C’era una volta il West (Once Upon a Time in the West)
1968
*****
Director: Sergio Leone
Cast: Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, Gabriele Ferzetti, Paolo Stoppa, Woody Strode

The Dollars Trilogy films were cool and refreshingly subversive, but pure escapism. Sergio Leone’s masterpiece takes a more somber look at how the west was conquered. The railroad usually brings hope and prosperity to the frontier, but this time it is the source of all evil. A gunman hired by the railroad company makes a widow of a landowner’s new bride and lays the blame for the killing on a known bandit. At the same time a mysterious loner has come to settle an old score with the real killer. Leone has taken elements of every Western that ever influenced him and applied his slow pacing and stylised visuals to create something breathtakingly original and purely cinematic. However, all of his images would be only half as effective without Ennio Morricone’s majestic score. When the first chords hit you 15 minutes into the film, you have one of the finest moments in cinema history. The original story was conceived by Leone, Dario Argento and Bernardo Bertolucci.