Once Upon a Time in the West ( ) is a 1968 Italian epic spaghetti western film directed by Sergio Leone for Paramount Pictures. It stars Henry Fonda cast against type as the villain, Charles Bronson as his nemesis, Jason Robards as a bandit, and Claudia Cardinale as a newly widowed homesteader with a past as a prostitute. The screenplay was written by Leone and Sergio Donati, from a story devised by Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Dario Argento. The widescreen cinematography was by Tonino Delli Colli, and Ennio Morricone provided the film score.
In Europe, the film was a substantial box office success, playing for multiple years in some cities. However, it was greeted with a mostly negative critical response upon its 1969 theatrical release in the United States and was a financial flop. The film is now generally acknowledged as a masterpiece and one of the best western films ever made.
In 2009, it was named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant and will be preserved for all time.
The film describes two conflicts that take place around Flagstone, a fictional town in the American Old West: a land battle related to construction of a railroad, and a mission of vengeance against a cold-blooded killer.
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Official Site: Sergio Leone
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