C'era una volta il West
C'era una volta il West (Italy, 1968) was director Sergio Leone's ultimate ode to the genre and is considered by many to be the best or one of the best westerns or even movies of all time.
Also known asOnce Upon a Time in the West (USA) | Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod (Germany) | Il était une fois dans l'ouest (France) | Aconteceu no Oeste (Portugal) | Hasta que llegó su hora (Spain) | Harmonica - en hämnare (Sweden) | Pewnego razu na Dzikim Zachodzie (Poland) | Huuliharppukostaja (Finland) | Bir Zamanlar Batida (Turkey) | Era uma vez no Oeste (Brazil) | ウエスタン Western (Japan) | Tenkrát na Západě (Czechoslovakia) | روزی روزگاری در غرب (Iran) | Volt egyszer egy Vadnyugat (Hungary) | Имало едно време на запад (Bulgaria) | Едно време на запад (Bulgaria Betamax)
Once upon a time three men are waiting at a railway station. Once upon a time a mysterious nameless harmonica player arrives who is relying on the past. Once upon a time an Irish man dreams of turning the desert into a paradise. Once upon a time a killer named Frank kills people to leave his past behind and to turn from a man into a business man. Once upon a time a whore from New Orleans named Jill has to realise that her dream of a family had been destroyed just before it could begin. Once upon a time a romantic bandit named Cheyenne helps to build a future which can't be his own. Once upon a time a railway tycoon dreams of building a railway from one ocean to another before multiple sclerosis will inevitably kill him. Once upon a time men kill and die for a future they don't understand and a woman inherits their broken dreams by turning a mother role into something bigger than she ever had imagined. Once upon a time, with the arrival of the railroad, the times are no longer what they were before.
- Cast (Italian): Claudia Cardinale (Jill McBain), Henry Fonda (Frank), Jason Robards (Manuel 'Cheyenne' Gutierrez), Charles Bronson (Harmonica), Gabriele Ferzetti (Mr. Morton), Paolo Stoppa (Sam, Jill's taxi), Woody Strode (Stony, train station gunman), Jack Elam (Snaky, train station gunman), Marco Zuanelli (Wobbles), Benito Stefanelli (Frank's henchman, train), Keenan Wynn (sheriff of Flagstone), Frank Wolff (McBain), Lionel Stander (waystation barman), Livio Andronico, Salvatore Basile [as Salvo Basile] (Cheyenne henchman), Aldo Berti (Frank's henchman, train), Marilù Carteny (old lady at funeral ?), Luigi Ciavarro (deputy sheriff, Flagstone), Spartaco Conversi (Frank's henchman, train), Bruno Corazzari (Cheyenne henchman), Paolo Figlia (Frank's henchman, auction), Stefano Imparato, Frank Leslie, Luigi Magnani, Claudio Mancini (Harmonica's brother), Umberto Marsella, Enrico Morsella, Tullio Palmieri (carpenter), Renato Pinciroli (1st auction bidder), Conrado San Martin [as Corrado Sammartin] (McBain neighbor at funeral), Enzo Santaniello (Timmy McBain), Simonetta Santaniello (Maureen McBain), Sandra Salvatori, Claudio Scarchilli (deputy ?, scenes cut), Ivan Giovanni Scratuglia [as Ivan Scratuglia], Fabio Testi (Frank's henchman, auction), Dino Zamboni (man with gun in waystation)
- Uncredited actors: Al Mulock (Knuckles, train station gunman), Luana Strode (Indian woman, train station), Ricardo Palacios (engineer), John Frederick (Jim, Frank's henchman, ranch), Michael Harvey (Frank's henchman, train), Antonio Molino Rojo (Frank's henchman, auction), Francisco Braña (Frank's henchman, auction), Don Galloway (Frank's henchman in flashback scene), Saturno Cerra (Frank's henchman, train), Lorenzo Robledo (Cheyenne henchman), Aldo Sambrell (Cheyenne henchman), Robert Spafford (railroad worker), Bill Crawley (railroad worker), Francesca Leone (girl at Flagstone station), Raffaella Leone (girl at Flagstone station), Regina Bissio (sleeping lady, waystation)
- Story: Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, Sergio Leone
- Screenplay: Sergio Leone, Sergio Donati
- Cinematography: Tonino Delli Colli (Technicolor, Techniscope 2,35:1)
- Music: Ennio Morricone
- Producer: Fulvio Morsella
- Executive producer: Bino Cicogna
- David di Donatello Awards 1969 (winner): Best production, Bino Cicogna (tie with The Girl with a Pistol)
Versions and runtimes
- Runtime: 164 min / 165 min (Paramount DVD) / 177 min (special long version, Italian DVD)
- Note: there are a myriad of different cuts of this movie, as distributors in many countries, as well as TV stations, laid hands on the material and shortened or lengthened it.
- Extensive discussion in the SWDb forums about the various cuts that exist
- Cuts comparison German Paramount DVD vs. Special Long Version at SB.com
- Release Date: December 21, 1968 (Italy), August 14, 1969 (West Germany), 2 July 1969 (USA)
- Premiere: December 20, 1968 (Rome, Italy)
- Guadix: La Calahorra - cattle corner
- Tabernas: Sweet Water - the McBain house
- Guadix: La Calahorra - Flagstone
- Monument Valley: Utah - the Posada
- Guadix: Hernan Valle - the death of Morton
Production and business
Budget: 5 million USD.
With over 13 million tickets sold, it is still the third most successful film in Germany by admission numbers. It sold even more tickets in France, and about 8 million in Italy alone. Due to the film's success, it played many years in some cities. Box office revenue in the US alone was higher than the film's budget.