(Based on recommendation of SI reader yourmate)
Fast horses. Fast guns. Fast women.
Is there any other movie genre that has captured the imagination of millions of movie fans the world over as much as the Western?
We doubt it.
And when you think Western, you think of Once Upon a Time in the West.
Directed by Sergio Leone, Once Upon a Time in the West features Henry Fonda, Charles ‘Death Wish’ Bronson, Claudia Cardinale and Jason Robards in key roles.
Although the movie failed to rock the U.S. box office and failed to win the Best Picture Oscar, it’s now hailed as a masterpiece and considered the ne plus ultra of westerns in some circles.
We’ll update this post later today after we finish watching the movie.
Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the very, very few movies that we’d like to watch a second time. And we will.
Notwithstanding what you may have heard, this is not a Henry Fonda movie. Oh, this is by no means a Charles Bronson movie either.
We don’t care what you’ve heard or read but Once Upon a Time in the West most certainly is not a Claudia Cardinale or Jason Robards movie.
Brilliant and dazzling as no doubt all these actors are, none of them own Once Upon a Time in the West.
Folks,Â Once Upon a Time in the West is Sergio Leone’s movie. No ifs and buts.
Only a master storyteller like Sergio Leone could stitch together several small beautiful portraits into a master canvas of compelling beauty, one that defies aging and will endure as long as the medium of movies endures.
The movie starts off with a homage to Gary Cooper’s High Noon via a similar opening scene of three men waiting at a railroad station for the train to arrive.
After that scene, this movie veers off in a completely different direction.
What is Once Upon a Time in the West all about, you ask.
Is it about the relentless march of the modern era into the old West as the railroad keeps extending its sway through hard desert frontier territory? Is it a familiar tale of revenge? A story of another hooker looking for love and stability in an unlikely place? A tragic end to the rough life of a endearing criminal? A story of a bunch of old-style outlaws? A greedy businessman’s land-grab?
Yes, all of the above but so much more too. So much more.
Never has the banal sentence of the whole being greater than the sum of its individual parts been truer.
Supported by hauntingly melodious music throughout the movie, Once Upon a Time in the West is no less than a visual tour de force.
If you live in the U.S., you can rent Once Upon a Time in the West from Netflix or the Blockbuster stores.