red River? The Magnificient Seven? I also love The Outlaw Josey Wales and Pale Rider. You may not "like" the mythology behind these films, but maybe if you see them, you might?



I haven't seen any of the aforementioned (I've seen the Seven samurai though, dunno how much that's gonna affect my enjoyment of the remake), so thanks guys, I'll be checking them out some time soon...(:



The People's Republic of Clogher
You've seen all the post-revisionist stuff like Unforgiven and Dances With Wolves, I take it? Then there are the modern 'Westerns' like Cop Land, Three Burials etc.

If you're searching for the pure operatic grandeur akin to OUATITW then you're only gonna get it with Leone, I think, with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly at the head of the queue.



I've seen Unforgiven and Dances, but a long time ago. I guess I was looking for older films which...can appeal to us non-western fans? I guess that covers a lot of area. Nevermind, I'll keep checking out the classics in hopes of stumbling onto something like 3:10 to Yuma.