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.