America America Reviews

  • Jul 03, 2020

    Gritty tale which traces a young man's escape from the Ottoman Empire and arrival in NYC. Very well directed by Elia Kazan.

    Gritty tale which traces a young man's escape from the Ottoman Empire and arrival in NYC. Very well directed by Elia Kazan.

  • Jun 07, 2020

    This is a long film 3 hours, however the story was so compelling I didn't really notice. This is a very harrowing story with murder, deceit, suicide, political atrocities, and extreme poverty set in Turkey in the 1890s. It is not an easy film to sit thru. The main character Starvos goes thru so much treachery/hardship as he journeys and grows up he even decides not to smile anymore, as he doesn't want any "weakness" to show. As some ppl say at times the main character doesn't act very likable or is too mysterious, but honestly I thought he was pretty realistic. I also agree film should've been in color. The acting in the film is fantastic. Film makes you appreciated being born in America, as many ppl will die and have died trying to get to here despite our problems here.

    This is a long film 3 hours, however the story was so compelling I didn't really notice. This is a very harrowing story with murder, deceit, suicide, political atrocities, and extreme poverty set in Turkey in the 1890s. It is not an easy film to sit thru. The main character Starvos goes thru so much treachery/hardship as he journeys and grows up he even decides not to smile anymore, as he doesn't want any "weakness" to show. As some ppl say at times the main character doesn't act very likable or is too mysterious, but honestly I thought he was pretty realistic. I also agree film should've been in color. The acting in the film is fantastic. Film makes you appreciated being born in America, as many ppl will die and have died trying to get to here despite our problems here.

  • Jan 11, 2020

    Elia Kazan aimed to make an epic film about one young man's Odyssey that mirrored elements of his own life with this 1963 Best Picture nominee but in many ways he failed as the story he tells did not need to be stretched out to nearly three hours and there was nothing emotionally rousing about the film. I wanted so much more of the film as while the Haskell Wexler cinematography is occasionally stunning there is little to appreciate in the screenplay or performances. The people on screen never come across as real and their lack of life and vitality is frustrating as everything seems to hinge on us wanting to see them succeed and we feel only apathy for them. Young Greek Stavros Topouzoglou, Stathis Giallelis, hopes to escape from the small town he has grown up in as he and his family, Christians, are surrounded by Moslems who discriminate against them and murder them in the Hamidian massacres. His father entrusts him with all of the family's savings and sends him off to Constantinople where he will live with his distant relative Isaac, Harry Davis, who is a struggling rug salesman in need of funds. Topouzoglou is joined by the manipulative conman Hohannes Gardashian, Gregory Rozakis, who steals from him and leaves him penniless. When he meets Isaac he immediately abandons him after learning of his poor financial situation and finds himself starving and homeless. After years of hard work he has some money to his name and receives more when he agrees to an arranged marriage with a local wealthy girl, Thomna Sinnikoglou, Linda Marsh, whose father provides him with a dowry. He dashes her plans when he announces that he will be traveling to America and through connections that he had previously made he makes his way onto a ship boarded to America. The technical elements of the film must have been what really helped it to get support from the Academy as the legendary Wexler brings his skills to the photographing of the film and Elia Kazan does have an eye for small, intimate moments. Sadly I did not feel that the film stood up to Wexler's best work as films like Bound for Glory (1976) and Days of Heaven (1978) use their imagery to tell a story and add something to the setting that would not have been there without a distinct visual palette. I actually felt that the film might have been better if it had been filmed in glorious Technicolor as having watched the pretty but lacking in substance Fanny (1961) today I realized how much beautiful images can mean. That is a light, fluffy confection that does not have as much to say about politics or coming of age as this film does but it's gorgeous scenery helps to make the sweet love story at the center of it come to life with vibrancy and soul. During this film one wants to see the scrappy growth on the mountains and dark rock within the caves in color as it would add texture and dimension to the film and allow it to not feel relentlessly bleak and monotonous. It is also difficult to be invested in the film's proceedings when it's main character seems like a detestable young man rather than a plucky young individual with a certain spark in him. In an early scene he goes to his weak and frail grandmother looking for money and responds to her rejection by physically and verbally attacking her. It made me scared for her and fearful of him as if he is willing to go after his grandmother this aggressively who knows what else he is capable of. When we are then asked to accept him as a genial young fellow who is innocent as can be and are expected to feel sympathetic towards him as a man swindles him for everything he has got I lost my patience. To sit with this unlikable man for nearly three hours and not see him do anything to redeem himself and achieve an undeserved victory at the end. Kazan would have done well to include a more likable protagonist in the film that we could root for and to have used more imaginative style.

    Elia Kazan aimed to make an epic film about one young man's Odyssey that mirrored elements of his own life with this 1963 Best Picture nominee but in many ways he failed as the story he tells did not need to be stretched out to nearly three hours and there was nothing emotionally rousing about the film. I wanted so much more of the film as while the Haskell Wexler cinematography is occasionally stunning there is little to appreciate in the screenplay or performances. The people on screen never come across as real and their lack of life and vitality is frustrating as everything seems to hinge on us wanting to see them succeed and we feel only apathy for them. Young Greek Stavros Topouzoglou, Stathis Giallelis, hopes to escape from the small town he has grown up in as he and his family, Christians, are surrounded by Moslems who discriminate against them and murder them in the Hamidian massacres. His father entrusts him with all of the family's savings and sends him off to Constantinople where he will live with his distant relative Isaac, Harry Davis, who is a struggling rug salesman in need of funds. Topouzoglou is joined by the manipulative conman Hohannes Gardashian, Gregory Rozakis, who steals from him and leaves him penniless. When he meets Isaac he immediately abandons him after learning of his poor financial situation and finds himself starving and homeless. After years of hard work he has some money to his name and receives more when he agrees to an arranged marriage with a local wealthy girl, Thomna Sinnikoglou, Linda Marsh, whose father provides him with a dowry. He dashes her plans when he announces that he will be traveling to America and through connections that he had previously made he makes his way onto a ship boarded to America. The technical elements of the film must have been what really helped it to get support from the Academy as the legendary Wexler brings his skills to the photographing of the film and Elia Kazan does have an eye for small, intimate moments. Sadly I did not feel that the film stood up to Wexler's best work as films like Bound for Glory (1976) and Days of Heaven (1978) use their imagery to tell a story and add something to the setting that would not have been there without a distinct visual palette. I actually felt that the film might have been better if it had been filmed in glorious Technicolor as having watched the pretty but lacking in substance Fanny (1961) today I realized how much beautiful images can mean. That is a light, fluffy confection that does not have as much to say about politics or coming of age as this film does but it's gorgeous scenery helps to make the sweet love story at the center of it come to life with vibrancy and soul. During this film one wants to see the scrappy growth on the mountains and dark rock within the caves in color as it would add texture and dimension to the film and allow it to not feel relentlessly bleak and monotonous. It is also difficult to be invested in the film's proceedings when it's main character seems like a detestable young man rather than a plucky young individual with a certain spark in him. In an early scene he goes to his weak and frail grandmother looking for money and responds to her rejection by physically and verbally attacking her. It made me scared for her and fearful of him as if he is willing to go after his grandmother this aggressively who knows what else he is capable of. When we are then asked to accept him as a genial young fellow who is innocent as can be and are expected to feel sympathetic towards him as a man swindles him for everything he has got I lost my patience. To sit with this unlikable man for nearly three hours and not see him do anything to redeem himself and achieve an undeserved victory at the end. Kazan would have done well to include a more likable protagonist in the film that we could root for and to have used more imaginative style.

  • May 24, 2019

    Well meaning but a total drag now. Artsy in that cheap pretentious way of the time. How people ever got past the bad sound and dubbing is beyond me. Did most of these actors not speak English anyway? Some good performances though. Really poor choice as an Oscar nominee. I guess Hollywood was smitten with Kazan’s brand of patriotism and former cooperation with HUAC.

    Well meaning but a total drag now. Artsy in that cheap pretentious way of the time. How people ever got past the bad sound and dubbing is beyond me. Did most of these actors not speak English anyway? Some good performances though. Really poor choice as an Oscar nominee. I guess Hollywood was smitten with Kazan’s brand of patriotism and former cooperation with HUAC.

  • Feb 12, 2019

    Another classic. The big mistake was to rob viewers of seeing this movie in color, an extremely poor decision given that it was shot in various locations throughout the world.

    Another classic. The big mistake was to rob viewers of seeing this movie in color, an extremely poor decision given that it was shot in various locations throughout the world.

  • Sep 18, 2018

    Elia Kazan adapts his own book about his uncle, a Greek man living in Turkey who's fortunes rise and fall as he pursues his single minded devotion to moving to America. This is clearly a very personal and heartfelt project for Kazan. I don't think it's a very good movie. It's an extremely long film that still manages to spend almost no time letting us inside the head of it's main character. I know he wants to go to America because he says it almost constantly, but I don't understand why he does most of the things he does in this film. That's a fairly major problem since he's prone to making very dumb and callous decisions, and it's difficult to empathize with a man who makes seemingly inexplicable damaging decisions. It does not help that the star of the film, Stathis Giallelis, is not much of an actor. He seems to have been hired for his quiet Dean/Brando brooding demeanor, but he passes quiet and brooding at arrives at dense and impenetrable. As if to compensate for his non-performance, most of his co-stars give HUGE performances. Some of them ... John Marley in particular ... are quite good, but it gives the movie a strange, unsettling tone. Haskell Wexler's cinematography is quite beautiful, but oddly out of sync with the somewhat realistic tone of much of the film.

    Elia Kazan adapts his own book about his uncle, a Greek man living in Turkey who's fortunes rise and fall as he pursues his single minded devotion to moving to America. This is clearly a very personal and heartfelt project for Kazan. I don't think it's a very good movie. It's an extremely long film that still manages to spend almost no time letting us inside the head of it's main character. I know he wants to go to America because he says it almost constantly, but I don't understand why he does most of the things he does in this film. That's a fairly major problem since he's prone to making very dumb and callous decisions, and it's difficult to empathize with a man who makes seemingly inexplicable damaging decisions. It does not help that the star of the film, Stathis Giallelis, is not much of an actor. He seems to have been hired for his quiet Dean/Brando brooding demeanor, but he passes quiet and brooding at arrives at dense and impenetrable. As if to compensate for his non-performance, most of his co-stars give HUGE performances. Some of them ... John Marley in particular ... are quite good, but it gives the movie a strange, unsettling tone. Haskell Wexler's cinematography is quite beautiful, but oddly out of sync with the somewhat realistic tone of much of the film.

  • Jun 12, 2017

    Parece que estás viendo una obra maestra, pero a kazan se le va toda la trama de las manos en el tercer acto.

    Parece que estás viendo una obra maestra, pero a kazan se le va toda la trama de las manos en el tercer acto.

  • May 01, 2017

    An amazing heart wrenching film.

    An amazing heart wrenching film.

  • Mar 30, 2016

    A very interesting film that is comparable in scope and themes but not as powerful in performances or overall impact to Godfather Part II. And even though it is not as good as Godfather Part II it certainly lead the why for that series of films and subsequent films of the same ilk. The standout thing about this film for me was Stathis Giallelis amazing first time performance, it's suprising someone with no acting experience was able to conjure up the level of acting he portrayed here. At the end of the day the only real problem I had with the film was it's length. On a side note the cinematography is quite spectacular.

    A very interesting film that is comparable in scope and themes but not as powerful in performances or overall impact to Godfather Part II. And even though it is not as good as Godfather Part II it certainly lead the why for that series of films and subsequent films of the same ilk. The standout thing about this film for me was Stathis Giallelis amazing first time performance, it's suprising someone with no acting experience was able to conjure up the level of acting he portrayed here. At the end of the day the only real problem I had with the film was it's length. On a side note the cinematography is quite spectacular.

  • Mar 30, 2016

    Interesting biography, directed by Elia Kazan ("On the Waterfront" and "A Streetcar Named Desire"), about young man (Stathis Giallelis) in the 1890's emigrating from Greece to the United States. He has had enough of the corruption and fighting within his small town and wants to get out. The man while trying any means of departing his country, either through family, friends, acquaintances, or even enemies, and for that matter, through methods of stealing, manipulation, and lying. Generally informative, although I don't know if this corruption could compare to the current day Greece. Pretty long and also in need of restoration (made in 1963 but looks like it was made in the late 1930's, although that really doesn't matter), but still has its fascinating parts. Note: Kazan's motive for directing such a film was based on his uncle's journey during the time period from Greece to the United States.

    Interesting biography, directed by Elia Kazan ("On the Waterfront" and "A Streetcar Named Desire"), about young man (Stathis Giallelis) in the 1890's emigrating from Greece to the United States. He has had enough of the corruption and fighting within his small town and wants to get out. The man while trying any means of departing his country, either through family, friends, acquaintances, or even enemies, and for that matter, through methods of stealing, manipulation, and lying. Generally informative, although I don't know if this corruption could compare to the current day Greece. Pretty long and also in need of restoration (made in 1963 but looks like it was made in the late 1930's, although that really doesn't matter), but still has its fascinating parts. Note: Kazan's motive for directing such a film was based on his uncle's journey during the time period from Greece to the United States.