Reviews - Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
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Based on 229 137 Ratings

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Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Genres: Western

Taglines: There were three men in her life. One to take her... one to love her... and one to kill her.

Director: Sergio Leone

Writers: Sergio Donati, Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, Sergio Leone, ...

Stars: Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, ...

Story of a young woman, Mrs. McBain, who moves from New Orleans to frontier Utah, on the very edge of the American West. She arrives to find her new husband and family slaughtered, but by whom? The prime suspect, coffee-lover Cheyenne, befriends her and offers to go after the real killer, assassin gang leader Frank, in her honor. He is accompanied by Harmonica, a man already on a quest to get even.

100 | Marjorie Baumgarten

An additional treat is seeing Hollywood good guy Henry Fonda playing one of the nastiest curs in the West. Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the great films in cinema history. (8/30/2000 Review)
Read More: Austin Chronicle

100 | Dave Kehr

Leone brought back a masterpiece, a film that expands his baroque, cartoonish style into genuine grandeur, weaving dozens of thematic variations and narrative arabesques around a classical western foundation myth.(Review of Original Release)
Read More: Chicago Reader

100 | Staff (Not credited)

Sergio Leone's masterpiece. In Once Upon a Time in the West, Leone pulls together all the themes, characterizations, visuals, humor, and musical experiments of the three "Dollars" films and comes up with a true epic western. It is a stunning, operatic film of breadth, detail, and stature that deserves to be considered among the greatest westerns ever made. (Review of Original Release)
Read More: TV Guide Magazine

80 | Chuck Stephens

Akira Kurosawa once said that Toshiro Mifune could give him in three feet of film the emotion any other actor would take 10 to deliver, but in a single flash of Fonda's electric turquoise orbs, Leone (Kurosawa's first and sincerest flatterer-imitator) managed to say as much about John Ford, the devil, and the corruptions of the Way Out Western world as the genre ever would.
Read More: Village Voice

70 | Staff (Not credited)

Henry Fonda and Jason Robards relish each screen minute as the heavies, and Charles Bronson plays Clint Eastwood's 'man with no name' role. (Review of Original Release)
Read More: Variety

63 | Roger Ebert

Good fun, especially if you like Leone's way of savoring the last morsel of every scene. (Review of Original Release)
Read More: Chicago Sun-Times

60 | Vincent Canby

The biggest, longest, most expensive Leone Western to date, and, in many ways, the most absurd... Granting the fact that it is quite bad, Once Upon the Time in the West is almost always interesting, wobbling, as it does, between being an epic lampoon and a serious hommage to the men who created the dreams of Leone's childhood. (Review of Original Release)
Read More: The New York Times

50 | Phil Hall

Alas, the big screen also magnifies the problems with Once Upon a Time in the West. Specifically, Leone’s insistence on style trumped the need for substance. The film is basically a B-Western stretched an agonizing 165 minutes.
Read More: Film Threat