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A great match-up of Last Great Westerns. Peckinpah vs. Leone. If this was The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Leone would win, but here I'm going to give it to The Wild Bunch.
Two of the best westerns ever made. The WIld Bunch's insane, violent maelstrom of an ending was perfect, glorious in its chaos, but...the movie never approached the level of polish that Leone exhibits throughout his masterpiece. Rarely has dialogue been used so sparingly, and sound so effectively in a mainstream film. Plus, Bronson's never been cooler, or Fonda creepier.
The Wild Bunch for me
Henry Fonda just dominates...starting with the opening scene of the movie. Just ruthless. "Once Upon a Time" for me...
There's no disputing that Leone is a master fimmaker. That opening scene in Once Upon a Time in the West is perfect. There's no other word for it. But Peckinpah reaches so much further into the mythos of the West. Leone wants to idolize it; Peckinpah wants to tear it down.
Mr. Leone takes the nod.
Better pacing and a higher body count give the edge to Peckinpah's Magnum Opus
both excellent goodbyes to the genre, but i find more beauty and meaning in peckinpah's film
Once Upon a Time in the West encapsulated the disappearing American West better, but The Wild Bunch is still great outlaw fun. The shootouts are brilliantly choreographed and the ensemble does a solid enough job. Sergio Leone's masterpiece is better though.