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Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
"C'era una volta il West" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Western  |  21 December 1968 (Italy)
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 199,893 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 558 user | 167 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

Epic story of a mysterious stranger with a harmonica who joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Paolo Stoppa ...
Sheriff - Auctioneer
Frank Wolff ...


Story of a young woman, Mrs. McBain, who moves from New Orleans to frontier Utah, on the very edge of the American West. She arrives to find her new husband and family slaughtered, but by whom? The prime suspect, coffee-lover Cheyenne, befriends her and offers to go after the real killer, assassin gang leader Frank, in her honor. He is accompanied by Harmonica, a man already on a quest to get even. Written by DrGoodBeat / edited by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There were three men in her life. One to take her... one to love her... and one to kill her.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for western violence and brief sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

21 December 1968 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Once Upon a Time in the West  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(international) | (1970) | (theatrical)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


French actor Robert Hossein, who was a good friend of Leone's, was originally to play Morton, but due to scheduling he was unable to take the part, and Gabriele Ferzetti was cast instead. See more »


In the opening scene, Stony (Woody Strode) is drinking water from his hat. Later, when the three shooters are standing across from Harmonica, his hat is covered with dust. See more »


[first lines]
Cattle Corner Station Agent: Hey. Hey-hey-hey-hey, if you want any tickets, you'll have to go around, eh, to, eh, the front of, eh, eh... oooh, well, I s'pose it'll be all right. The hell am *I* doin' around here if they walk in and can do as they damn please?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Lionel Stander receives on screen credit in the original U.S. theatre release prints even though his part was completely cut out of this shortened version. See more »


Referenced in We Are the Strange (2007) See more »


Danny Boy
(1913) (uncredited)
Written by by Frederick Edward Weatherly
Hummed and sung a cappella a bit by Simonetta Santaniello
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Sergio Leone:I salute you
14 May 2004 | by (SYDNEY) – See all my reviews

I have recently commented on Leone's GBU and was intending on reviewing AFOD and FAFDM as well as this one - OUATITW, but after reading a number of the comments about these from all the avid fans on this great site, I will simply give you a short account of how these films have affected my life. I am 55years young and saw all these films on their first release in Sydney.(late '60's) They were cut, but it didn't stop me seeing the brilliance in them. I would imagine that a lot of the members of this site are much younger than myself and have only watched these films on DVD or TV quite recently. (Stood the test of time, eh!!) (WideScreen is a must for these.) Leone's films exhibit an idealism in art that surpassed his Hollywood models (eg: Ford). Although, at the time of creation, I doubt he would have thought he was. He simply had a vision.

From film to film he improved on this. Like most artists, I don't think he was too concerned with the financial gains that might or might not be realized.(This was probably his downfall). That these little films can impress all you younger fans so much says a lot about good taste and the sad lack of it in American films of recent times.

Great directors, like Leone, don't come along every day and it saddens me greatly to know he died before he was recognised for the genius he surely was. Morricone must be 75 now, soon we will loose him too. I am a successful composer in Australia and can tell you, without bias, that Morricone is in the top five best ever film composers just from these four films alone, if not one of the best composers in general (yes, this includes Stravinsky, Bartok, Debussy and Schoenberg.) of the 20th century. Eastwood is also reaching the end of his life and although I'm not a huge fan of his recent work, he is one of the last living greats. Without the inspirations put forth by these men, I might not still be writing and recording my music these days. Plenty of times I could have stopped when things got tough but all I had to do was revisit these gems of modern art to realise that greatness does still exhist , all you have to have is the love and desire and guts to make your visions a reality. Leone, Morricone and Eastwood: I salute you.

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Reason Frank's guys were there to kill Harmonica? DoctorKingSchultz
Repetitive and boring nickcluxton
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Sounded more like a saxophone or trumpet than a harmonica... rocknroll8484
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