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In hindsight, Sergio Leone’s earlier Westerns were mere warm-ups for this sprawling, operatic, epic about a mysterious stranger (Charles Bronson) and an ageing gunfighter (Jason Robards) joining forces to protect a widow (Claudia Cardinale) and her land from a gun-for-hire (Henry Fonda) and his gang of assassins who work for the railroad as it expands across the West.
It’s got everything – achingly beautiful music from the maestro Ennio Morricone; widescreen cinematography from Tonino Delli Colli; scriptwriters Bernardo Bertolucci, Dario Argento and Leone; perhaps the best pre-titles sequence ever made; Henry Fonda playing against type as a ruthless, vicious killer; and a story with all the frontier justice, frontier love, simmering revenge and lawless power you could wish for. A sumptuous, elegiac closing of an era.
The new 4K restoration includes scenes that were deleted for its first release.
“Long live Leone’s timeless monument to the death of the West itself…Critical tools needed are eyes and ears. This is Cinema.”
Introduced by Jane Mills, filmmaker, critic, Hon. Associate Professor, School of the Arts and Media, University of New South Wales
To read Adrian Danks illuminating program notes on Sergio Leone, Italian Westerns and one of the greatest epic stories ever filmed, click here.
Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Charles Bronson, Jason Robards
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