Once Upon a Time in the West
|Key Cast||Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, Claudia Cardinale, Gabriele Ferzetti, Paolo Stoppa, Woody Strode, Jack Elam|
|Genre(s)||Western, Spaghetti Western, Adventure|
“Once Upon a Time in the West” is Considered Sergio Leone’s Masterpiece
Famed Italian director Sergio Leone helmed this famous spaghetti western that has been hailed by movie filmmakers as Leone’s masterpiece.
Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson star in “Once Upon a Time in the West” in roles that are atypical. Henry Fonda stars as one of the coldest movie villains ever – a gunslinger named Frank. Charles Bronson stars as a mysterious hero who goes by the name Harmonica. Both of their performances add another, interesting dynamic to “Once Upon a Time in the West” in which even the good guys have a hard-bitten edge.
Jill McBain (Claudia Cardinale) arrives at her ranch, Sweetwater, to find that her husband has been murdered by hired gun Frank (Henry Fonda). Frank wants the Sweetwater ranch because the railroad has offered a fortune to purchase it. Mysterious gunman Harmonica (Charles Bronson) , who plays his namesake instrument, teams up with outlaw Cheyenne (Jason Robards) to help protect Jill from Frank’s evil intentions.
It’s only a matter of time before things get even bloodier!
With equal parts violence and humor, Sergio Leone presents an epic vision of the west in which the line between good and evil is not always clear.
“Once Upon a Time in the West” had such a profound effect on filmmakers that award-winning director Martin Scorcese said “There’s no doubt that Once Upon a Time in the West influenced the 1970s generation of filmmakers – Spielberg, Lucas, Milius, Carpenter.”
In 2009. “Once Upon a Time in the West” was selected by the National Film Board for inclusion in the U.S. Library of Congress National Film Registry, a distinct national honor and tribute to this film’s importance to movie history.
• After Sergio Leone’s blockbuster success with the Clint Eastwood spaghetti western trilogy (“Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”), Paramount Studios eagerly financed Leone’s next western film, “Once Upon a Time in the West.” Leone was very involved in the making of this western film, having co-written the script and serving as director.
• Initially Henry Fonda turned down the role as the villainous Frank. Sergio Leone, however, wouldn’t take “No” for an answer and flew to the United States to convince Fonda to take the part. He convinced Henry Fonda to star in the western by emphasizing how surprising it would be for audiences to see Fonda playing a role completely opposite to his screen persona.
• “Once Upon a Time in the West” was not the box office success that Leone and Paramount Studios had expected. It was a disappointment at the theatres, especially in comparison to the Clint Eastwood “Man with No Name Trilogy.” Some critics contend that part of the reason for the western’s dismal box office showing in the United States was because of the casting of Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson in atypical film roles. In particular, they believe that American audiences had difficulty watching Henry Fonda play a ruthless villain, making the western less attractive. “Once Upon a Time in the West” did financially much better in Europe than the United States.
• Ennio Morricone composed the musical score for “Once Upon a Time in the West” before the film even began production. Morricone is celebrated for his memorable movie scores for numerous films, including a lot of spaghetti westerns. The award-winning composer has written music for over 500 movies including the westerns “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” , “Fistful of Dollars” and “For a Few Dollars More.”
• Because Leone had the heavy financial backing of Paramount Studios, he had a large production budget to use for making “Once Upon a Time in the West.” Leone filmed the western on location in Spain and built an entire western movie set in Guadix, Spain. He also filmed portions of it on location in Monument Valley, Utah, a famous spot for making western movies.
• “Once Upon a Time in the West” was selected for addition to the U.S. Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2009.
Once Upon a Time in the West
Once Upon a Time in the West was helmed by famed Italian director Sergio Leone. Many consider this western his masterpiece!
Henry Fonda stars as a cold villain named Frank, which was an atypical role for him and shocked American audiences who were used to seeing him as a hero.
Charles Bronson co-stars as the mysterious stranger Harmonica.
Once Upon a Time in the West
This Bluray disc version of “Once Upon a Time in the West” shows this famous spaghetti western with the best picture quality currently available for home viewing.
There’s also lots of additional bonus material on the Blu-ray, including a very interesting film commentary with the western’s cast and crew and other movie directors.
• Commentary featuring Directors, Film Historians and Cast & Crew
• An Opera Of Violence Feature
• The Wages Of Sin Feature
• Something To Do With Death Feature
• Railroad: Revolutionizing The West Feature
• and more!
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