Once upon a time in America


(valenciano) #1

Hey spag-lovers,

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


(davidf) #2

this is a good if very long film, brutal at times and also beautiful at times as well.as you say leone does overdo it at times with the flashbacks . a good cast, strong performances especially robert de niro and james woods and the younger members of the cast are very good, a young jennifer connelly in her first film is hauntingly beautiful and elizabeth mcgovern is doll like. at times dull, brutal, moving, everything an epic should be.the film’s ending is a bit of a letdown for me and you’re not completely sure of what’s happened.not as good as once upon a time in the west but a good film. special mention for the maestro morricone who comes up with another beautiful musical score.


(chuck connors brother) #3

I love the scene where “Yesterday” is playing and De Niro is looking in the mirror.


(Stanton) #4

I watched Leone’s gangster epic again, after I haven’t seen it for so many years.

It wasn’t a fasinating experience. It is a well made film of course, but somehow it isn’t as fascinating as his westerns. The characters are not that interesting; De Niro is good, but not as good as in The Godfather II or The Deer Hunter or in every of his previous Scorsese films; somehow there aren’t much (if any) really fascinating scenes, but his 6 westerns (incl. MNIN) are full of them; there is obviously something missing in this probably too long film. For now I don’t wait for the 50 min plus version.

I see so many ideas, but I also see always the construction behind, it never gets really natural. I feel only the exertion of creating not the lightness of being.

Well, the Godfather films I and II were always the better gangster epics for me, now more than ever.

So it gave me not much to rewatch it, while for example Giu la testa seems to get better with every viewing. Means, at the present moment it’s much more likely that I will rewatch all of his westerns again (and again), but I doubt that OuTA will get another viewing the next 10 years, or so. (or even 20, but who knows)


(Paco Roman) #5

I like it but his western are just better. It’s a great movie but the length is a bit of a problem. In my Leone-Ranking it’s behind his SW. Wouldn’t it better if Leone made 2 Movies instead of one overlong? All the scenes with children and how they become gangster are great. These scenes I enjoy most in OUATIA and those are just perfect. I don’t know any better movie which shows how children became gangster (Maybe City of Men!). For me Leone’s Movie gives me a more realistic feeling of the thirties as some of the old Classics. The Music Score of Morricone is great again. One of his best scores . Strange that The Mission wasn’t directed by Leone.


(Sebastian) #6

I love this movie. too bad it loses some of its genius towards the end… he just had so much story to tell…


(ENNIOO) #7

A film which improves on each viewing for me.


(Lode) #8

Surely one of the best movies ever made. I just can’t decide which one I love more: Once upon a time in America or the West.


(alk0) #9

I don’t know if it was mentioned elsewhere, but i stumbled upon this piece of hilarity when i was browsing spaghetti western web board:

jangoz HOW DE NIRO MET LEONE Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:25pm 71.84.34.105

FROM THIS WEEK’S HOLLYWOOD REPORTER MAGAZINE: In the forthcoming book CONFIDENTIAL: THE LIFE OF SECRET AGENT TURNED HOLLYWOOD TYCOON ARNON MILCHAN, about the producer, there’s a great tale about a meeting Milchan set up to get Robert DeNiro to star in Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. Milchan had them convene in a suite at New York’s Mayflower Hotel, and Leone, then obese, arrived wearing a robe. Mid-meeting, DeNiro called Milchan and said, “I can’t do the movie.” Turns out Leone had left the suite’s toilet seat–well, rather damp. DeNiro interpreted this as a male marking his territory, a power game. “Calm down, Bob,” Milchan said. “He’s fat; he didn’t see.” And the rest, as they say, is cimema history.


(ENNIOO) #10

Ha, ha…pretty funny story.


(Benedicto Pacifico) #11

It is a great film, shame that it got cut to pieces when he first made it. Leone turned down the chance to direct The Godfather to focus on this film instead, that has always left me wondering a little bit.

My main issue with the film is that it prevented Leone from making any other films for about 12 years while he was trying to get this financed and made.


(Bill san Antonio) #12

This is great news:

http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/in-contention/posts/269-minute-redux-cut-of-sergio-leones-once-upon-a-time-in-america-to-premiere-at-cannes


(John Welles) #13

Wow… That is incredible. Once Upon a Time in America is one of my favourite films, so I can’t wait for this to be released on DVD.


(Yodlaf Peterson) #14

Fantastic news.

But try watching it without needing a piss at some point ;D


(davidf) #15

it is a good film. good performances, great morricone music, some very good scenes, wish the ending was better though.


(Sebastian) #16

best news ever, need to go to Cannes now


(Mickey13) #17

My God! I wish I could go there! :’(
Looking forward to an uncut DVD so much!


(ENNIOO) #18

Ha, ha yes. Thing is I always end up having a few beers while viewing this one, which does not help of course.


(Yodlaf Peterson) #19

[quote=“Mickey13, post:17, topic:1454”]Looking forward to an uncut DVD so much![/quote]Forget DVD, this NEEDS a Blu Ray release!


(Mickey13) #20

Never mind, at least it has to be released with the longest running time!
Don’t have Blu Ray player yet, but if this one is released on Blu Ray, I’ll have to buy one! :wink: