Once Upon A Time In The West Is the Best Western and You Should Watch It

The opening is iconic.

In eerie silence three outlaws take over a rail station somewhere in the west to set up a trap for the soon to arrive hero. After locking up the ticket clerk the three outlaws each take a position at different ends of the station. Suffocating closeups of each outlaw is intercut with wide shots of the surroundings. The train arrives and the three outlaws and the camera move in synchronization. There is a rhythm to the outlaws and camera that soon is accompanied by our hero's harmonica. A shootout commences and the film begins.


The intro is the movie in a nutshell. The west is over. Trains have turned a harsh unforgiving journey into one that could be made in relative comfort and ease. The outlaws that used to be at home are now isolated from their world and what a western film used to be is not the way it is any longer. Sergio Leone made sure of that with this star filled epic. Carefully constructed, masterfully paced, and beautifully shot— this is one of the best movies of all time.

In true spaghetti western fashion the film was shot and then dubbed later in english. Words have never looked more poorly matched to a persons mouth. The epic scoring for the film was done by, now heralded, Ennio Morricone and provided a major influence to Hans Zimmer for the Pirates series evident in the song Parlay. Ennio had worked with Leone before on his lauded Dollars Trilogy.

Everyone is a killer in Once Upon a Time in the West, it's just who you're killing that makes the difference. And if you're not into that then there's plenty else to watch. [Netflix]


A true masterpiece! But I'm afraid it's second to The Good The Bad and the Ugly.