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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Once Upon a Time In the West (1968)



Reviews and Comments

None of Sergio Leone's films could be considered lean. Where as many movies rush to do, hopping efficiently from one action to another, Leone's are content simply to be. Long stretches of restless unease and lingering on details are punctuated by sudden violence.

Once Upon a Time In the West is his most extravagant. Consider the opening scene, which spends a daunting amount of time setting up three gunfighter characters waiting for a train, only to.... Well, never mind.

Henry Fonda plays against type as a nasty villain, which is a bit of a shock: this is an actor who made a name for himself playing some of the nicest and most honorable characters in the movies. The film is overflowing with great character actors and dirty landscapes in the best traditions of the spaghetti western.