December 2023 / ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST

The Film Foundation Restoration Screening Room Resource Guide for

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (dir. Sergio Leone, 1968)

Presented in The Film Foundation Restoration Screening Room in December 2023
in partnership with Paramount Pictures. 


Table of Contents

1) Film Description 

2) Special Features

-Alex Gibney Interview

3) EXPLORE Page Materials

-Martin Scorsese Writes About His Experience with ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST

-Video Extras

-Reading List (Books)

-Reading List (Online)

-The Film Foundation on Letterboxd

4) Live Screening Commentary Script


ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, Sergio Leone’s masterful reinvention of the Western genre, is the riveting story of two mysterious strangers (Jason Robards and Charles Bronson) joining forces to defend a widow (Claudia Cardinale) after a sinister hired gun (Henry Fonda) murders her family in a bid to grab land for the railroad. Fonda is cast radically against type as the darkest of villains, and unlike the well-groomed characters depicted in traditional Westerns, the inhabitants of Leone’s frontier are dusty, sweaty, and grimy. Frame-filling close-ups linger on nuances of facial expression, which communicate as effectively as any dialogue might. Leone brings the stylistic reinterpretations found in his low-budget European “spaghetti Westerns” to a quintessentially American movie location—John Ford’s favorite, Monument Valley. This quietly powerful film goes beyond a reiteration of cinematic clichés, ultimately creating a deeply emotional exploration of the Western genre’s mythologies. 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST was restored using the original Techniscope negative. Audio for both the Italian and English soundtracks was restored from magnetic master tracks.

Restored by Paramount Pictures and Sergio Leone Productions with support from The Film Foundation and Cinema per Roma Foundation.


Alex Gibney Interview


 


ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)

Martin Scorsese Writes About His Experience with ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)

Video Extras

Henry Fonda on His Opening Scene In Once Upon a Time in the West | The Dick Cavett Show via YouTube

Sergio Leone interview on Clint Eastwood and the Dollars Trilogy 1977 via YouTube

Claudia Cardinale, L’indomabile, The Indomitable | Italics via YouTube

Charles Bronson on Jumping Onto Freights In His Youth | The Dick Cavett Show via YouTube

What's My Line? - Jason Robards via YouTube

Ennio Morricone -- BBC2 Documentary via YouTube

Sergio Leone- the way I see things a documentary movie By Giulio Reale via YouTube

 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)

READING LIST (BOOKS)

Once Upon a Time in the West: Shooting a Masterpiece, Christopher Frayling, Reel Art Press, 2019

Sergio Leone: Cinema as Political Fable, Christian Uva, Oxford University Press, 2020

Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone, Christopher Frayling, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006

The Films of Sergio Leone, Robert Cumbow, Scarecrow Press, 2008

Art of Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West: A Critical Appreciation, John Fawell, McFarland and Co., 2005

Composing for the Cinema: The Theory and Praxis of Music in Film, Ennio Morricone, Scarecrow Press, 2013

Ennio Morricone: In His Own Words, Alessandro de Rosa (Editor), Oxford University Press, 2019

 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)

READING LIST (ONLINE)

"Beyond the Western: The Staggering Range of Ennio Morricone," by Nate Chinen for The Criterion Current

"Jack Elam and the Fly in Once Upon a Time in the West," by Richard Raskin for p.o.v,: A Danish Journal of Film Studies

"Review: Once Upon a Time in the West," by Roger Ebert for The Chicago Sun-Times

 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)

THE FILM FOUNDATION ON LETTERBOXD

Score by Ennio Morricone

Starring Charles Bronson

Starring Claudia Cardinale

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968)