Once Upon A Time in America

Once Upon A Time in America

DVD - 2011
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The saga of five young men growing up in Brooklyn who become powerful mob figures.
Publisher: Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, [2011]
Edition: Two-disc special ed.
ISBN: 9780780666443
0780666445
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (229 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.

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p
Peabo1
Jun 07, 2017

This was a very disappointing movie. Thought it would be good given the line up of actors. Starts out with blood and gore, vivid sex scenes and blantoned drug use. Didn't even make it through first half hour. Just not my type of movie.

t
thejasonholland
May 16, 2017

I wanted to like this movie as it had so many talents (Leone, Morricone, De Niro) under one roof, but in the end I cannot recommend it. There's a great 90-minute version inside this somewhere, but they just couldn't let it happen. Leone seems to be stretching out the story way past where I stopped caring. I really think he somehow forgot to give the audience details to make us care about any of the characters. Many of the background characters end up being more intriguing than the main ones.

My real issue with this version is the chronology. They spend the first forty minutes jumping around in time without giving us any clue to what exactly happened and why Old Man Noodles is puttering around the city. Once the story begins, we then have to sit through a bunch of expository dialogue where they constantly repeat things that we already know.

But, most of all (spoilers) I cannot comprehend why we are forced to watch the main character rape his love interest. I know the rest of the movie is determined by this decision, but he was starting to be sympathetic as a character and then we watch a horrific scene that makes us hate him. And then we are expected to follow him around the rest of the movie. It was off-putting and unjustified to have that happen. The rest of the movie goes down-hill from there. When they are re-united later as elderly people (oddly though, De Niro is made up to look like an old man and Elizabeth McGovern still looks like she's twenty even though they are supposed to be same age) it is unbearable to watch, note only because I wanted her to stab him, but because it is so uneventful and boring and pure exposition to catch the audience up to what happened in the last thirty years.

The best parts were all of the scenes that happened while the characters were children and starting out. It felt like an early Fellini movie set in America instead of Italy. Those scenes almost feel out of place with the rest of the movie in tone and timing. Had that part of the story been fleshed out and everything in the "thirty years later" been cut, I feel like the movie would have succeeded.

c
Calvacade
May 08, 2017

Available now in its four-hour director's cut, Leone's supreme masterpiece is a magnificent epic - superbly directed, full of fantastic performances and with a beautiful story of friendship and betrayal that culminates in a profoundly moving, achingly sad ending.

t
TheSandoz
May 08, 2017

A tale of haunting introspection, unremitting power and potent symbolism. "America" ruminates on the corrosive effects of greed, violence, objectification and pain, and forces us to face despicable acts of a stand-in for our nation's worst impulses.
This film is a towering cinematic masterpiece.

j
Jimbo64
Apr 18, 2017

I'm a huge De Niro fan, but skip this one. ...,A very long film that I had a hard time getting all the way through but somehow I managed. ...,Unlike my favorite De Niro films which I can watch over and over, I wouldn't recommend this 4 hour film to anyone. The characters were all absolutely loathsome and committed despicable acts of violence not only in their criminal enterprises but towards women that they supposedly cared about. ...,It was supposed to be a story of the life long friendship of the 4 main characters, but it was impossible to feel anything but pure disgust for all of them. ...,Don't waste your time on this one, instead watch Good Fellas, The God Father II, or A Bronx Tale if you want De Niro in top notch Mob movies.

b
BurgensisClaudi
Mar 22, 2017

Typically, I'm ambivalent about director's cuts. Sometimes, I'm downright hostile towards them. Good editors are hired for a reason. You can argue in favor of the artistic integrity of film directors if you want, but editors are also artists. After comparing dozens of theatrical releases against their restored counterparts, I'm convinced that the bulk of the footage that's chopped deserves to be on the cutting room floor. Not so of "Once Upon a Time in America." I saw this film in the theaters when I was a kid. It ran at 139 minutes and was generally an incomprehensible mess. This version of the film, at twice the length, is a much more understandable and forceful story. The editors responsible for the film's American distribution sliced Leone's sober epic into a lightweight romp. Leone was right. The director's cut deserves to be seen. And strangely, despite how awful the pared version of this film is, it further proves that good editors are hired for a reason.

susanf423 Dec 05, 2014

This is my favorite gangster movie. That's saying a lot from me because I am a huge fan of "The Godfather". It is a beautifully shot film and the score throughout is hauntingly beautiful. All the main characters are excellent but Robert De Niro is so, so good. The story seems more real than other gangster movies. We shouldn't root for the bad guys and you don't in this story. Sergio Leone is a master and I can't wait to see the updated version with the extra 20 minutes. It is a very long movie but I believe it is so worth the time.

r
Ron@Ottawa
Jul 11, 2014

This is a 2-disc set. At close to 4 hours this is one long film, and very slow-moving most of the time. Punctuated with violence and killings, this film by director Sergio Leone is about 4 criminals in New York, spanning over half a century. Well acted and directed, the protagonists are all 'bad people', and for this reason their acts of loyalty, honour and love are all heavily discounted in my mind. Still, it is very worthy of viewing for fans of this talented director.

m
Monolith
Sep 06, 2013

After recently struggling through Bernardo Bertolucci's 5¼ hour 1976 film, "Novecento", also with De Niro, I'm beginning to wonder why I'm putting myself through these marathons, and what possessed these Italian filmmakers to believe this much time was required to get their story told. This was Sergio Leone's last major film, and I'm a big fan of his Spaghetti Westerns, but I wasn't entirely enthusiastic at certain times sitting through this one. He could've easily shaved some time off. And by that, I don't mean the butchered nonlinear television version, which I've seen several times over the years. I found the first half depicting them as young street urchins boring and just plain unrealistic. Leone's frequent composer Ennio Morricone's score was a wee bit melodramatic, and the recurring pan flute melody was irritating. The second half with the boys as men developed some steam with an actual plot... but the sporadic time travel felt disconnected, even though, as I've said, I'm familiar with the story. And one last complaint -- I didn't really like the ending. Noodles' final choice w/ 'Mr. Bailey' was understandable, and mature, but the last shot with him grinning in the opium den was a strange way to leave things. I did enjoy the cast very much, (Woods, De Niro, etc.) however, in their respective roles. Burt Young is underrated; the man is perfect as a stereotypical, uncouth, New York mobster, feeding his face with whatever; glaring if his toes have been stepped on. Elizabeth McGovern and Jennifer Connelly were gorgeous thirty years ago, and still. Joe Pesci and Danny Aiello (as Police Chief Aiello... very original!) weren't taken advantage of fully. It's a shame Sergio Leone died so young; leaving behind so few films as his legacy. This isn't my favorite of the man's repertoire, but it is without question absolutely worth viewing, at least once.

c
Calvacade
Aug 26, 2013

This is a great film in my opinion- the themes of the movie run deep and are profound. Worth watching if you value film as an art form.

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m
Monolith
Sep 06, 2013

Joe Minaldi: "...Life is stranger than sh*t, that's all. It's a pisser."

m
Monolith
Sep 06, 2013

Max (to Noodles, who's raping Carol): "...We're going... you coming?"

aaa5756 Jul 05, 2013

“Respectability is the punishment of the wild.”-Margaret Mitchell

aaa5756 Jul 03, 2013

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” –John Quincy Adams

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