Once Upon a Time in the West
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Now, for the first time, Sergio Leone's original uncut version of this monumental epic can be seen. The picture itself is as big as its Monument Valley locations, as grand as its fine, distinguished cast, as tough and bawdy as every kid imagines the Old West. Henry Fonda plays the blackest character of his long career, and he's utterly convincing as Frank, the ruthless murderous psychopath who suffers no conscience pangs after annihilating an entire family. Jason Robards is the half-breed falsely accused of the terrible slaughter. Charles Bronson plays The Man, who remembers how his brother was savagely tortured. Brilliantly directed by Sergio Leone, this glorious picture re-established the Western'' significance to cinema art."
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THOUGHTS: Some of the reviews here for this film truly baffle me. Boring? Ho-hum? Really!? Geez, did we actually watch the same movie? Obviously, this slow-paced revenge western won't offer much appeal to younger, A.D.D.-type viewers who rate the awesomeness of their movies by the number of boobs, blood & blowed-up stuff. And I'll grant that this film isn't for everyone, since director Sergio Leone is as much (or more) about style than story. But in that area, he is King. Legendary actor Henry Fonda smashes all expectations in his role as Frank Black, one of THE coldest villains in screen history. Here, Fonda proves he really could play any part, and be masterful in it. A younger Charles Bronson is perfect as "Harmonica" the (anti)hero of the piece, and rounding out the cast is prolific character actor Jason Robards, delightfully wicked as rogue outlaw, Cheyenne. A typically memorable musical score by iconic composer, (and frequent Leone collaborator), Ennio Moricone adds additional layers to the rough western textures that Leone's visuals provide.
THE BLU-RAY: This is a spectacular upgrade from the previous DVD format release; well worth the double-dip if you own that version. Focus on this restored hi-def remaster is razor sharp, the colors rich & vibrant, and both the soundtrack & dialogue are strong, clear and distortion free. A wealth of solid bonus material, (including an excellent commentary track & 6 featurettes), simply cements this Paramount release of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST as an absolute must-own for fans of sixgun shoot 'em ups.
Man is the most dangerous beast & man cannot rule him, these men take the law into their own hands. I'm a sucker for Bronson movies, if you like Bronson, you'll love this. A timeless movie. Enjoy!
The story of this movie is deep and somber with true villains and "not so heroic," heroes. I was always a Charles Bronson fan and he fits the role of Harmonica perfectly. Henry Fonda is truly an all time great villain in this film, somber, merciless, and narcissistic. As is the case with all Leone movies, the music is excellent and appropriate.
Like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly this movie is filled with little "cool" nuances and great one liners. It makes you understand the ruthlessness and lack of fear that existed in Leone's vision of the old west. In my opinion this is just a smidge below Good, Bad, and Ugly but still a wonderful movie.
Oh and one last thing. One of the hottest women in movie history is in Once Upon A Time. Claudia Cardinale is striking.
This is a must watch.
If you like quality films , esp. Westerns, you cannot miss this. Ennio Morricone's score is magnificent and plays well with the cinematography. As one critic pointed out, the score works so well with the cinematography that it is almost like a music video. Plus, you have Sergio Leone's directing, which had improved after his "dollar trilogy" movies. The fight scenes at the beginning and the end are classics, which includes Leone's trademark extreme closeups. Finally, the cast - including the supporting cast with few lines - did a great job in telling a story rich in depth and not just a series of hackneyed scenes like so many other Westerns.
It's "a tough guy movie" beautifully filmed and scored with the well-casted Claudia Cardinale adding an important touch of femininity - both tough and yet still with a touching vulnerability - that adds an interesting dimension to the film.