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Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

tomatometer

98

Average Rating: 9/10
Reviews Counted: 54
Fresh: 53 | Rotten: 1

A landmark Sergio Leone spaghetti western masterpiece featuring a classic Morricone score.

88

Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 1

A landmark Sergio Leone spaghetti western masterpiece featuring a classic Morricone score.

audience

95

liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 62,574

My Rating

Movie Info

In Sergio Leone's epic Western, shot partly in Monument Valley, a revenge story becomes an epic contemplation of the Western past. To get his hands on prime railroad land in Sweetwater, crippled railroad baron Morton (Gabriele Ferzetti) hires killers, led by blue-eyed sadist Frank (Henry Fonda), who wipe out property owner Brett McBain (Frank Wolff) and his family. McBain's newly arrived bride, Jill (Claudia Cardinale), however, inherits it instead. Both outlaw Cheyenne (Jason Robards) and

PG-13,

Western, Drama, Action & Adventure

Sergio Leone, Sergio Donati

Nov 18, 2003

Paramount Pictures

Watch It Now

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All Critics (55) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (53) | Rotten (1) | DVD (31)

There is something touching and maniacal about the two-and-three-quarter- hour result.

June 18, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

'Once Upon a Time...' now looks like an over-cooked mess of style, metaphor and reference.

July 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comment (1)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Western is dead - or so they tell us. Long live Leone's timeless monument to the death of the West itself, rivalled only by Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid for the title of best ever made.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Leone (1921-1989) is here at the peak of his epic powers.

September 29, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If only the first 10 minutes of Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West still existed, this most hyperbolic of oat operas would still be acknowledged as one of the genre's greatest exhumations.

September 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is mostly fun for the way it cherishes movie styles and attitudes from the past.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Once Upon a Time in the West is the mythic Western; an ode to the end of its era.

August 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Gunslingers, one-road towns, horse and buggies... Once Upon a Time in the West has them all, and spread across a sprawling near three hour running time that is as punishing on the ol' rickety knees as it is rewarding to the eyes.

September 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Trespass
Trespass

Leone shows his skills with superb mastery over the medium.

August 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Sergio Leone's Western is his undisputed masterpiece, a lush, sensuous, elegiac operatic film made on epic yet intimate scale.

January 30, 2012 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

One of the pinnacles of world cinema.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Heroes, villains, desperados, and the inevitable shoot-outs: You'll find them all in what a lot of fans consider Leone's best film.

May 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

A bold film that you won't soon forget.

June 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Sergio Leone loaded up for another Spaghetti Western and shot out his magnum opus with this follow-up to the Dollars trilogy. Charles Bronson stars as an ominous stranger known only as Harmonica -- on the account of that instrument being the only other th

August 12, 2009 Full Review Source: AskMen.com

These days, cartoonish, genre-pastiching movies are everywhere, but Leone's films in this vein are still more enjoyable than most.

July 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

The Everest of the 1968 spaghetti western is a violent, poetic elegy.

July 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Sergio Leone's masterpiece.

July 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Quite simply a masterpiece, Leone's revisionist western is a mythic spectacle of a film and a landmark in cinema history.

July 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Sergio Leone's 1969 masterwork, in which he pulls together most of the themes of his three Dollar films, and also contributes one of the most famous credit sequences in history, will wet your lips all over again.

July 24, 2009 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

For a lesson in how to resuscitate a dying genre, you could do worse than Once Upon a Time in the West, Sergio Leone's masterpiece from 1968.

July 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Perhaps the clearer and crisper this film appears, and the more its reputation grows, the more unsettling its indulgences and ellipses appear to be. Well ... never mind. It's still a landmark.

July 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Leone's film, authentic yet hyper-stylised, complete with the coolest cowboy fashion (gunslingers in long coats has never been bettered), mainstreet shootouts and raw, memorable characters, is a tough, leathery sundried masterpiece.

July 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

There are plenty of unforgettable moments, such as that sublime crane shot over the new settlement of Flagstone, accompanied by Ennio Morricone's achingly romantic music.

July 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Stunning big-screen cowboy film.

July 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Sunday Mirror [UK]
Sunday Mirror [UK]

Audience Reviews for Once Upon a Time in the West

The go to film for every Western that has been made ever since, whether it's been serious or a parody. Once Upon a Time in the West is probably the greatest western ever made, I have a soft spot for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly but this one edges it somewhat. The first 20 minutes is better than most films are in their entirety. Rightfully regarded as the classic it is.
October 29, 2012
SirPant

Super Reviewer

Sergio Leone goes a long way with Once Upon a Time in the West. Perhaps too long.Once Upon a Time in the West isn't exactly a race down the track and running 2 hours and 45 minutes doesn't help its cause. There are a lot of scenes that are drawn out, especially in the beginning, that do not need to be. Granted, the cinematography is solid, but story-wise it hurts. The film is nearly an hour in before it even feels like it starts to go somewhere.The action is far and few in between. Sure, a Western, or any film for that matter, can live without bullets flying, but this picture needs it. The buildup is there; however, when the guns start shooting it is over as quickly as a bullet reaches its target.The mystery and confidence behind Charles Bronson is fascinating, which leads to a fantastic character. Henry Fonda and Jason Robards do a good job of rounding out the trio of expert gunmen. Claudia Cardinale is a stunning presence that just grabs the eyes every minute she is on screen.Once Upon a Time in the West has its moments and influences, but it also has its flaws. Watchable, if only once.
September 3, 2012
skactopus
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

I'd maintain that westerns are not specifically my cup of tea, and I'd also maintain that, occasionally, I do enjoy them. Its music is remarkable, but the same can't be said for all the performances. If you too are running out of options, stop running.
April 15, 2012
imrealgod

Super Reviewer

The first scene of this film is maybe the greatest opening of all time, Morricone's music and Leone's camera combine for a truly operatic movie experience. In some ways this film is better executed than The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. It's great to see Henry Fonda introduced into the Leone world as well as Jason Robards.
March 5, 2012
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

    1. Wobbles: You can trust me, Frank.
    2. Frank: Trust ya? How can you trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders, a man who can't even trust his own pants?
    – Submitted by tony b (21 months ago)
    1. Jill: Hey, you're sort of a handsome man!
    2. Cheyenne: But I'm not the right man. And neither is he.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (21 months ago)
    1. Harmonica: Your friends have a high mortality rate Frank.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (21 months ago)
    1. Frank: People scare better when they're dyin'.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (21 months ago)
    1. Cheyenne: You know Ma'am, when you've killed four, it's easy to make it five.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (21 months ago)
    1. Harmonica: I saw three of these dusters a short time ago, they were waiting for a train. Inside the dusters there were three men.
    2. Cheyenne: So?
    3. Harmonica: Inside the men there were three bullets.
    – Submitted by John K (24 months ago)
View all quotes (18)

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Foreign Titles

  • Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod (DE)
  • Once Upon a Time in the West (C'era una volta il West) (UK)
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