On set, Leone relied for atmosphere upon tapes of Ennio Morricone’s main musical themes, which, this time, had all been written, performed and recorded in advance: ‘Everyone acted with the music, followed its rhythm, and suffered with its “aggravating” qualities, which grind the nerves.’
I don’t want to see any more Westerns. This one is the very end, the end of a craft. This one is deadly . . . Leone’s film is completely indifferent towards itself. All it shows the unconcerned viewer is the luxury that enabled it to be made
In Leone’s hands, capitalism itself becomes a mythic force, as much a part of the landscape (it’s embodied here by the building of a railroad across the desert) as the horses or mountain ranges. In criticizing the myth — in filling in the economic relationships American westerns have skipped over —Leone expands and enriches it, which is what the best criticism does.
Once Upon a Time in the West is Sergio Leone’s most American Western, but it is still dominantly and paradoxically European in spirit, at one and the same time Christian and Marxist, despairing and exultant, nihilistic and regenerative.
by Richard T. Jameson Early in 1967. United Artists undertook a massive publicity campaign to sell the country on a recent acquisition that had broken box-office records in its native Italy and might, just might do the same in the States. After all, its inspiration was American—what more American than [...]
L’amplificazione dei ritmi e delle pause trova in C'era una volta il West la sua massima celebrazione e ragion d'essere. Saggio di Roberto Pugliese
Sergio Leone's film Once Upon a Time in the West set out to be the ultimate Western―a celebration of the power of classic Hollywood cinema, a meditation on the making of America and a lament for the decline of one of the most cherished film genres in the form of a "dance of death."