Once Upon A Time In The West


(out of 5)

Original story:  C’Era Una Volta Il West

Sergio Leone wasn’t interested in another western after his Man With No Name Trilogy concluded on a high note with The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, but difficulty in getting his production of Once Upon A Time In America off the ground convinced him to return to his fertile breeding ground of creativity. What he comes up with is one of the best westerns ever made, a painfully detailed, wondrously photographed epic saga in which a New Orleans prostitute ( at her most ravishing) shows up in a dusty small town to find that the man she just married and his children have all been killed. Guilt initially rests on a coffee-loving drifter () who has just escaped from prison, but he squares off with her and convinces her that the actual bad guy is an evil gunman ( in a rare role as a baddy) working for a greedy railroad tycoon (). Cardinale is helped by a harmonica-playing gunman () in her quest to set things right, all the while the railroad keeps moving west and bringing progress and civilization with it. It’s exciting in its own right as a revenge-motivated action film, but it also works exceedingly well as a commentary on myth-making and its part in the creation of American culture. The performances are all top notch, and while its plotting gets a bit hard to follow in its last third, it ends with a wonderful, satisfying climax.

Rafran Cinematografica, Finanzia San Marco,

Italy/USA, 1968

Directed by

Story by , , Sergio Leone, Screenplay by Sergio Leone, Sergio Donati, English dialogue by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by Carlo Simi

Film Editing by

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