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The so-called spaghetti Western achieved its apotheosis inSergio Leone's magnificently mythic (and utterly outlandish)Once upon a Time in the West. After a series of international hits starring Clint Eastwood (fromA Fistful of DollarstoThe Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), Leone outdid himself with this spectacular, larger-than-life, horse-operatic epic about how the West was won. (And make no mistake: this is the wide,wideWest, folks--so the widescreen/letterboxed version is strongly recommended.) The unholy trinity of Italian cinema--Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Dario Argento--concocted the story about a woman (Claudia Cardinale) hanging onto her land in hopes that the transcontinental railroad would reach her before a steely-eyed, black-hearted killer (Fonda) does. (The film's advertising slogan was: "There were three men in her life. One to take her ... one to love her ... and one to kill her.") Meanwhile, Leone shoots his stars' faces as if they were expansive Western landscapes, and their towering bodies as if they were looming rock formations in John Ford's Monument Valley.--Jim Emerson
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CastHenry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Gabriele Ferzetti, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards
DirectorSergio Leone
Genre:  Western
Screen WriterDario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, Mickey Knox, Sergio Leone, Sergio Donati
DVD Release Date:  November 18, 2003
Runtime:  175 minutes
Studio:  Paramount
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More Once Upon a Time in the West reviews
review by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The quintessential Western - it epitomizes what a good movie whould be
Sergio Leone is the master of “Spaghetti Westerns” – there is not one director working today that can achieve the same tone, feel, and look as his films [though the Coen Brothers made a fantastic run with “No Country for Old Men”…who knows what their remake of “True Grit” has in store]. Besides the fact that he somehow managed to transform Henry Fonda with his steel blue eyes into a bad guy is impressive enough, let alone the 2-part masterpiece of …
review by . March 04, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
One thing I like about Sergio Leone's Westerns is that they start out slowly -- they don't erupt into violence but simmer and let the tension build until it reaches a boiling point and, only then, all hell breaks loose.    The opening of this film is probably the best example. Three men ride into a train station. It is obvious they are trouble, and aren't going anywhere. They stow the station master in a closet, and send away his helper, and wait. The creaking of the windmill, …
review by . August 22, 2006
At the end of the 1960s, having had major success with his "Man With No Name" trilogy (starring Clint Eastwood), writer/director Sergio Leone was ready to give up westerns and try his hand at making some American productions. His first project was to be ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA - which would finally be made and released in 1984 - but American studios wanted another western first. Eventually, Leone was convinced to make another western, and another trilogy as well, set through different periods …
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Once Upon a Time in the West
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