The Keith & the Movies Valhalla is a place of tribute for those movies that I hold in the highest regard. These are films that embody everything that is great about motion pictures. These are the best of the best – movies that I truly love and that stand above the rest. There are many great movies that won’t find their way into these sacred halls. But here you will find those films that I believe personify brilliance in filmmaking, storytelling, and entertainment. These glorious 5 star accomplishments are worthy of special recognition as the very best. Ok, enough of the high drama! In other words, these are my favorite movies of all time, ok?
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968) – I’ve always been picky when it comes to westerns. I grew up around them but I never latched onto them. That was before Sergio Leone showed me what a western could be. His monumental work “Once Upon a Time in the West” from 1968 is hands down my favorite western. Everything from Leone’s gritty signature style and brilliant camerawork to Ennio Morricone’s entrancing score works to perfection.
There are so many memorable scenes in “Once Upon a Time in the West”. From the masterfully conceived train station opening to the intense and anticipated final showdown, the film is filled with one fantastic scene after another. And of course how can I talk about this movie and not mention the cast. A young Charles Bronson plays the mysterious stranger who everybody is trying to figure out. Jason Robards gives the best performance of his career as a scruffy bandit ringleader. Then there’s the breathtakingly beautiful Claudia Cardinale who holds her own with all the tough guys. But it’s Henry Fonda who steals the movie as one of the most detestable villains you’ll find. It’s a role unlike anything Fonda had played at the time which made his performance all the more spectacular. If you haven’t seen this film you should. If you don’t like westerns, it doesn’t matter. A great movie is a great movie and this is a great movie.
“Once Upon a Time in the West” is the fifth inductee into the Keith & the Movies Valhalla. But there are more amazing movies to come in the near future so stay tuned. What are your thoughts on this Sergio Leone classic? Is it worth the accolades it’s received or is it an overrated picture? You now know my opinion. I’d love to hear yours. Take time to share your comments below.
Shane just wrote a great review of this movie for CK’s unofficial, official Western week- http://cinekatz.com/once-upon-a-time-in-the-west-when-good-gets-bad-and-ugly-review/
Glad to see you included this one, Keith. It’s one of my favorite Westerns. I love Fonda out of his norm.
Also, very solid feature you got going. Can’t wait for more from your Vahalla ;).
Thanks man and ill be sure to check out that review. I’ve loved the film since I was a kid but it was only later that I truly appreciated how incredible it was.
Appreciate the kind words on the feature. The first inductee dated back to September of 2012 and yet we’re only at 5 movies. That’s exactly how I envisioned it and hopefully people appreciate it!
Yeah, you can’t just keep adding them left and right. Or add multiples at the same time. You gotta do one every once in awhile.
Yep. It makes it more thoughtful and legitimate.
I actually bought this on Blu Ray not too long ago but haven’t got round to watching it yet. My dad assures me it’s an absolute classic! Nice review man.
Oh it is. It’s a 5 star (or pigeon) movie all the way for me!
Nice to see this feature return Keith. Another worthy inclusion. It’s not my favourite western – that would be The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – but still a classic.
I’m a huge Good, Bad, Ugly fan as well. Who knows, maybe more about it on a later date! Hint, hint….
Great inclusion. It’s between this and Leone’s The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly as my favorite western. Sergio Leone was really the master of the genre.
You’re exactly right. As I mentioned, Leone brought westerns to life for me.
Finally got around to watching this in January while I was recovering from surgery and loved it! Yes, I was on painkillers but I’m still positive it was great.
So it’s greatness even broke through your medications? Awesome!!! LOL
This is my #1 Western as well. It had me with the icon shattering moment at the beginning of the film with Henry Fonda.
I had the fortune to watch the restored film print a few years back at the Miami Film Festival at the Olympia Theatre. Watching the original film on one of the biggest screens in Miami in an actual old-school movie palace is probably one of my personal favorite movie moments.
This film definitely belongs in Movie Valhalla.
Switching subjects, if you get some time check out my Top-5 Westerns to see if you like some of my other choices.
Awesome. Love hearing that other people really appreciate this film. I’ll definitely check out your choices.
Haven’t seen this one Keith, but have heard great things about this one. Certainly Ennio Morricone must’ve done a marvelous job w/ the score, he’s one of my fave composers.
Oh Ruth, the score for this film is stunning. If I had to list my favorites of all time this would be number two right behind The Last of the Mohicans. It’s simply glorious. I would love to read a FlixChatter review of it! 🙂
I might one day Keith! Btw, I wish I had seen this review earlier, I’d have included this on my Everybody’s Chattin’ instead of the horror movie one you did.
Ah no worries! The only thing about these Valhalla inductions is that they really aren’t full reviews. Just little quick takes. So it’s all good! 🙂
I have no complaints about this reaching Valhalla. It is an amazing film, and everyone offering praise is correct in doing so. I do think it is a little strange that the first great western in the halls is an Italian/Spanish film rather than a John Ford production. I’m glad everyone enjoys ans appreciates Leone’ s work. He is a true master. I just don’t want people to ignore the western legacy that started before Clint went to Europe. Henry Fonda starred in a few of those movies as well. His Frank would not have been so devastatingly cast if he had not been the decent guy from The Ox Bow incident, or the conflicted Frank James. Still a great choice and I look forward to future deserved inductions.
As I mentioned I am pretty picky when it comes to Westerns. But I have to say John Ford’s films usually did strike a chord with me. I wasn’t the biggest John Wayne Western fan but he had a couple that I also enjoyed as well. And speaking of Henry Fonda, how about his great role in My Name is Nobody? That’s a movie I also love!
Never saw it! I shall put it on my list….
Awesome Cindy!!! I think you’ll be very pleased! 🙂
Definitely a worthy addition – it’s only my all time favourite western!!
Awesome!!! Love hearing all the strong comments in favor of this movie.
Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the most under-rated spaghetti Westerns in my opinion! Glad to see you giving it the Valhalla induction.
It deserves induction, right? Such a phenomenal movie!
Oh absolutely, its a real winner in my opinion.
Oh hell yes. Fantastic inductee here. Saw this one for the first time a couple years ago and I was hooked from the opening scene.
It mesmerizes me anytime I turn it on. The score is one of the best in movie history and the way Sergio Leone tells the story is classic filmmaking at its best. Love it!
I’m going to have to admit that I never saw this (and also have to admit I don’t like westerns much)….
I understand where you’re coming from. I’m not the biggest western fan either. It’s ridiculous how selective I am when it comes to them.