Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2011


"Once Upon A Time In The West" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton



The unholy trinity of Italian cinema--Sergio Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Dario Argento--concocted the story about a woman (Claudia Cardinale) hanging onto her land in hopes that the transcontinental railroad would reach her before a steely-eyed, black-hearted killer (Fonda) does. Meanwhile, Leone shoots his stars' faces as if they were expansive Western landscapes, and their towering bodies as if they were looming rock formations in John Ford's Monument Valley. Considered by many to be one of the best Westerns ever filmed, this movie is a must own classic for those who like their Westerns wild.


  • Paramount
  • 1968, Color, Rated PG, 2 Hr 46 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Codec: MPEG 4
  • 1080p
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale
  • Directed by Sergio Leone
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Mild
  • Language: Mild


Fonda is the steeliest blue eyed gunslinger you will ever meet, Cardinale is everyman’s dream, Robards is one tough hombe and Charles Bronson is…well, Bronson. Superb acting and wonderful cinematography make this story great to watch on the big screen or in your home cinema. The details: dirt, sweat and stubble, all just jump off the screen at you.Wonderful cinematography includes vistas from Monument Valley and stunning close-ups of faces. Much of the "dialog" of this movie is conveyed by the eyes of the characters. If you enjoyed Clint Eastwood in Fist Full of Dollars and High Plains Drifter, this movie is right up your alley.


The picture has been painstakingly remastered and looks very good, indeed. Grain is present, but gives the movie a nice film-like quality. Colors are vibrant and details are aplenty. The facial details in particular are amazing! Who would have thought to cast Fonda as a heartless villain? All the dust and sweat never looked this good in SD. The music by Morricone is beautiful, with each character having their own theme music. The sound track really adds a finishing touch to a film that is as compelling as it is entertaining. Gun shots sound like howitzers, with enough kick to get your subwoofer hopping.


Included are Opera of Violence, Wages of Sin, Something to do with Death, audio commentary, trailer in SD and photo gallery (Then and Now). Also as a side note, Paramount also throws in a cool hidden featurette in the "Extras" section of the main menu. With the commentary track highlighted, scroll to the left and a black horseshoe appears in the top right corner of the banner. When pressing "Enter" on the remote, we get a fun montage that works much like a contemporary preview for the film.