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Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Elevator Pitch

In the wilds of Arizona (or Utah) a mail order bride arrives to find the the man she is married to has been killed, leaving her an isolated farmstead which is to be inportant in the development of the approaching railroad. The killer, the railroad boss’s enforcer, implicates a local gang leader, but is himself tracked by a mysterious stranger who plays the harmonica,


A lot of surreal and extended scenes as gunmen face up to each other, and eventually have shoot-outs, interspaced with discussions of one sort or another, either in the Sweetwater ranchhouse or the carriage in the rail boss’s train. Horsemen ride across the barren wastes of the American outback, trains steam along and stop in the town station. The railway line is constructed. So some voilence, a bit of drinking and moments of unerotic sex.

A View This movie is rated as No 35 in the IMDb list of all time greats, and, despite the almost irritating inscrutability of the plot and the ponderous style, it is almost watchable. Some say that it is the best western ever, but I can think of half a dozen better films off the top of my head. Even so, worth your time if you are interested in cinema history and don’t mind being a bit bored.
Duration 2h 45m Rating (UK) AA
Source of story An original screenplay, apparently derived from many classic westerns.
Director Sergio Leone
Writers/Script Sergio Donati, Sergio Leone (story by Dario Argento, Bernado bertolucci, Sergio Leone)
Starring Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson,  Woody Strode, Jack Elam, Keenan Wynn, Lionel Stander
Additional Info There were a number of versions of the film. A shorter version released in the United States was not a success, where-as longer versions released in Europe did well.


About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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