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Once Upon A Time In The West: The Original Soundtrack Recording Soundtrack

4.8 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, February 14, 1989
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After outlining a whole new genre with three earlier collaborations Ennio Morricone and director Sergio Leone took the Western a stage further with 1969's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.For Leone there was the luxury of draping the composer's deeply atmospheric pre-recorded pieces around the movie as it was filmed. The way this cinematic epic's images combine with Morricone's rich score suggests telepathy was by then at work between the two men. ONCE UPON A TIME encompasses so many memorable themes: the elegant waltz that accompanies Edda del Orso's wordless phrasing on the title piece; 'Man With a Harmonica' and its nagging cry sliced apart by the chime of a desert guitar; 'The First Tavern ' where Morricone typically sets up incongruous instrumentation and then lets sinister orchestration fight it out with a jaunty barroom piano. A score that truly transcends the incidental or indeed any categorization you attempt to throw at it. Available individually and as part of A FISTFUL OF

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One of the most lyrical Western movie scores from one of the all-time greatest movie Westerns. Unlike the slightly more cartoonish music (in the Raymond Scott sense) for Sergio Leone's earlier "Man with No Name" Westerns starring Clint Eastwood (Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly), Once upon a Time in the West is epic in scope and elegiac in tone. Composer Ennio Morricone uses a haunting, wordless female vocal on the main theme (and in the equally beautiful soundtrack for Leone's companion gangster epic, Once upon a Time in America, many years later) that sends chills down your spine and may even bring tears to your eyes. --Jim Emerson

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. C'Era Una Volta Il West -Titoli Di Testa - Ennio Morricone
  2. Come Una Sentenza
  3. Addio A Cheyenne
  4. L'Attentato
  5. La Posada N°1
  6. La Posada N°2
  7. L'Uomo Dell'Armonica - Ennio Morricone & His Orchestra
  8. In Una Stanza Con Poca Luce - Ennio Morricone & His Orchestra
  9. L'Orchestraccia
  10. L'Uomo
  11. L'America Di Jill
  12. L'Ultimo Rantolo
  13. C'Era Una Volta Il West - Finale - Ennio Morricone & His Orchestra


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 14, 1989)
  • Original Release Date: February 14, 1989
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 38 minutes
  • ASIN: B000002W71
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,798 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Be sure to pick up the 2005 edition of the soundtrack, also available here at Amazon: The remastering (sound quality) is better *and* there are 20 tracks, instead of the 12/13 on the previous releases, like this one from 1988/1990.

So I give this release 3 stars, but would give the newer release 5.
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By A Customer on November 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I was driving through the Utah desert years ago and popped this CD in. I chose to play it because, well... I couldn't find my Donny and Marie tapes. No. I played it because it was the perfect soundtrack to a solo drive through every western I've ever seen or heard. Morricone is, of course, one of the great composers. From "The Mission" to "Cinema Paradiso", his music haunts and stays with you long after the credits roll.
"Once Upon a Time in the West" was a brilliant movie. From the insanely haunting title track to the soft beauty of "A Dimly Lit Room", this soundtrack will touch you. Listen to "Death Rattle" and you'll imagine yourself standing in the middle of the desert with the hot sun beating down on you - waiting for something bad to happen. Your mind will play tricks on you. Is that... is that a mirage off in the distance or.. are they coming for you? Can you feel it all around you - the smell of death?
One of the best soundtracks. Period.
2 Comments 45 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
In popular terms, when one thinks of composer Ennio Morricone, the first thing that they're likely to think of is "spaghetti westerns"--namely the scores he composed for director Sergio Leone's "Dollars" trilogy of the 1960s. Morricone's output, of course, is much bigger than that now. But one of the best scores he ever did for any film, western or otherwise, was the one he composed for Leone's 1969 western epic ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. And like the film itself, Morricone's music has gained a foothold as one of the very best film scores ever composed for a western.

Amazingly, Morricone composed the film score by reading the screenplay by Leone and Sergio Donati, and doing this before a single frame of film was exposed by Leone himself. This meant that Leone could choreograph the main characters' movements in the film. Thus, you get certain sound elements weaving throughout the score--a lush, haunting score (with a wordless female voice) for Claudia Cardinale's frontier widow character; a stinging electric guitar for the ruthless railroad killer portrayed by Henry Fonda; a jaunty banjo for Cheyenne, the outlaw portrayed by Jason Robards; and an ominous, tuneless harmonica for Charles Bronson's character.

One element that is strangely never mentioned when it comes to Morricone's scores for either this film or the "Dollars" trilogy is how attracted he is to minor keys. The themes attached to the Bronson, Robards, and Fonda characters are all in the key of A Minor (the famous "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly" is in D Minor). It is this penchant that Morricone has for the minor keys in his composing that gives his western scores the ominous and deadly charge they have.
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Format: Audio CD
I've reviewed over eighty Morricone scores in my brief life thus far and this is the score to which I most frequently return. The wordless vocal sung by Morricone regular Edda del Orso defies description. I've listened to this score while lamenting my singularity in the Tucson desert, and heard it performed live by the Gran Caffe Orchestra in the Piazza San Marco in Venice under a full moon in October, and few experiences in life compare to the intensity and beauty of the latter. Sometimes I find Morricone morose and repetitive, but ONCE stands out from the bunch, alongside the unpublished LA VOGLIA MATTA (1962) and CHI MAI. There are many treatments of the main theme that invite repeated listening, but it is the final track that will send chills down your spine and make you believe in the heart, if not heaven.
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Someone wrote before me: "a haunting, wordless female vocal on the main theme that sends chills down your spine and may even bring tears to your eyes."
I couldn't agree more regarding the chill and tears. I have tears in my eyes each time I listen and there is NO movie so far that brought to life the true drama of the Wild West in more vivid way. This music will stop you from doing whatever you are doing, forcing you to really really listen. I can't believe that they didn't give Morricone an Oscar for this - what a shame!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
The music written by Ennio Morricone for this film is some of the most eerie and haunting you will ever hear. I get chills down my spine every time I hear "As A Judgement", just picturing the cold stare of Henry Fonda as he guns down that 10 year old boy. The main theme is quite moving. "The Transgression" will again give you chills as will "Death Rattle". Awesome music all around.
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This is the ultimate in western music. I was 16 in 1969 when I saw this movie, and it haunted me (in the best way) for many years. I finally discovered the soundtrack at an obscure music store and grabbed it! This is one of my favorite albums of any kind of music of all time. I listen to it a lot, and never get tired of it....Morricone captured the true essence of the "wild west" better than any other media ever could, and still does. I took this with me when we went to see Monument Valley for the first time, and just as we drove to the point of first viewing, it was so perfect. I couldn't live without this album! I was haunted by this music since I was 16, and still am. There is nothing like it, nothing better. If you like the "spaghetti westerns", add this one to your collection. You will love it.
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