Once Upon a Time in America - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Once Upon a Time in America Reviews

Page 1 of 200
July 22, 2017
Once Upon a Time in America is easily to me, the third greatest movie of all time, only behind The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II. Everything about it from Sergio Leone, Robert De Niro, James Woods, Ennio Morricone, the story, the characters, the shots/visuals, and the score alone makes me want to become a filmmaker.? The Critics Consensus says it all about this movie. Most definitely deserves a higher rating than 88%!
Super Reviewer
½ July 20, 2017
21/7/2017 - Started off great, but some questionable plot choices later on ensure this gangster film falls well short of being a masterpiece.
July 12, 2017
To the 80s what "The Godfather" was to the 70s and "Goodfellas" to the 90s, Sergio Leone's 4-hour director's cut of this Jewish gangster epic towers over other crime dramas with its grandeur scope and aesthetic significance.
July 3, 2017
One of the greatest films ever made. James Wood and Deniro are fabulous. Great cast which tells a story of loyalty and regret.
½ July 1, 2017
"A movie equals a whole life of a man", which is said by myself, and I reckon this should be the best description of Once Upon a Time in America. Bunches of gangster movies out there, ranging different levels from head-to-toe fighting views, the amount can be too countless to figure, to some masterpieces such as The Godfather and Goodfellas, barely deserve this praise, even though they are indeed tremendous. This movie, however, perfectly fits.

Lasting 251-minute long, which probably scares out of some audience from the very beginning in that regard. But just like tasting a bottle of liquor that has been preserved for decades, sipping it goes a longer way than normally drinking it. Begin with a scene in a small hotel, A wedge shaped like a human, a hooker shot by some gangsters who tried to pry into some information about someone else from her mouth but failed, you probably already got confused, this is exactly the best part of this film. The director, Sergio Leone, known as the trailblazer of horse opera, somehow did not follow the drills which he used to shot Once Upon A Time in the West: follow the timeline. The whole movie was cut into pieces, which is not a typical narration kind, he stuck oodles into the film, on top of which made spectators feel that not only one thing being told through the whole movie, The truth is, on the contrary, all clues lead to the leading role: Noodles, who was always loyal to his friend, at least the way he judged whoever as his pal, and was always loyal to his beloved girl, at last got screwed by all of them. He stuck to his own principles, which made him live and get away clean, but also drove him to poorer and sad.

Noodles, grow up in Brooklyn in 1900s, had not ever count on some love from parents, he had no aspiration, only concentrated on some unprofessional gangster activities which are the usual routines of mobs: collecting protection fees, smashing the part of one shop if the owner of it refuse to pay, and of course, hiding in a toilet to peeped the silhouette of that girl whom he yearned for, day in and day out, something like that. At that point, Max, a guy who almost changed the whole life of Noodles, showed up for the first time in front of Brooklyn Bridge, the landmark of New York city, where the childhood memory was left forever, also can be considered the great symbol of that real friendship of these "little goodfellas". Max is by no means a guy who always wanted to be a street mob, he had his own plan for his life, a selfish but fantastic dream, which came true from the mid-part of this movie: running a casino, flirting with some politicians and successfully grabbed them in his palm, betraying all his partners in order to control the whole kingdom made by them, to name a few, which he did great, leaving noodles regret for Max' death (false one) given the phone call to the police intrigued by Max. Noodles, still chose to hold faith to that dead body was Max for mathematical certainty, or maybe it was just his way to mourn the long gone friendship. Deborah, Noodles' s beloved girl, as it was mentioned before, gave up her love for her own business, married Max and even born him a son, all of which later on are found by Noodles but what can he do except accepting it and burring inside his heart. This is how the whole society works, some people are always for powers while others trust friendship and love, it is just a matter of our own choice. Neither way did pan out till the last, but I really can not figure out what was the right thing to do, just like the title, maybe it is to certain extent a "once upon a time" in America.

Our emotion is successfully influenced by that bravo background music, one theme can be made into different tunes, seamlessly matches the upcoming events as well as what we are watching. Life is a melody, up and down, vicissitudes always exist, just like we all have our past, our story, like this one, as it happened in America, from pre Word War 2 to abolish of 18th amendment.

By the way, those executives of Warner Bros. Pictures must regret for what they did to the movie back then, if some of them still are in charge, for sure.
June 14, 2017
Just like the review said, I was put off by the violence, and unlikable characters.
June 12, 2017
170612@Netflix. 251 min version
June 12, 2017
Even if its conclusion is not as powerful as the rest of the film, the tone, characters, performances, along neat direction and carefully constructed script makes it all for a giant piece of cinematographic experience, combining the best elements from the genre, such as atmosphere, score and stylish settings, becoming a worthy career retirement entry for director Sergio Leone.
April 26, 2017
Long and confusing gangster classic similar to the godfather
½ April 23, 2017
We've got the 229 minutes version!!
April 9, 2017
Best film you'll ever watch in your life fact
March 29, 2017
A masterpiece by a master of his craft. Sergio Leone passed up The Godfather for this labor of love. It ended up being his last movie, seeing as he stepped away from making them for a bit. The studio butchered this movie for an American edit that ditched its intended story telling method as well as cutting the movie in half! Luckily most of it has been restored and it is beautiful with one of the finest movie scores ever composed. An epic of epic proportions!
March 20, 2017
Leone's sprawling epic is an operatic masterpiece. Such an immense film yet so few words to do it justice.
March 6, 2017
There's a high quality movie here. You just have to comb through a lot runtime to find it. The scope is just far too large.
½ March 2, 2017
Best movie from Leone, and one of the best Gangster film of all time alongside The Godfather Part I/II and Goodfellas.
½ February 19, 2017
170219: Much like its predecessors, Once Upon a Time in American moves at a similar pace, and is scored much like the prior two films in Sergio Leone's alleged second "trilogy" (Once Upon a Time in the West and Duck, You Sucker). The 229 minute European release I watched however was interrupted with spurts of often frenzied, violent action. The story of these gangster boys growing to be men captured me and I had little difficulty seeing such a long film through. There are no shortage of stars held within this film including Robert De Niro, James Wood and Danny Aiello. I found at least one scene uncomfortable so be warned, this film gets harsh at times. Intrigued to see what is missing from the Director's Cut vs what they did for American audiences in trimming the story to 139 minutes. I'm thinking the shortened version might play better to a younger audience.
February 6, 2017
Full disclosure: I watched this SUPER late, was getting very sleepy, and very much felt like this could've been shorter (cut down on extended nothing shots, people staring at each other). Still, as possibly the most intensely difficult mafia movie I've ever seen, it's also among the most beautiful. The poetic cinematography, the lavish yet tasteful set design, the stunning violence, the insane makeup. An epic gangster film (like a less-fun "Goodfellas") about how NOT to treat our brokenness.
January 25, 2017
One of the most important films in Cinema. It is a lesson on life, a beautiful and heart-wrenching journey through the American dream.
January 8, 2017
Truly remarkable movie: Its lenght and graphic scenes might put off some viewers but watching the uncut version is worth it. This odissey of a young gangster (played by Robert de Niro) and his friends is never boring or dull despite its four hours lenght. Everything is flawless: the faultless perfromances, the recreation of life in New York during the 20s, the impeccable direction with outstanding cinematography and transitions, not to mention the legendary and emotional soundtrack by Ennio Morricone, and the incredible screenplay that touches on so many topics, Sadly underappreciated movie, that is nevertheless a nostalgic and epic masterpiece.
December 31, 2016
Not 2hr.24min but 3hr.40 minutes ! Way Way to long ...the first hour almost nothing happens ......then a bit interesting . It's just way to long for just a fine story...not a great story . Without De Niro i never wood have watched this ! SOMDVD
Page 1 of 200