Once Upon a Time in the West

Once Upon a Time in the West

Director: Sergio Leone Cast: Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda
4.7 39

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Once Upon a Time in the West

Director Sergio Leone's sublime spaghetti Western has been a long time coming on DVD, and now fans who have never seen the film in glorious widescreen will finally have the opportunity to do so thanks to this fine Paramount Pictures release. Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, Once Upon a Time in the West has simply never looked this good on the small screen. The film's blistering landscapes, as well as Leone's trademark close-ups, all look near flawless thanks to a clean print that shows little signs of digital artifacting or debris. Leone's films have always suffered due to small-screen pan-and-scan practices, and it's great to see this film get the treatment it so deserves. The sound as presented on this release is also a treat for fans of the film. In addition to including an original mono track (available in both French and English), Paramount has also seen fit to include a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 track that fills the room with the ominous sounds of harmonicas and ear-splitting gunshots. When the train rips through the screen following Henry Fonda's legendary introduction, viewers will feel it deep in their bones. Both English tracks are closed-captioned in addition to the optional English subtitles offered on the disc. Since Leone himself could not record a commentary track, the producers of this disc did the next best thing. Featuring contributions by such noted Leone fans as John Carpenter, John Milius, Alex Cox, Sir Christopher Frayling (Leone's biographer), Dr. Sheldon Hall, and various members of the cast and crew, the fragmented commentary track is always interesting, despite being a bit dry from time to time. Highlights include Carpenter's discussion of Leone's stylistic choices and star Claudia Cardinale's amusing recollection of her love scene with Fonda. Once Upon a Time in the West is a film that not only made cinematic history, but has also been constructed from a substantial amount of history (both cinematic and otherwise), a fact that makes the inclusion of three informative featurettes a welcome addition. In ''Opera of Violence," interviewees (including Leone himself) discuss everything from the director's childhood to his interpretation of American Western standards. "Wages of Sin" discusses the allure of Monument Valley and shooting conditions, and "Something to Do With Death" addresses Leone and composer Ennio Morricone's enduring collaboration, the use of sound in the film, original reactions to the film, and comments on how it has aged. Rounding out the featurettes, "Railroad: Revolutionizing the West" discusses the film's depiction of westward expansion via railroad by delving into the history of the subject. As for galleries, Locations Then and Now juxtaposes contemporary images of the film's locations with pictures taken during the production, and production stills are nicely presented in black-and-white. Cast profiles and a theatrical trailer round out the extra features, making this disc well worth the money for anyone considering purchasing it.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/18/2003
UPC: 0097360683042
Original Release: 1968
Rating: PG-13
Source: Paramount
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Wide Screen]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time: 2:45:00

Special Features

Widescreen anamorphic format; Commentary track with contributions from directors John Carpenter, John Milius, Alex Cox, film historian (& Leone biographer) Sir Chirstopher Frayling, Dr. Sheldon Hall, and comments from cast and crew members; 3 new making-of documentaries: "An Opera of Violence," "The Wages of Sin," and "Something To Do With Death"; "Railroad: Revoultionizing the West" featurette; Location & production galleries; Cast profiles; Theatrical trailers.

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charles Bronson Harmonica
Claudia Cardinale Jill
Henry Fonda Frank
Jason Robards Cheyenne
Gabriele Ferzetti Morton
Frank Wolff McBain
Keenan Wynn Sheriff
Jack Elam Knuckles
Lionel Stander Bartender
Woody Strode Stony
Paolo Stoppa Sam
Marilu Carteny Actor
Benito Stefanelli Actor
Aldo Berti Actor
Spartaco Conversi Actor
John Frederick Member of Frank's Gang
Claudio Mancini Harmonica's Brother
Dino Mele Harmonica as a Boy
Renato Pinciroli Actor
Conrado SanMartin Actor
Marco Zuanelli Wobbles

Technical Credits
Sergio Leone Director,Original Story,Screenwriter
Fausto Ancillai Sound/Sound Designer
Dario Argento Original Story
Eros Bacciucchi Special Effects
Nino Baragli Editor
Bernardo Bertolucci Original Story
Bino Cicogna Executive Producer
Tonino Delli Colli Cinematographer
Giannetto De Rossi Makeup
Alberto de Rossi Makeup
Sergio Donati Screenwriter
Carlo Leva Set Decoration/Design
Claudio Maielli Sound/Sound Designer
Claudio Mancini Production Manager
Ennio Morricone Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Fulvio Morsella Producer
Giancarlo Santi Asst. Director
Simi Costumes/Costume Designer
Carlo Simi Art Director,Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Once Upon a Time in the West
1. Waiting For the Flagstone Train
2. Harmonica Arrives at the Station
3. The McBain Family
4. Now That You've Called Me By Name
5. Jill Left Alone
6. Cheyenne Makes an Entrance
7. False Notes
8. Mrs. Jill McBain
9. Harmonica Looks For Frank
10. The Toy Station
11. A Bandit Who Smells Money
12. Many Kinds of Weapons
13. You Deserve Better
14. The Track To Frank
15. End of the Line
16. Easy To Find You
17. No More Useless Killing
18. The Dream of a Lifetime
19. Just Another Filthy Memory
20. The Auction
21. Morton's Game
22. Five Thousand Dollars
23. Offer Refused: Frank Loses a Dollar
24. Shadows On the Clock
25. Morton Hears the Atlantic
26. Only at the Point of Dying
27. Showdown
28. Harmonica's Memory
29. Harmonica Retruns His Name
30. Come Back Some Day
31. Farewell Cheyenne
32. Train Pulls Into Sweetwater Station
33. Closing Credits

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Once Upon a Time in the West 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
LeChef More than 1 year ago
I first watched this movie in a film class in college. Up until that time I had only viewed westerns showing towns to be clean and settled. Boy was it a shock to see the grittiness and actual wildness of the west. Sergio Leone presents us with real characters; Cruel and sadistic villains, greedy robber barons, heroes who wear grey.
This is Bronson's best role. Claudia Cardinale plays the not so innocent wife with dignity and strength. Jason Robards Jr was one of America's great character actors and he shows this in the film. And Fonda is an evil Son of a B----. Henry Fonda was always stretching the bounds. He definitely succeeds here.
Good movie, great fun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A serendipitous meeting of Director, cast, and story. Keeps one's attention throughout by maintaining continuity and separation of the various threads as they slowly weave themselves into whole cloth. A true classic of the western genre, touches cords deep within us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sergio Leone's greatest work and you can clearly see the love and attention to detail in every composition. Leone gave us a mythological West, with incredible depth of field (in the manner of Shane), with a superb cast, at the same time as Peckinpah was destroying the myth with 'The Wild Bunch'. A two and a half hour film with all of ten or fifteen pages of dialog in the script, Leone uses his camera to tell the story. If the casual viewer can sit through the snail like pacing, they are in for a real treat. For film students and those who have a deeper appreciation of film than as simply entertainment, this is a must watch for any serious study of the Western genre. Throughout the film you can see homage to Ford, Sturges, Stevens and many other directors who gave us classic Westerns. The DVD set is a beaut; the second CD is worth the price of admission on its own. There are no 'restored scenes', this is the film as Leone handed it off to Paramount before the studio cut it for US release. This film also represents, arguably, Ennio Morricone's best score. At times nerve-racking and at others operatic matching the scale and scope of the film, the music helps tell the story rather just fill over silence. Arguably, the one beef I have with the film as it exists now is the insertion of Cheyenne's theme into the end credits. It was not that way originally 30 some odd years ago when I first saw the film, and in several screenings since, but those are the breaks. This film is a classic and is well worth the time spent screening it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the dialogue-free opening scene, this movie had me hooked. The dialog was sheer fun. The unraveling of the film's mysteries, the look of the movie, the music, the harmonica above the music, and the recurrent flashback scene: all terrific. The movie has it all: dustjackets, grit, scenery, surprises big and small, the best train and trading post scenes of any western, a musical score that fits like a glove, and performances that will stay with you. The casting and performances were uniformly excellent. I don't know if this is THE greatest movie of all times, but it is well up there and certainly the very best of Westerns.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'One Upon A Time In The West' is Sergio Leone's epic spaghetti western that pits a lone gunman, Harmonica (Charles Bronson) - playing sort of the good guy - against evil incarnate, Frank (Henry Fonda). Frank¿s men, Stony (Woody Strode) and Snaky (Jack Elam) have been sent to the train station to ensure that Harmonica does not get off at his station alive. Meanwhile, the murder of Jill McBain¿s (Claudia Cardinale) entire family, because they¿re ranch house and property just happen to be in the direct path of a pending railway project, sets off this power keg of action. Jill is determined to have her revenge on the man responsible ¿ the man who is currently her ruthless lover. Jason Robards costars as Manuel Gutierez, a rancher with his own hidden agenda; one that coincides with Harmonica¿s to rid the west of Frank and his remaining posse. After a series of highly profitable western quickies featuring Clint Eastwood, director, Leone emerged with perhaps the most poignant example of the revisionist western ever put on film. Unlike days of old, this film is not populated with a series of conflicts between the good and bad guys, but a disquieting melting pot of tonal gray representations of the best and the worst that the lawless west has spawned. The ending is as open as the great outdoors and Leone¿s methodical pacing produces a work on par with the most purely sublime spaghetti westerns. The transfer is incredible! Paramount Home Video gives us a gorgeous looking DVD. Colors are sumptuously rendered with the entire landscape a visceral sea of rich gold, burnt browns, deep blacks and wonderful sky blues. Contrast and black levels are bang on. There is no shimmering of fine details, pixelization or aliasing for a thoroughly smooth looking mastering effort. An extremely subtle hint of edge enhancement crops up now and then, but it is so incredibly minute that to even mention its presence seems unfair. The audio is equally impressive. The 5.1 remastering effort brings forth a robust sound in all 5 channels, with a strong base and incredibly integrated sound field. Yes, dialogue is slightly forward sounding but hey, is that any reason to complain? In the extras too, Paramount impresses. Three documentaries cover the film's development and release from all angles. There's also an audio commentary, the theatrical trailer and some other quickie stuff added to good effect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After a slow start it takes off with a wiz-bang. My wife thoroughly enjoyed this movie especially the scenes with Charles Bronson.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Words cannot do this movie justice. Watch it once and it will remain with you forever...it is completely unforgettable. Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale...they are all absolutely wonderful in this gorgeous movie. Thank the lord this is finally going to be on DVD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am reluctant to say the best of all time, cinema, like any art, is too subjective. However, Once Upon a Time in The West is a superb example of cinematic art and my favourite western. In many ways this is a story about a woman trying to cope with an unexpected situation, and finding allies in people who are not perhaps wholesome. These characters are believable because of their flawed nature, they have their own agendas but enough decency to do something right. I love the little details, such as Jack Elam's efforts to blow a fly off his face in the opening scene. Cheyenne (Robards)using a match stick to eat with. Cheyenne's first appearance is a memorable movie moment. Henry Fonda is excellent as the odius Frank. This film completely takes the viewer in. It is as close to perfection as any movie can achieve. Take the phone off, turn the lights down and become a bystander in the Old West for three hours.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is simply the best western ever made. The cinematography, music, larger than life characters, complex and intertwining storylines, dance to a masterfully choreographed crescendo. Fonda is cast in the role of the Villainous Frank in the nick of time before he became too old for the part. Just as brilliantlly cast but often overlooked was Bronson as Harmonica. Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, and the rest of the supporting cast add depth and dimension. The music is astounding. No aspect of this superb film plays a supporting role as every piece rode hand in hand to one of the overlooked, but greatest films ever made, of any genre. The grand story of the comming of the railway is ingeniously enmeshed with diverse characters, harboring different motivations during the erosion of the ''old west''. Henry Fonda is brilliant. Cardinale matches him, take for take, in an amazing performance. The Monument Valley vistas combine with close-ups, and music, to yield nothing less than a ground-breaking masterpiece. This movie gets better with age. Unfortunately ''Once upon a time'' was made before its time and was panned by Hollywood, however, this reviewer casts a vote for at least an Honorary Oscar for the (often snubbed) Ennio Morricone's mezmerizing score.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the only movies, western or otherwise, I care to watch over & over again. The plot is deep, the acting is superb & the soundtack is outstanding. Who do I have to talk to to get this title released on DVD?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is without a doubt the best Western ever. If you like the Eastwood/Leone classics like 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly' and the 'Dollars' films, this will blow you away. What truly makes this Leone's best film is the cinematography and music. The scenes of the Arizona/New Mexico badlands is unbelievable. There are multiple scenes of over five minutes in length where Leone has no dialogue or character action whatsoever, but you remain spellbound by his filmmaking. Characterization, by far the most important criteria in any film, is excellent (let's see...why were the original Star Wars so good and the new ones so poor). Henry Fonda actually plays a very convincing villain, if you can believe that. Jason Robards makes one of his best character performances, and even Charles Bronson is good (well before his 70's dirty harry type trash roles). And the plot is the most intricate of all of Leone's westerns by far, focusing on the events of the railroads westward expansion. The only thing that disappoints is the rumor that Clint Eastwood was offered the lead Charles Bronson role, but turned it down as he didn't want to be typecast in this role after having done GBU, Fistfull of Dollars, etc. (happened anyway:), and if he had chosen to take the role, its enough to make ones head spin as to how legendary this film would now be. In terms of cinematography, I think this film may be the single most under-rated major motion picture off all time. The fact that such a stunning visual and musical film is not yet out on DVD, nor with a release schedule, merely reinforces that fact. A must see.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As my late night shift neared it's end, I told a co worker that I was looking forward to going home to a bowl of vanilla ice-cream and watching a neat old movie. It was 2 AM in the morning when I came across the start of this neat looking western movie, ''Once Upon a Time in the West''. A few seconds is all it took for me to get into the mood of watching a nice dusty old western. I was entranced by it immediatley. The movie, outstanding in it's casting and story plot, was tremendously enjoyable. I can't say enough great things about the movie. Henry Fonda's steely eyes added to the intense drama while Charles Bronson's amazingly cool smile astounded me. Claudia Cardinale has to be the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in any western movie, with her big dark eyes and golden blonde hair. Her acting was real perfection. The western scenery in the movie is wonderfully desolate, leaving me to wonder what the exact location of the town ''Sweetwater'' was filmed at. With Monument Valley included, the professional casting and interesting storyline, ''Once Upon a Time in the West'' quenched my thirst for a great dusty old western movie. Not ever having heard of the movie or of Claudia Cardinale before, I will recommend it to my friends and family. I give it a two thumbs up!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is without a doubt the best Western ever made. Written and directed by Sergio Leone, it was his best film. I only wish the powers that be would release a DVD of this epic movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can watch this movie at least once a week.I've recorded a movie from AMC two years ago when they didn't have any commercials while the movie was playing and the picture is awesome.....
Rudi_Schadt More than 1 year ago
This movie clearly was successful in Europe - of course, it is over the top. The long opening scene is the whole point; masterfully done, but almost a satire.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
What else can I say? The is the best, most realistic western ever made. Director, cast, composer and crew came together to make a cinematic masterpiece. It may be slow but it is mesmerizing. I have seen it many times and I never get tired of watching it. I find watching it almost hypnotic. This is what the west really was. This is Monument Valley at its best. All in all it may be the finest film ever made.
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