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YMMV: Once Upon a Time in the West
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: When Harmonica and Jill meet for the first time alone in a barn, he rips her dress and pushes her to the ground... but that's about it. It isn't explained why he would do this and it is never mentioned again.
    • Subverted when it's made clear he's trying to distract Frank's men by having them eat the eye candy. See the main page for details.
  • 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.
  • Foe Yay/No Yay: Frank's sexual behavior with Jill.
  • Funny Moments: While the film is far more serious than the Dollars Trilogy, constant sarcasm from Harmonica and Frank occasionally crosses the line into hilarious.
    Frank: How can you trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders? The man can't even trust his own pants.
    • Some scenes in the 11 minute intro, probably an intentional example.
      • This little gem:
    Harmonica: The reward for this man is 5000 dollars, is that right?
    Cheyenne: Judas was satisfied with 4,970 dollars less.
    Harmonica: There were no dollars in them days.
    Cheyenne: But sons-of-bitches? Yeah.
  • 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.
  • Love Triangle: Very Subtle. Over the course of the film, Cheyenne gets a bit of a soft spot for Jill. Who in turn develops one for Harmonica. Harmonica's feelings are unsaid and he moves on at the end of the film.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Frank crosses this in his very first scene, killing a little kid. Yes, Frank is pretty vile.
  • Playing Against Type: Henry Fonda. Although he had played villains before, he was well established as a leading man, not a heavy. Furthermore, Frank is on a totally different level of evil than any other character he had played before. Ben Mankiewicz remarked on TCM that casting him as the villain hurt the box office, because viewers, especially Americans, thought he was too creepy.
  • Tear Jerker: Frank killing off Jill's nice new family. Especially because she doesn't know, and is looking forward to her new life. She's understandably horrified when she arrives.
    • The death of Cheyenne.
    "Hey, Harmonica. When they do you in, pray it's somebody who knows where to shoot."
    • The death of Mr. Morton. The sight of it is tragic enough, even more so if you knew what he wanted to do before his death.
  • 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 widely regarded as the greatest Western ever made (though, factually speaking, it competes with The Searchers and Stage Coach), and it holds a 98% on its Rotten Tomatoes profile.
  • The Woobie: Jill.

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