Jun 232024

Once Upon a Time in the West is a classic western for good reason and features great performances from all involved, but especially Henry Fonda, Jason Robards and Charles Bronson.



Once Upon a Time in the West
— Paramount Presents #44 —

Genre(s): Western, Suspense/Thriller
Paramount | NR – 165 min. – $39.99 | May 14, 2024

Date Published: 06/23/2024 | Author: The Movieman

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Directed by: Sergio Leone
Writer(s): Sergio Donati & Sergio Leone (screenplay), Dario Argento & Bernardo Bertolucci & Sergio Leone (story)
Cast: Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson

Features: Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Gallery, Theatrical Trailer
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2

Audio (4K/BD): English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 2.35
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Dynamic Range: HDR10
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

Paramount provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

Note: The screen captures were taken from the included Blu-ray disc.

THE MOVIE — 4½/5

Plot Synopsis: There’s a single piece of land around Flagstone with water on it, and rail baron Morton (GABRIELE FERZETTI) aims to have it, knowing the new railroad will have to stop there. He sends his henchman Frank (HENRY FONDA) to scare the land’s owner, McBain, but Frank kills him and pins it on a known bandit, Cheyenne (JASON ROBARDS). Meanwhile, a mysterious gunslinger with a score to settle (CHARLES BRONSON) and McBain’s new wife, Jill (CLAUDIA CARDINALE), arrive in town.

Review: Despite owning Once Upon a Time in the West on DVD for many years, I never got around to watching it, likely because generally westerns aren’t my go-to for a random movie viewing. Although westerns aren’t my thing, a few stand out including The Dollars Trilogy, Magnificent Seven and Unforgiven, these were amazing films and now I can add Once Upon a Time in the West. This is just an all-around incredible western-thriller featuring four prominent performances from screen legends Henry Fonda (playing a amazing villain), Jason Robards and Charles Bronson in one of his first starring roles and showcases his versatility. Robards in particular was great in every scene and now I can see why Quentin Tarantino cast him in a small role in Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, which shares a common theme, something that makes me appreciate Tarantino’s love letter to Hollywood a bit better.

The film was directed by the legendary Sergio Leone who helmed the previously mentioned Dollars Trilogy and every frame, from cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli, reuniting with Leone having worked on The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly together. The sound design is also a highlight from the very first — and lengthy — opening sequence which sets up some great tension even with only ambient sounds. It’s perhaps one of the best opening sequences I’ve come across in quite some time, and funny enough, following characters who are at the end of the sequence, gunned down, they’re not even main or recurring characters.

Overall, Once Upon a Time in the West is a great western and belongs alongside other Segrio Leone’s classics and well worth checking out as I wish I had years ago.



This release is part of the “Paramount Presents” line (#44) and comes with a glossy slip cover with the front over opening up to show the movie’s original poster artwork. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. The 4K Ultra HD disc only contains the movie while all the features are on the Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentaries:

  • Film Directors John Carpenter, John Milius & Alex Cox, Film Historians Sir Christophe Frayling & Dr. Sheldon Hall, and Actress Claudia Cardinale
  • The Hosts of “The Spaghetti Western Podcast”


  • A Look Back with Leonard Maltin (5:32) is a new interview with Maltin discussing the importance of the movie.
  • An Opera of Violence (28:50), The Wages of Sin (19:38), Something to do With Death (18:20) are a three-part series looking at Sergio Leone’s career and legacy.
  • Railroad: Revolutionizing the West (6:22) delves into what the expansion of the railroad to the American west landscape.
  • Locations Then & Now (4:30) takes viewers to the filming locations, via photographs, and what they look like now decades later.

Production Gallery (5:18)

Theatrical Trailer (2:54)


4K VIDEO – 4¾/5, BLU-RAY VIDEO – 4½/5

Paramount released Once Upon a Time in the West onto 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray where it’s presented with a 2160p and 1080p high-definition transfers, respectively. This is a quite good looking picture, which was culled from original camera negative (and “scrutinized and signed off by Martin Scorsese), detail is nicely sharp throughout and colors have good balance and in keeping with the era this was shot and showcasing the western setting with more earthy tones. There were no noticeable signs of artifacts or aliasing, not to mention dust marks, scratches or other damage to the transfer.

AUDIO – 4½/5

There are two choices for the English language track, one is the default DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and the other Dolby Digital Mono. The former is how I watched the movie and as such it’s a solid lossless track featuring clear dialogue levels and some good depth for the various gun fight scenes alongside the amazing score from the iconic Ennio Morricone.

OVERALL — 4½/5

Once Upon a Time in the West is a classic western for good reason and features great performances from all involved, but especially Henry Fonda, Jason Robards and Charles Bronson. This 4K Ultra HD release as part of the Paramount Presents line has a good selection of bonus material and the transfer is excellent.



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