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Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 170,322 users  
Reviews: 467 user | 95 critic

A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to the Lower East Side of Manhattan over thirty years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life.

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Title: Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

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Top 250 #79 | Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 20 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Joe
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Richard Bright ...
James Hayden ...
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Eve (as Darlanne Fleugel)
Larry Rapp ...
Richard Foronjy ...
Officer 'Fartface' Whitey (as Richard Foronji)
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Storyline

Epic tale of a group of Jewish gangsters in New York, from childhood, through their glory years during prohibition, and their meeting again 35 years later. Written by Andrew Welsh <andreww@bnr.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

As boys, they made a pact to share their fortunes, their loves, their lives. As men, they shared a dream to rise from poverty to power. Their story is now a "once upon a time" motion picture experience. [Australia Theatrical] See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, sexual content, language and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

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Release Date:

28 September 1984 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Érase una vez en América  »

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$5,300,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-cut) | (Director's Cut Extended Edition) ( 2012)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To prepare a draft of the script, writer Norman Mailer barricaded himself in a Rome hotel with whiskey bottles, boxes of Cuban cigars and a typewriter for three weeks. Mailer then had a meeting with Harry Grey to appropriately complete the draft, but Sergio Leone did not find it acceptable. See more »

Goofs

When the cargo floats to the surface in the scene in the harbor, the crates are floating with the balloons out and on top of the water, offering no extra buoyancy, and therefore not needed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[In 1933, two goons rudely question a young woman]
Beefy: Where is he? Where's he hiding?
Eve: I don't know... I've been looking for him since yesterday.
[second goon slaps her harshly; she falls onto the bed]
Beefy: I'm gonna ask you for the last time: Where is he?
Eve: I don't know... What are you gonna do to him?
[Two shots are heard]
Beefy: [to his partner] Stay here in case that rat shows up...
See more »

Crazy Credits

For his cameo, Joey Faye is listed in the credits as playing the "adorable old man." See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Once Upon a Time in Springfield (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

God Bless America
Music by Irving Berlin
Music by Irving Berlin Music Corporation
Performed by Kate Smith
Courtesy of RCA Record
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Leone's "Godfather" Version, And About As Good
26 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This Godfather-type film was done by Sergio Leone, of spaghetti-western fame, so you know you will see and experience several of his trademarks. Namely: (1) a lot of facial closeups; (2) some slow-motion or slow-moving dramatic scenes; (3) good overall photography and (4) a unique soundtrack.

The period sets here are magnificent. You get a real feel of the time, whether it's 1910, 1933 or 1967. The colors are awash in blacks, browns and grays and the DVD brings all these out very well, especially considering the film is over 20 years old.

Despite some of Leone's slow moments, this is a fascinating film to watch for the story, too. There are numerous memorable scenes, some of them involving some downright shocking violence, even for today's movies. However, the amount of violence is less than what you see today.

The movie also sports an interesting twist near the end involving the two major characters, played by Robert De Niro and James Woods. The story is not always clear, either, so be prepared to be possibly confused about a few things....at least on the first viewing. Confused or not, this film always is fascinating to view, especially with intense actors such as the two men just mentioned, along with Elizabeth McGovern, Tuesday Weld, Joe Pecsi, Burt Young, Treat Williams and more.

The child actors in here take up almost half the movie and are excellent. What an injustice they don't receive any publicity for their acting, especially the kids who played De Niro and Woods as youngsters. One of the girls has become a famous adult actress: Jennifer Connelly. She was 12 years old in this film and was already alluring.

This is Godfather-type crime movie that ranks right up there with that famous film, not taking a back seat to it at all.


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Extended Directors versions (NEW) lb2121
Bothered with the soundtrack blindg
It pains me to see so much hate for this film joet1999
anyone else think the only thing that ruined this film was the ending? Vicofdib
How far in is the coffee stirring scene? funcii
New Extended Version lb2121
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