Movie of the Week: Once Upon a Time in the West (1969)

Sergio Leone directs Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda and Claudia Cardinale in this epic spaghetti western where a widow needs to protect her land from mysterious forces as the new railroad approaches.

A journey so massive that Ennio Morricone does not produce just one brilliant score, he conjures 5! Who wouldn’t be seduced by dreamy Claudia Cardinale digging her heels in the scrabble and standing her ground as everyone fights around her? Morricone delivers an aria for her stubborn beauty. And then we have our man-of-the-match; the playful and wise and wistful bandit Cheyenne! Jason Robards gets a springy theme to match his wiley lethalness. We know eventually Harmonica and Frank are gonna face-off. Is there a deeper story in the mournful dirge they share? Vengeance bides its time then comes hard, crosses are doubled and then tripled! You are gonna have to be fast with those guns and patient with your draw as Leone masterfully moves all his icons into position. It is worth the wait, worth the long drawn-out moments of gorgeous inaction. Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the greatest films made, it makes waiting for death one the most beautiful cinema experiences ever.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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