The 15 Best Scenes in The Movies of Sergio Leone

8. Noodles, I Slipped Scene

Movie: Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

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This scene takes place in 1920, when the five boys leave working for a local boss named Bugsy and start their own gang. Bugsy plans to murder them for leaving his employment. The camera follows them as they are whistling and walking through the city and by the bridge.

The youngest one Dominic is ahead of them and sees Bugsy first and they all turn around and start running, with a flute sound playing as they run. Two shots are fired and Dominic falls down. Noodles pulls him behind a car and Dominic says “Noodles, I slipped” and he dies. Noodles looses it and stabs Bugsy and a police officer that tries to pull him off.


7. The Klaus Kinski Smoker Scene

Movie: For a Few Dollars More (1965)


A somewhat unusual and comical scene featuring Kinski in a bit part, Col. Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef) is sizing up some of the members of this gang that he is bounty hunting and strikes a match on Kinski’s suspenders. He turns around looking all crazy and blows out the match, wanting to draw his gun but one of the other gang members stops him.

Mortimer then grabs Kinski’s cigar out of his mouth and uses it to light up his pipe. Kinski’s face goes half twitchy and Mortimer offers it back to him, but they all walk out. Monco (Clint Eastwood) is in the saloon the whole time watching this, it being the first time both him and Mortimer where in the same building during the film.


6. The Hat Duel Between Monco and Mortimer

Movie: For a Few Dollars More (1965)

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Both men are bounty hunters out to get the same wanted men and Monco wants him out, so he has a Chinese man gather his belongings and take them outside. There is a good camera shot between Monco’s feet as the Chinese man and then Mortimer come outside, then a close up of Monco’s face.

The next shot is of Mortimer’s boots as he steps down to the ground, with Monco fully staged to his left. They both go back and forth telling the Chinese man to leave or put back Mortimer’s belongings until he runs away in frustration. They get face to face and Monco punches him and he falls to the ground.

He then steps up and tries to pick up his hat and Monco shoots it away, this continues until his gun can’t reach the distance. Mortimer then pulls out his gun, which is a pistol with a long barrel on it like a rifle. He aims it at Monco and shoots his hat off into the air and keeps shooting it up in the air until he runs out of bullets.


5. The Opening Sequence Introducing The Ugly, The Good, and The Bad

Movie: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

the good the bad and the ugly - 1966 - the good

The longest sequence clocking in at around twenty or more minutes, but it is very important because it sets up all three characters. The opening title sequence shows black and white shots of the characters and various shots from the movie, and a cannon is fired to show each part of the title.

The first character sequence shows an extreme close up of a man and then we see two horsemen riding in town from the other side. There are various close up and cuts as all three converge on a saloon, they rush in and gun shots go off and Tuco (Eli Wallach) jumps through the window. In that moment, the film pauses with his teeth gritting and it says “the ugly” on the screen.

The Second character sequence shows a lone rider coming up to a house and a boy is getting water from a well and he runs into the house. The man steps off the horse and we get a close up of his face. He walks inside and we see the father and son down a long hallway and then it switches back to the man standing in the doorway. The wife is serving food and exits with the son. Both men sit down and eat, just staring at each other.

The lone rider asks the man some questions and then the man gives him some money and the rider says “when I’m paid I always see the job through” and shoots him and his older son. He returns to the man that had sent him for the job and gave him the information and told him that the job was done.

Then he says “almost forgot, he gave me 1000, think it was to kill you. Problem is I always follow my job through.” He puts a pillow over the man’s head and shoots him and laughs, it then pauses and says “the bad” (Lee Van Cleef) on the screen.

The third character sequence involves Tuco getting caught by three men looking to collect on a reward and Blondie (Clint Eastwood) shows up saying that he’s collecting on the reward. We get close ups of everyone’s faces and then we just see Blondie’s hand shooting his gun and everyone but Tuco going down.

Tuco smiles. Blondie takes him into town and collects a reward. Tuco’s getting his sentence read to him before he is to be hanged, right before they whip the horse Blondie shoots the whip, the rope, and several hats and Tuco gets away. They split the money and Tuco isn’t happy with his cut and says he runs the risks.

Blondie says that the cut in his money could hurt his aim. The next hanging doesn’t go so well and he has to shoot the rope several times and Blondie pulls him up on his horse. This time Blondie says their partnership is over and that he’s keeping all of the money and leaving him tied up to walk back to town. Tuco is pissed and Blondie says “such is gratitude after all the times I saved your life,” it then pauses and says “the good.”


4. The Bronson Revenge Duel with Frank

Movie: Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)


Ford and Bronson square off with the harmonica theme music blaring, featuring long sequences of them standing apart. Ford takes off his jacket, just showing his lower body to include Bronson in full view. We get a close up of Ford as the camera follows him as he is walking. Then a close up of Bronson, who doesn’t move his eyes and Fonda is looking around. Now they are face to face and the music slows down. Bronson walks closer. There is a long silence, with just the wind.

Close ups of both men and then the camera pans into Bronson eyes. We see a flashback of what happened years ago as Fonda pulls out the harmonica and says “keep your loving brother happy” and puts the harmonica in his mouth, while he’s trying to hold him on his shoulders tied in a noose.

The camera pans out to show the whole scene, then a close up of Fonda and everyone else’s face. Bronson drops to the ground and his brother is hung. Then the gun shots went off between Frank and Bronson. Frank is shot and he tries to put his gun in holster, slowly walking, and then falls. Bronson walks up and stares at him.

Frank asks “who are you?” He pulls the harmonica out and puts it in his mouth. The sound of the harmonica goes off as he breaths his last breath and falls dead. This whole scene is just absolute brilliance, made even better by Morricone’s amazing music.


3. The Mcbain Massacre and Fonda’s First Appearance

Movie: Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Frank – Once Upon a Time in The West (1968)

The Mcbain family is preparing a feast for their new mother that is coming into town today. Everything is happy and the father is concerned with them being in their best dress. The father goes to get water from the well and the daughter starts singing “Oh Danny boy” and then complete silence, close up shots of all the family. She’s smiling and then the sound of gunshots and the father sees his daughter fall down, then he gets shot followed by the older son.

The younger son runs out and the music starts to play with the harmonica theme as the boy sees them all lying dead. Close up shots of the boy. He then sees the men step out and start walking toward him at a low camera angle near their feet. Then a shot from their backs and the camera circles to reveal Henry Fonda as the leader of this gang.

There is a close up of Fonda with the harmonica music playing. One man asks “What do we do with this one frank?” Close up of Frank and he says “Now that you’ve called me by name”, he pulls his gun. The camera shows a close up of the boy, then Frank, then a close up of the gun firing. It’s a powerful scene, especially from the moment they step out from the bushes.


2. The Opening Train Sequence

Movie: Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)


Start with a slow pan up of Woody Strode from his boots to his face, with the station agent then seeing the other two gun men. The only sounds are creaking and wind. The agent tries to say something but the men look too scary to mess with. Jack Elam grabs the agent, tells him to “shh” and slams the door shut while a lady runs away.

We see Strode walk on the wooden planks getting into position. All three are waiting in different areas, Elam sitting with his hat covering his eyes. Water drips down onto Strode’s face, then his hat. One man sits at the well cracking his knuckles. Elam is disturbed by a fly and catches it in the barrel of his gun. A whistle sounds and the train comes.

Strode drinks the water from his hat and Elam lets the fly go. They all get ready and arm themselves. The train pulls in and a door opens but just a package is dropped. Close ups of their faces are all shown. They start walking together as the train pulls out; they all turn around when they hear a harmonica playing. Charles Bronson is facing the camera playing the harmonica while the three men have their backs to the camera.

Then the music starts to play. Bronson asks if Frank sent them and that they’re shy one horse. Elam says they aren’t and Bronson replies you brought two too many. They draw and Bronson guns down the three of them but is shot also and goes down, with Strode the last to fall down. All that you hear know is the sound of the windmill turning. But Bronson is still alive, shot in the shoulder.


1. The Final Duel Between Tuco, Blondie, and The Bad.

Movie: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

the good the bad the ugly

All three of them are at the cemetery and they are in a large circular stone area that is in the middle of the cemetery, they all start walking apart from each other. The sound of the trumpet music is blaring at this moment, with a wide shot where you can see all three walking to separate areas for the final duel.

At this point you should have fucking goose bumps and your hair should be standing on the back of your neck, it is truly masterful. The sounds stop and all that you hear is a crow. The series of shots then go like this; shot from each of their backs showing their view, then shots of their guns, then their faces, the super close ups, then hands near guns, more close ups.

The piano starts playing and the trumpet again, with it building tension for at least a minute we just see shots of their eyes and their guns until they draw. Bang! Tuco and Blondie shoot at the bad and he falls in a grave, Blondie then shoots his hat and gun into the grave as well. Tuco didn’t have any bullets in his gun; Blondie took them out the night before. He tells Tuco that “there are those with a loaded gun and those who dig.”

All the works cited can be found here.

Author Bio: Raul J. Vantassle is a jazz musician whose key strokes move about the page creating an explosion of formlessness to form, or just total bullshit. His heroes include John Waters, Robert Crumb, Charles Bukowski, and the Cobra Commander. His Knowledge of film goes across the board but he specializes in Asian and cult cinema. He may be the filthiest person alive. You can visit his blog here.