Once Upon A Time in the West

Once Upon A Time in the West


This Sergio Leone classic, a tribute to Hollywood Westerns, stars Henry Fonda as Frank, a gunslinger hired by the powerful owner of a railroad conglomerate to kill anyone who derails the project. But Frank contends with the wrong person when he murders Brett (Frank Wolff), a landowner; after his death, Brett’s wife (Claudia Cardinale) demands revenge, hiring two renegades (Charles Bronson and Jason Robards) to go after Frank.

Dove Review

Henry Fonda does something unusual in this film and that’s play a bad guy, a man who murders a family of four in cold blood: a widower-father (who waits for his new bride to arrive), his daughter and two sons. Fonda plays the villain Frank fantastically and he reminds you of someone who is meaner than a junkyard dog. Charles Bronson plays Harmonica, a man who plays his harmonica often and seems to be carrying a secret. In addition, Jason Robards plays Cheyenne, a man who winds up helping out Harmonica when he needs it. The cast is very talented and includes Claudia Cardinale as Jill McBain, the woman who was arriving for a new life with the widower McBain, only to find his corpse has been lined up with his three children.

This is a gritty and grimy western and it gets down in the dirt with realism. Unfortunately, it includes a lot of violence and a few sexual scenes which are not conducive to family viewing. There is constant drinking in the movie too. We are therefore unable to award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this film.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: None
Sex: A newly widowed woman, who was a prostitute, has sex with man; a man strips woman's blouse off and touches her breast which is covered by undergarment; man kisses woman on breast although the scene is not graphic but obvious; man pats woman's behind.
Language: H-8; D-4; A-1; S-2; B-1; G.OMG-1; SOB-1; Woman called "whore".
Violence: A lot of violence including an old man who is shot off-screen; a family of four is murdered and some blood is seen and the man who killed them was told to scare them, not kill them; bloody corpses are seen; a man grabs his son by the hair and slaps him; a fowl is shot out of the sky; four men shoot at each other and one survives; man beats up other man and blood is seen on his mouth; men shot dead off of horses; a man is shot in eye and blood is seen; other men are shot and killed; a man kicks a crippled man's cane away from him; man has noose placed on neck and is forced to stand on young man's shoulders until he tires; a man dies by hanging but it is not shown; a duel and a man is shot.
Drugs: Smoking and drinking in a lot of scenes; including the drinking of beer and whiskey; chewing tobacco.
Nudity: Cleavage; shirtless men; side of woman's breast is seen; woman taking bath and bare shoulders seen.
Other: Gambling; some men keep other men from making bids at auction; spitting tobacco.


Company: Paramount Home Entertainment
Director: Sergio Leone
Genre: Western
Runtime: 165 min.
Starring: Henry Fonda Claudia Cardinale Jason Robards Charles Bronson Gabriele Ferzetti Paolo Stoppa Woody Strode Jack Elam Keenan Wynn Frank Wolff Lionel Stander
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter