Once Upon a Time in the West (15)

Film

Westerns

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jul 21 2009

The original Time Out review of Sergio Leone’s conceited and long-winded eulogy to the passing of America’s frontier days claimed that Peckinpah’s ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’ was its only rival when it came to the title of ‘best western ever’. How times have changed. ‘Once Upon a Time…’ now looks like an over-cooked mess of style, metaphor and reference, while ‘Pat…’ strides ahead, every bit the poetic modern masterpiece. Charles Bronson is the squinty cipher pitted against a countercast Henry Fonda in a tale of bloody revenge that takes numerous detours into areas of property law and corporate malaise, only to conclude with the displacement of ‘man’ (the humble cowpoke) by his distant, cold-hearted brethren, ‘the businessman’. In technical terms, scenes such as the operatic opening shoot-out are hard to fault,but this is a film that rewards the eyes and ears without properly considering the heart and head.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jul 24, 2009

Duration:

165 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:19
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|21
2 people listening
williamhenryamm

Mr. Jenkins, compared to "Once Upon A Time In The West", Pat Garrett and.... is pure celluloid trash. I'm a big fan of "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid", with James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson, But just let me say, and I don't mean to offend, but DAMN.

jeffmovie

I saw it on network TV circa 1970 (about age 14) and it instantly became my favorite film. After having seen many more movies since then it is still one of my favorites. Any one who has more than a superficial interest in films should watch it and decide for themselves how they feel about it. Few would disagree that the cinematography is outstanding, the acting is great, the story unpredictable, the script above average. Obviously many find it too long, but I wouldn't mind if it was longer. I like its use of western movie cliche's, especially as they are mixed up in a way that creates a unique story. I would love to see it on big screen.

jeffmovie

I saw it on network TV circa 1970 (about age 14) and it instantly became my favorite film. After having seen many more movies since then it is still one of my favorites. Any one who has more than a superficial interest in films should watch it and decide for themselves how they feel about it. Few would disagree that the cinematography is outstanding, the acting is great, the story unpredictable, the script above average. Obviously many find it too long, but I wouldn't mind if it was longer. I like its use of western movie cliche's, especially as they are mixed up in a way that creates a unique story. I would love to see it on big screen.

Michael Atkinson

How wrong this Time Out review for Once Upon A Time In The West is. Whoever wrote the review at the top of this page clearly needs to strive for a better taste in westerns if they think this is overcooked. I believe this still is the best westen ever made and it stands alone as a masterpiece of sight and sound. Who cares about head and heart when the filming has been done with such love and clever skill. A superb masterpiece.

Michael Atkinson

How wrong this Time Out review for Once Upon A Time In The West is. Whoever wrote the review at the top of this page clearly needs to strive for a better taste in westerns if they think this is overcooked. I believe this still is the best westen ever made and it stands alone as a masterpiece of sight and sound. Who cares about head and heart when the filming has been done with such love and clever skill. A superb masterpiece.

Ali

Legendary film. One of the best spaghetti-western ever made with "Django" and "The Great Silence"

Ali

Legendary film. One of the best spaghetti-western ever made with "Django" and "The Great Silence"

nat b

Really, there should be 7-10 stars for rating movies (I'd rate "Once upon a Time in the West" as either 6/7 or 8/10) -- 5 stars simply don't allow enough for complexity. I suppose that what really hooked me into this movie was the opening sequence while the opening credits were "rolling". One thing that did surprise me was the casting of Charles Bronson (seeing as he was simply outshone by both Henry Fonda and James Robards). I like the unfocused shots that are dispersed throughout the movie -- they become increasing focused (almost serving as an allegory, really) and culminate in a musical crescendo that is CLEARLY influenced by Janet Leigh's shower scene in "Psycho". And -- dare I say it -- just as effective as well. The motto of the movie as the camera backs away to display and expose the entire town might be: "Life goes on, and we are remarked upon little once we exit the stage." I'm surprised that this spaghetti western is as good as it is.

nat b

Really, there should be 7-10 stars for rating movies (I'd rate "Once upon a Time in the West" as either 6/7 or 8/10) -- 5 stars simply don't allow enough for complexity. I suppose that what really hooked me into this movie was the opening sequence while the opening credits were "rolling". One thing that did surprise me was the casting of Charles Bronson (seeing as he was simply outshone by both Henry Fonda and James Robards). I like the unfocused shots that are dispersed throughout the movie -- they become increasing focused (almost serving as an allegory, really) and culminate in a musical crescendo that is CLEARLY influenced by Janet Leigh's shower scene in "Psycho". And -- dare I say it -- just as effective as well. The motto of the movie as the camera backs away to display and expose the entire town might be: "Life goes on, and we are remarked upon little once we exit the stage." I'm surprised that this spaghetti western is as good as it is.

Michael

Here we go - the irate incredulity of fanboys who can't imagine that someone sees one of their favorite films differently than they do. I happen to agree with this review. I think that Once Upon a Time is a good film that is good at making you think it is a great one....the kind that particularly impressionable kinds of intellectuals hasten to praise on the account of its style and the big personalities onscreen. But ingredients aren't the same as a whole, and more critics than Mr. Jenkins have hinted at this for Once Upon a Time. Concerning the star system, it IS an imperfect, expedient way to grade films. I think it is best used when judging what a film does in relation to what it could or should have done according to the reviewer. Cut Mr. Jenkins some slack.

Jill

Dude, you FAIL. Both movies are awesome, but calling OUATITW what you called it questions your sanity.

Jill

Dude, you FAIL. Both movies are awesome, but calling OUATITW what you called it questions your sanity.

ray welsh

Of course film viewing is subjective but how to explain the fact that an out and out atrocity like the Transformers sequel scores @ the box office? I have to believe that the true subjectivity of film is found in those which have endured time. Films that move audiences and critics alike, find new audiences over time and spur heated and passionate debate, these are the films worth of finding viewers who have the ability to be subjective. Once Upon A Time...Is such a film. For anyone to dismiss the last 30 or so minutes of this film simply doesn't get it. The coming of a new world and the exit of one that existed only in the mind of a young Italian film lover is not only complex and poignant in theory but incredibly complex and beautiful in the telling and in the showing. Comparing the jokey, historically reprehensible, cheesy offerings of Hawks and to a lessor degree Ford (The Searchers, my God the stabs at humor and cheese are cringe inducing, 2 1/2 hours for a handful of good moments) to Leone's monuments to film is simply intellectually dishonest. As has been said by another reviewer who has earned his degree in subjectivity "If you don't like Leone, you don't like cinema". He couldn't be more right.

ray welsh

Of course film viewing is subjective but how to explain the fact that an out and out atrocity like the Transformers sequel scores @ the box office? I have to believe that the true subjectivity of film is found in those which have endured time. Films that move audiences and critics alike, find new audiences over time and spur heated and passionate debate, these are the films worth of finding viewers who have the ability to be subjective. Once Upon A Time...Is such a film. For anyone to dismiss the last 30 or so minutes of this film simply doesn't get it. The coming of a new world and the exit of one that existed only in the mind of a young Italian film lover is not only complex and poignant in theory but incredibly complex and beautiful in the telling and in the showing. Comparing the jokey, historically reprehensible, cheesy offerings of Hawks and to a lessor degree Ford (The Searchers, my God the stabs at humor and cheese are cringe inducing, 2 1/2 hours for a handful of good moments) to Leone's monuments to film is simply intellectually dishonest. As has been said by another reviewer who has earned his degree in subjectivity "If you don't like Leone, you don't like cinema". He couldn't be more right.

JMHM

So according to the ludicrous Time Out rating system this Leone masterpiece is on a par with Bruno, Harry Potter, Dawn of the Dinosaurs and The Transformers. Shame on you! The original Time Out review proclaimed - "This is cinema!" and yes eyes and ears are required but for this viewer at least it also engages the brain and drives straight to the heart. Jenkins' clumsy dismissal of the conclusion misses the point by a wide mark; it is more complex than he supposes. Clearly the fact that it was created by an Italian and alludes to opera is a problem for some of your readers. Well shame on them.

JMHM

So according to the ludicrous Time Out rating system this Leone masterpiece is on a par with Bruno, Harry Potter, Dawn of the Dinosaurs and The Transformers. Shame on you! The original Time Out review proclaimed - "This is cinema!" and yes eyes and ears are required but for this viewer at least it also engages the brain and drives straight to the heart. Jenkins' clumsy dismissal of the conclusion misses the point by a wide mark; it is more complex than he supposes. Clearly the fact that it was created by an Italian and alludes to opera is a problem for some of your readers. Well shame on them.

E A Dobson

WELL DONE MR JENKINS! I now know never to read a review written by you ever again! I have been a huge admirer of the genre for decades and this is my favourite film by Leone,a true five star film if there ever was one!

E A Dobson

WELL DONE MR JENKINS! I now know never to read a review written by you ever again! I have been a huge admirer of the genre for decades and this is my favourite film by Leone,a true five star film if there ever was one!