A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad. Once Upon a Time in the West is a 1968 epic Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone. It stars Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, and Jason Robards.
Spaghetti Western is a subgenre of famous Western films. These films follow the cowboy, guns-and-sand themes of western movies but are typically produced and directed by Italians and were mostly released in that language.
Did you know that the film considered as the first Spaghetti Western is not really western, and not even remotely related to the famous Italian cuisine? Incredibly, it is the 1961 Japanese samurai film titled Yojimbo that is regarded as the father of the quirkily-named subgenre. First of all, the film is in Japanese and saw no Italian involved in production. It also did not involve any cowboys, guns, and spaghetti. It is only considered as such since its story, settings, music, and other elements influenced the making of Spaghetti Westerns, particularly the scene where the main protagonist of the film was shot in the middle of a wide frame, with rising smoke and dirty buildings to emphasize his heroic presence.
Speaking of heroic presence, among the most famous Spaghetti Western actors is Clint Eastwood, who basically stood as the icon of masculinity in his cowboy image as the Man with No Name in the Dollars Trilogy. The series of three western films were initially released in Europe but were later shown in the US as well. Aside from catapulting Eastwood to stardom, the movies also made the actor incredibly wealthy. He reportedly earned more than $15,000 in just the first film, along with a Mercedes car, and it was also rumored that he received $250,000 (the same as the film’s budget) and a new Ferrari for the last film.
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