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YMMV: Once Upon a Time in the West

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Frank is certainly nuanced for a sociopathic murderer; is Frank serious about his desire to transition into a genteel retirement? Does he finally understand that money is more powerful than guns? Does Frank genuinely respect Morton for his determination and business acumen or is only hiding his contempt for a man who is more powerful than him despite being weaker? When Morton is dying, Frank at the last moment chooses not to finish him with a bullet... is Frank taking delight at watching the man crawling like a worm or is Frank allowing him to reach a puddle, a stand in for his beloved Pacific ocean? The final conversation with Harmonica suggests that he'll never outgrow the bandito mentality: "Not a businessman, just a man."
  • Complete Monster: Frank is a former bandit turned enforcer for the railroad company. During the film's opening sequence, he and his men gun down the McBain family, with Frank shooting down the last survivor, a small boy, himself, before nailing a duster to the door so that local bandito chief Cheyenne will be blamed for the crime. When he reports to his boss, Mr. Morton, Morton says that he only wanted the McBains scared. Frank's response? "People scare better when they're dying." And that's just the first part of the movie! No reason is ever given for his actions, and Frank has ultimately gone down in film history as one of the most vicious villains of his era.
  • Creepy Awesome: Frank.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: It's Morricone, so this might be a given, but "The Man With A Harmonica" has got to be one of the most badass film cues of all time.
  • Evil Is Cool: Frank fits very well to the trope. Its a combination of Bad Ass, Professional Killer, Deadpan Snarker and his suit practically makes him a cool villain. The fact that he's played by Henry Fonda certainly helps.
  • Funny Moments: Has its own page.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Morton's certainly a villain, but ultimately it's hard not to feel sorry for him. He just wants to get his railroad built before dying... even if it requires Frank's help. His tragic death scene certainly helps.
  • Love to Hate: Frank has a large fanbase, and is easily one of the most memorable characters in the film.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Frank crosses this in his very first scene, killing a little kid. Yes, Frank is pretty vile.
  • Tear Jerker:Has its own page.
  • Vindicated by History: The film received mixed and very mild reviews from critics when it was first screened, and, financially speaking, it only barely recovered its budget. This result was encouraged by the twenty-or-so minutes worth of footage (including the tavern scene between Harmonica and Cheyenne, and Cheyenne's death sequence) cut from the film's original release. Today, it is regarded as one of the greatest Westerns ever made (in the category of The Searchers and Stagecoach), and it holds a 98% on its Rotten Tomatoes profile.
  • The Woobie: Jill.