Once Upon a Time in America Reviews

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½ June 1, 2015
I've seen it in a 220 min cut ... wonderful!
½ May 8, 2015
Classique parmi les classiques, Il était une fois en Amérique mérite totalement son titre. En effet, cette fresque, s'étalant sur 50 ans et 4h11 de temps effectif, est absolument passionnante. Très nuancé dans la caractérisation de ses personnages, tous très bien interprétés, l'ultime film de Sergio Leone possède quelques acteurs absolument fabuleux, des séquences purement dantesques et un score exceptionnel d'Ennio Morricone. Cependant, force est de constater que quelques longueurs sont à signaler et quelques pistes jamais réellement exploitées jusqu'au bout (Joe Pesci, principalement).
April 23, 2015
Highly overrated to me. I didn't like any of the characters, it was nearly 4 hours long and had a nonsensical story. Nowhere near The Godfather, Scarface, etc.
½ January 28, 2015
Sergio Leone creates an epic mafia movie that features everything you expect from it. Robert DeNiro as a gangster is always great. Also has one of the best endings in movie history.
½ March 28, 2015
One of the best films ever made - all 3 hours 40 minutes of it (don't waste your time watching a shortened version.) A great Ennio Morricone score too.
January 1, 2010
OK but not great.

Interesting story, well shot with some fine performances, especially by Robert De Niro and James Woods.

However, overly long and slow, to the point of tedium and boredom. Could easily have been edited down to two hours or so, from nearly four hours, without losing anything.

Nothing new for director Sergio Leone, however: his westerns tend to be overly drawn-out too.

Pretty lame title too. Leone was probably trying to score some points with fans of his spaghetti westerns by referencing "Once Upon a Time in the West".
February 20, 2015
Obra maestra que es imposible de dejar de ver, excelentes detalles en el montaje y fotografía de la ciudad de Nueva York, es excelente ademas en la ambientación y lo que la banda sonora te transmite.
Película que en sus 4 horas de duración nos cuenta todo lo que pasaron desde jóvenes hasta que son adultos y su forma de hacerse un lugar en la mafia, yendo por un camino en las cuales se viven momentos buenos, malos, de traición, de recuerdos, de añoranza, en fin recomendada para ver lo sublime que esta es, y todo eso lo que transmite.
½ February 20, 2015
Sergio Leone's classic portrait of the birth of 20th century urban America.
February 6, 2015
After 13 years away from directing, Sergio Leone returned to directing with this adaptation of Harry Grey's 1952 book The Hoods, and after years of focusing on the myth of the American West, Leone focused on the rise of the mobs in New York. The result is a sprawling, exhausting but utterly compelling crime drama which despite it's epic length, is the sign of a true master filmmaker at work. In the slums of Brooklyn in New York, it focuses on 4 friends who grew up together in the 1920's and into the 1930's. David "Noodles" Aaronson (Robert De Niro), Max Bercovicz (James Woods), Patrick "Patsy" Goldberg (James Hayden) and Phillip "Cockeye" Stein (William Forsythe), who went from small time robberies to bootlegging during the Prohibition. Noodles spent nearly a decade in prison for avenging the death of a friend at the hands of Bugsy (James Russo). But after the Prohibition is repealed, it gives the gang very little to do, until the gang suggest robbing a bank, but Noodles soon has second thoughts and has to make a dramatic decision. It's a shame Leone spent so long between A Fistful of Dynamite (1971) and this, he had so many great ideas for films, but he relinquished his ideas to other directors, but he saved the best ones for himself, like this one, which trumps The Godfather trilogy. Leone was left heartbroken when his cut was butchered in America, he never directed again.
½ January 23, 2015
As with his Once Upon a Time in the West and Good, Bad and the Ugly...Master filmaker, Sergio Leone, mounts a huge sprawling unweildy epic of violence, bad guys and anti-heros. Don't miss it...
June 26, 2013
What a breathtaking and powerful tale of friendship, greed, betrayal and revenge. Once upon a time in America is 3 hour 51 mins long timeless epic and one of the greatest crime drama ever made right there with The Godfather, Scarface and Goodfellas. Exceptional performance all around from everyone especially from young actors.
January 12, 2015
There is a kind of films that no matter how short they are, they still infuriate the audience every single minute. And there is another kind of films that no matter how long they are, they still glue the audience to their seats without any desire to get up. Ironically enough, "Once upon a Time in America" encompasses both kinds - the heavily (and criminally) edited version by the ignorant and stupid Hollywood executives is the pinnacle of the first kind, whereas the original, 4-hour plus version by Sergio Leone himself is one of the most beautiful, heart-breaking, masterfully epic film I have ever seen in my life. Yes, in my life. What in the world did I think drifting around watching crappy films while hesitating to watch this film "due to its length"? Some people consider this film a Sergio Leone's "The Godfather", I myself also think that in the depiction of the criminal underworld and the broken "American dream", this film can be considered a sentimental and nostalgic "The Godfather". But in fact the two films are quite different. "The Godfather" is a bridge connecting the old, and classic, Hollywood, to the "New Hollywood" that is absolutely innovative and modern despite its classical storyline. On the other hand, "Once upon a Time in America" has a non-linear storylines and more progressive feeling but is in fact a profoundly classical treatment of characters and tells the eternal tale of friendship, love, hatred, loyalty, betrayal - the thematic subjects that have been told in Shakespearean plays and even before that. As such, watching the film was really an overwhelmed experience to me. The film is a complex web of storylines and characters, but they are all wonderfully depicted through a very, very well-told plot that makes the audience cherish every single minute passing by. Every detail of the film fascinates me profoundly, from the nostalgic setting of an ever-changing New York City, to the pure beauty of the characters in their young appearance (I have admired Jennifer Connelly for a long time, but I have never known that she was such an angel in young ages!), to the heart-breaking love story between Noodles and Deborah, the friendship of the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse", everything. [SPOILER ALERT!] And the final revelation that everything, everything, everything in the film is just opiated dream of Noodles (before he was killed by the henchmen, I suppose) - an "once upon a time in America" tale that he told himself to soothe the pains inflicted by a broken dream, a broken love story, a broken friendship. Maybe this interpretation is purely my speculation, but it will probably my view of this film forever. This film made me so overwhelmed, really. My oh my.
Super Reviewer
July 10, 2009
There are many quality classic movies i have missed over the years and this flick i had only heard of briefly before and im glad i finally watch it. Its directed by the great Sergio Leone and this is a crime drama "mafia" style flick. A genre i love very much and with a cast like Robert De Niro , James Woods , Joe Pesci and William Forsythe to name a few its almost impossible to fail. All of them belongs in this type of movies and its a pleasure to watch indeed. The story is on top level and follows a few gangsters over a time period from early 1900 to 1960 in a typical gangster city ,, New York City. Its very similar to the Godfather trilogy and its almost in pair with those movies i would say. The story is very interesting and exciting all the way. Its almost 4 hours long but i had a blast the whole time altho some parts may be slow and it could have been a few more crime/action scenes but i was pleased in the end and Leone truly can master this genre aswell. Sit back and enjoy !
December 28, 2014
long 4 hours movie but wow! SO underrated that I could cry. Almost as good as the Godfather, It might even be. in Some ways it is.
December 14, 2014
Once Upon a Time in America is a perfectly crafted masterpiece by Sergio Leone which covers the lives of four Jewish boys in New York City. The film covers from the 1920's right up until the 1960's, the long period of time covered is well put together into three sections, the 1920's, the 30's and then the 60's. The film really captures the period it is set in and the location with one hundred percent accuracy, which enhances the experience a great deal. The acting I felt was just superb, not one actor/actress in the movie did a bad job in their roles, beside being what I feel is De Niro's best performance, James Woods really stands out in the film, the two both give fantastically emotionally fuelled performances which should have easily been an oscar nomination for best actor of that year. Although many avoid the film because of it's running time, I felt this was a great bonus, it would have been a crime if the film was only one and a half to two hours long, as every second of the film is jaw droppingly impressive. The newly released Extended-Director's Cut is something I need to see, this extended cut adds an additional twenty two minutes to the two hundred and twenty-nine minute running time. I cannot understand why the film didn't pick up any wins or nominations for that matter, the only reasons I can put it down to is the cut made for cinema, in cinemas at the time of it's release, the film had to be trimmed down to one hundred and thirty-nine minutes which meant viewers weren't seeing the finished product. Even in the 229 minute version there are still some scenes which I feel were scrapped, the main one is when Joe Pesci's character walks into a hospital and presses an elevator button, then the scene cuts, I feel that there is even more of the movie we are not seeing which is a great shame.The movie isn't your average gangster flick, this is a film based around tormented souls, relationships, love, greed , betrayal and power that has such lasting resonance. The film does leave us with some unanswered questions, whether max did throw himself into the garbage shredder or whether the whole 1960's sequence was just an opium dream. The one thing that is certain is that this film is a triumph of cinema. 5/5
July 23, 2013
Sergio Leone's gangster epic Once Upon A Time In America, which was unfortunately his last movie, is four of the finest hours of film I have ever had to privilege to watch.
November 29, 2014
Classic... I remembering seeing this film when I was just a young pup & was so mesmerized by the scenery & the acting... was a huge DeNiro fan at an extremely early age.
June 8, 2007
Another classic from Sergio Leone! Restored 4 h 11 min version is even better
November 22, 2014
The best movie ever made.Dot.
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2007
It's gorgeously epic, it's 4 hours long, and the lead character is a murderer and rapist. It's a tough one to love.
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