once upon a time in the west

Although I know many love it, I’ve never been a big fan of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In fact the only film I really enjoy out of the “Man with No Name” trilogy is the second film – For a Few Dollars More. For my money Sergio Leone‘s best western, and his best film, is Once Upon a Time in the West.

Co-written by Leone’s longtime partner Sergio Donati, Once Upon a Time in the West is a love letter to the mythology of the Old West and more than thirty American Westerns Leone had deep affection (several of which are referenced throughout the film including High Noon, 3:10 to Yuma, The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Iron Horse, and The Magnificent Seven).

The film’s long sequences, slow pacing, and lack of dialogue may put off some viewers, but those with patience to see a great film unfold slowly before their eyes should give this one a long look. The tension Leone is able to build in these sequences is amazing. In a film like Once Upon a Time in the West the sequences between the showdowns and gun fights are as, if not more, important than the “payoff” scenes.

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