I think Leones best non-western (okay i just made that up, never seen colossus of Rhode) deserves its own topic. Its not a spag at all, but still contains Leone´s trademarks in character development, male friendships, pictures and length of course.
So i am starting it here in the town hall.
I just saw it the second time, which is a little keeping in mind that there probably is so much to see and interpretate.
This time i thought the movie is about choices in life, in respect to how to life it and what to achieve. Max chose the capitalist (american?) way, while Noodles has a more romantic view on life and maybe even his crimes (like Robin hood, maybe???). He only wants to survive and maybe live a decent life, with the girl of his dreams.
The movie is rougher that all of leones Westerns in my eyes, of course it also is set later in time. While there was some honor and respect in the westerns there is no mercy no more in this. No one can trust nobody.
Noodles does not like this (he clearly dislikes carrying out hits for the movie, as seen in the scene after the jewel heist scene: "today it is him, tomorow you have to kill me").
This movie and its characters are highly metaphoric in my eyes. So what do you read out of the actions and characters?
For me there is no need to rate this movie, it is so different and unusual. But the picture is just so beautiful at the same time, no experiments there, in contrast to the flashback structure, the only element that allows to call the once upon a time movies (west, the revolution (aka duck you sucker) and america) a trilogy. While the flashbacks were important for the finale in ...west they explained the characters behaviour in ... the revolution they are dream like and core of this movie. Maybe for some Leone over did his style here, but everybody who likes Leone gotta love this one.
Of course negative criticism is also very welcome, I can see that this one might not be without flaws, and can also be hard to watch. so go ahead and post your ideas, maybe they make more sense than mine ;D