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on 24 September 2016
No need to comment on the merits of this legendary art-western..... In terms of scene-setting, photography, lighting, and the awe-inspiring music of Ennio Morricone, it is a benchmark.

The quality of the transfer is excellent, esp. considering Leone shot this on Techniscope 2 perf film..... a poor man's format.

However, some Menu functions on the Blu-ray are primitive or actually non-existent. Reverting to Menu midway through viewing is either not allowed, or the film reloads and returns to the opening screen. Equally, the disc cannot be stopped and then resumed from a previous stopped-off point. One has to start afresh, wait for the ram loading, and then look for the scene.....

Maybe the single disc is so full - two versions of the film (original theatrical release plus restored version), 10 languages, plus extras etc - that there is insufficient coding space for proper functionality....?

The std two-disc collector's edition operates perfectly and is only a shade less crisp with a tad less sound quality.

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on 24 June 2016
Is it one of the best films ever made? Possibly. Is it one of the best westerns ever made? Probably. All the ingredients of a great film are here - clever screenplay, excellent acting, fabulous music, brilliant photography and some extraordinary camera angles. Claudia Cardinale is beautiful and intelligent as the vulnerable widow, Charles Bronson is uncharacteristically verbose and musical (Clint Eastwood turned down his part, but he couldn't have done it better than Bronson), and Henry Fonda shakes off all his squeaky cleanness to be a cold eyed killer - 'I only told you to scare them,' says his boss after he's massacred a family. 'People scare better when they're dying,' replies Fonda. Even folk who don't normally like westerns will find something to admire in this. It's Sergio Leone at his absolute best.
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on 24 October 2017
Thoroughly enjoyed this film. It is slightly long, but that is the style of these films. Good casting in all the main roles, although I couldn't help thinking what it would have been like with Clint Eastwood playing the main silent stranger hero role ? The film is worth watching, just to watch Claudia Cardinale, what a stunningly beautiful woman. Get it and enjoy.
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on 16 August 2017
Bought to replace my region 1 version (d . v. d player that played region 1 broke)
My favourite western and film of all time.
If you like spaghetti westerns you should like this I though the casting was spot on, great lines and music,
Of course not everyone will like it ,like most things Its down to choice,I can go on about it saying how great it is others will say its rubbish.
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on 18 June 2017
One of Sergio Leone's greatest films. Only the Good the Bad and the Ugly comes close. A masterpiece! You will not see Henry Fonda in a role like this in any other film. Critics described it as one of the greatest films ever made and I can understand why. Everything from Ennio Morricone's epic soundtrack to the acting is sublime.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 13 March 2012
For me, this epitomises everything that makes watching a film worth while. A cracking story, fantastic acting, an enigmatic hero, vicious baddy, feisty heroine, amazing sets, costumes, dialogue - masses of tension and some unforgettable music. At two hours and forty minutes, it's a long film, but apparently the script only has a total of 15 pages of dialogue. This, and other interesting background facts to the making of the film, is on the second CD. I was impressed by the emphasis Sergio Leone put on making the sets authentic, the way he deliberately racked up the tension, with incredible close-ups and wonderful landscape shots. But for me it's the music that is the most unforgettable part of the film - each of the four main protagonists has their own "theme music", and four days after watching the film, it's still playing in my head.

All that and Charles Bronson and Jason Robards too - wow!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 November 2010
Once Upon A Time In The West is directed by Sergio Leone and stars Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards & Henry Fonda. Leone co-wrote the screenplay with Sergio Donati, while the story was provided by Dario Argento and Bernardo Bertolucci. Ennio Morricone scores the music and cinematography is from Tonino Delli Colli.

After finishing The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in 1966, Sergio Leone felt he had done all he wanted to do with the Western genre. Thankfully that wasn't to be the case as he was lured back into Oaterville to make the unique and quite superb C'era una volta il West in 1968. Greeted with negative reviews on its release in America, it was a financial flop. But in Europe the film was richly received and took the box offices by storm. Time has showed the film to have risen above cult status to be widely acknowledged as one of the finest Western film's of all time.

Everything about the film is bigger and bolder than previous Leone works. Opening with an almost silent ten minute sequence that has become legendary, the film follows four characters as they dovetail towards the reckoning. Harmonica (Bronson), Frank (Fonda), Jill McBain (Cardinale) & Cheyenne (Robards), all linked by death, and with each one represented in the narrative by a piece of music. Leone clinically weaves the four stories into one operatic whole. Not all of it makes perfect sense, which stops it being the masterpiece many consider it being. But its observations of Western mysticism, capitalism and progression of time; and with scores to of course be settled too, it makes for a fine story nestling in amongst the beautiful treats for the eyes and ears.

While Leone clearly homages the genre and pays tribute to the old America (you will lose count spotting the Western film steals), his film is ultimately very much a pastiche piece. But he gets away with that lack of freshness (the story at the core mirrors Johnny Guitar for example) due to the unique structure. It's meticulously paced as the characters are fleshed out to the max, sometimes even without dialogue. Smart directing as Leone makes the story more richer and weightier in substance. Morricone's score is magnificent and so is Colli's photography, with the latter's shooting of Monument Valley good enough to have featured in John Ford oeuvre. While the casting is inspiring, notably Fonda as a villain (the impact shocked many back in the day).

I can't call it a masterpiece because it does lift from many other sources, but it's darn close to being a perfect movie. One thing is for sure, that in its uncut form the film is a work of art. Where repeat viewings keep rewarding and never dilute the enjoyment. 9/10
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on 12 May 2016
ONCE UPON a TiME in the WEST is probably the best western Movie of all times . The great director Sergio Leone , turned the actors HENRY FONDA , CHARLES BRONSON , JASON ROBARDS and CLAUDiA CARDiNALE into the MEGASTARS of CiNEMA . The Music Composer Ennio Morricone created the BEST Music for an western Movie of all times . THE MASTERS of CiNEMA : SERGiO LEONE , HENRY FONDA , CHARLES BRONSON , CLAUDiA CARDiNALE and ENNiO MORRiCONE : Timeless and outstanding performances ! ( Gentille Adrian Buzatu )
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on 30 November 2008
Sergio Leone is unique in his field, and particularly in the western genre. He was in his fourth year of spaghetti western, let's say in full swing, in this film. You know it is Sergio Leone by several elements that do not tell a lie. The music always has the same texture, the same taste, the same sonorities, with the eternal harmonica. Then the landscape, the sunshine, the light, the vegetation and of course practically no fauna, and in this one, not even a snake. Hardly a few horses, a couple of partridges, or whatever, and a pair of chickens. Nothing to brag about. Sergio Leone is concentrating anyway on the human animal and there the menagerie is by far diverse and grotesque enough. Then the economy of the dialogue is also typical because Sergio Leone never uses one word too many when he can do without any word at all. The silences are long and so meaningful that you must be blind not to hear the resounding sense of that emptiness. Then the few words that are actually pronounced become so powerful in their scarcity and rarity that you definitely have to be deaf not to see the subtlety of that sound track. Those are the most significant traits of Sergio Leone's style. And this film is the acme of that style. The plot itself innovates in the subject, that is to say in who the thieves are. In this case some railroad contractor who wants to get rid of some settler who has bought a big chunk of land on the very way where the railroad has to go and who has a contract that allows the railroad to go through for nothing if the station is built before the train can come. You can then imagine the intricacies of the action between several gangs and tribes and bands of good and bad men, bad and good beings, and all the nuances, hues and shades in between. The best detail of course comes at the end when the main bad guy realizes who the one who has just destroyed him is. Don't expect me to tell you. You have to watch the film till the very last five minutes to finally understand. Enjoy it. And if you get the collector's edition you will also enjoy the complementary features on railroads and their advance in and through the west.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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on 4 February 2015
A truly great film. Whether one judges it by plot, scenery, acting, musical score or cinematography it comes up trumps on all.
The plot unfolds in a deliberately slow manner and is accompanied by a wonderful score. The temptation to rush things, all too evident in most other films, is avoided and allows the tension to mount. The viewer is treated with respect by the director and this is another attraction of this film.
This is definitely one of the greatest westerns, and indeed of all genres, and it should be part of any cinematic fans collection.
Buy it, you will not be disappointed.
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