Once Upon a Time in the West - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Once Upon a Time in the West Reviews

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½ October 16, 2016
I remember watching this movie years ago as a child and not really remembering much other than the opening.

On another viewing I can see why this is lauded as one of the best westerns out there. Sergio goes from the snappy Kurosawa inspired Man with No Name Trilogy that was know for snappy action and over the top (but brilliant) music to Once Upon a Time in the West.

Once Upon a Time in the West is much more dialed back and ironically similar to Kurosawa in a way of letting long framing shots dictate immersion that's eventually cut by action. Rather than letting action drive the shots. Combine this with a haunting melody and a somewhat abstract plot and you get a movie that's sort of unlike anything else.

It's long, it's slow, it's immersive, it's beautiful, and everyone takes away something different from their viewing.

What I found quite interesting was how each character evolves during the story which is something we don't really get in the Man with No Name Trilogy.

Spoilers ahead
The Hero starts off being elusive, and ends as a sort of blank slate after his revenge is complete
The Villain starts as an evil killer looking to get into the railroad business, but at the end Bronson's character drives him to accept that they have a destiny (through their duel) that must be confronted even at the cost of his other ambitions.
The Outlaw slowly comes around to help Claudia Cardinale's Jill character despite no real payoff for him.
Claudia's character Jill has a dark background she's trying to get away from through her marriage and at the end she truly tries to move forward with the start of the station town she was left with.

Seeing such profound character changes happening very subtly is the mark of a good director as the dialogue is sparse and often times it relies on the camera work to show this.

I would highly recommend at least one viewing by anyone who's a fan of the Western genre just so you can make up your own mind about it.
October 15, 2016
One of my top 10 films of all time.
October 14, 2016
Just about matching the pace of the Dollars Trilogy, the steadily moving "Once Upon a Time in the West" finds a balance between artistic filmmaking and good old Western-style action.
½ October 14, 2016
Fantastic epic of a western and one of the great Charles Bronson films.
October 13, 2016
My five-star rating seems inadequate to give to the rare film that earns my appreciation for editing, sound editing and mixing, lighting, set design, even costume design during my first time watching the movie, all while I am fully engrossed in, uh, was that really three hours that sprinted by? The style alone felt too cool and dangerous for its time -- the dual scene play, the foggy flashbacks, the musical cues that the audience does not expect the characters to notice, complete silence in effective use, and, of course, Ennio Morricone's score, much more somber and leisurely in its movements, though frightening in the tensest moments.

Sergio Leone's presentation was perfect for this Wild West melodrama, starring four characters whose motives remain some degree of a mystery, well past any revelations we may have about their situations. This is in debt to both the actors -- Claudia Cardinale, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, and Henry Fonda (the villain!) -- and the script, which together tell a story of self-interested players and shooters who try to predict the target's next move as best as they can, without revealing their tactic. Frank (Fonda) seems to play strictly for profit, gaining such by whatever means are necessary. Jill (Cardinale), after moving into her home to find her entire family dead, wants to settle into the lifestyle she had planned in the first place. Cheyenne (Robards) usually plays for profit too, though he was framed by Frank for the death of Jill's family and must shift focus towards protecting her and himself. Harmonica (Bronson) is out for blood, Frank's blood. They are all smart people, and do not dare reveal every perspective and strategy in their book. However, they also immediately pounce on the opportunities for an alliance, however long it will last. I could not say there was much of a theme, as each character's motives were so different, but a theme does not matter as much as focus. And Leone has that, packaging Once Upon a Time in the West in such a way that demands your full attention for every scene, lest you miss an important clue into a character's head. Cinema at its chunkiest and most gripping.
October 9, 2016
This is an amazing Western.
½ October 6, 2016
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Super Reviewer
½ October 3, 2016
Or ol'Sergio goes Hollywood, baby. Big and sprawling and dusty, this screaming Western-epic-western nearly looks as epic as it wants to be. And the stars are out for this too, like peanut shells under yer feet at a carnival, ready for their "Ima be famous!" trademark Leone close-up, only the rationale for the gist of this over long thing seems to be the least of Leone's worries, and that's too bad because by the ending, the bodies stacking up don't seem to matter much as we never really knew them much anyway. Why is everyone here on Rotten Tomatoes so enamored of this lesser Leone? Star power is my dubious answer.
½ September 30, 2016
Se toma su tiempo, una pelýcula estilizada, lýrica y atemporal.
September 26, 2016
Wow. It took me more than 40 years to recognize what a great masterpiece this movie is.
September 4, 2016
Wonderfully badass film
September 3, 2016
Honestly my only problem with the film is its length, drawing out scenes can work like in the opening ten minutes or so of this but other times it doesn't and only drags my enjoyment down. Still as Once goes on it gets better and better. I found this to be surprising given how much I disliked The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, considered by many to be the "best" of the western genre of which I just found boring. I had a much different experience here perhaps simply because of the characters. Frank, Cheyenne and Harmonica were terrific and it was a shame when I had to leave them.
August 31, 2016
Top 3 best westerns of all time. Enough said !
August 7, 2016
More Opera than film, this might be Leone's best. Should be in everyone's list of 10 best films. Henry Fonda as the bad guy. Priceless.
August 6, 2016
Featuring a classic music score, iconic scenes and characters, and brilliant acting, Once Upon a Time in the West has been and always will be the definition of a great western
July 19, 2016
Outstanding follow-up, that's all there is. The nameless character or brought back bigger, badder and cooler than ever, an interesting supporting woman, settings like no other, and a soundtrack that will give you chills every time you hear it
July 10, 2016
Excellent. Slow moving revenge story. Fonda, Bronson, and Robards shine.
June 11, 2016
moviemaking at its best. this movie should be studied in every film school and by every contemporary director on every aspect. if you have a rare chance to see it on the big screen drop everything and go. the story was by Bertolicci and Dario Argento which I didn't know. 5 star everything from acting to cinematography, Citizen Kane in comparison is a stuffy turd.
½ June 2, 2016
I know a lotta people think this was the last great Western . And a Brilliant send off of the genre. Listen this was a great Western in every aspect . This film is beautiful in every way. I felt dusty just watching it. It well worth the 2:45 run time. It may be the last of its kind . But I think they're have been some great ones after . In my opinion the greatest Western of all time was probably "The Outlaw Josey Whales". At least it's my Fav. I do believe that the western had a bit of a resurgence in the late 80's and Early 90's . With films like " Dances with Wovles" (don't hate on Costner it's a great movie. "Lonesome Dove" ( I know it's TV ). And then " Unforgiven" and of course the last great western made of that time frame "Tombstone". You can make the case for a few others . But not really. If there's anyone fighting to keep the western alive it would be Tarantino. QT was made some great work tWith "Djano" and "The Hateful Eight". Bringing Sergio Leone , Peckinpah type films
to a whole new generation with a QT twist.
They're both fantastic modern westerns . Proving the western isn't dead. There's still hope. And when it's done right there's no better film. Once upon a time is a perfect example of it. And the score is amazing . You can truly get lost.
½ June 2, 2016
Another testosterone man movie from Sergio Leone.
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