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Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

R | | Crime, Drama | 1 June 1984 (USA)
2:40 | Trailer

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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.



(novel), (screenplay) | 6 more credits »
570 ( 162)
Top Rated Movies #69 | Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 11 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Hayden ...
Eve (as Darlanne Fleugel)
Larry Rapp ...
Dutch Miller ...
Van Linden


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


Sergio Leone's three-hour, forty-minute epic masterpiece starring Robert de Niro. [Australia Theatrical] See more »


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

1 June 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Once Upon a Time in America  »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,412,014, 3 June 1984, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (re-cut) | (extended cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The script was written in Italian by Leonardo Benvenuti. In 1981, writing partners Piero De Bernardi and Enrico Medioli, and Stuart Kaminsky were brought in to appropriately translate it into English. According to Kaminsky, Benvenuti was primarily responsible for devising the visual scenes, Medioli maintained the epic nature of the film, and Kaminsky wrote all of the dialogue (Kaminsky also collaborated with Robert De Niro to ensure the characterization between Max and David "Noodles" Aaronson was both similar and distinct). See more »


Just before the boys demonstrate the salt trick to the Italians, fluorescent lighting is visible inside the large buildings in the background. Flourescent lights weren't commercially available until the 1940's. See more »


[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

Joey Faye is credited as the "adorable old man." See more »


Referenced in Speaking Parts (1989) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Boring and overrated.
25 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

I have seen all the best gangster pictures like Godfather parts 1 and 2, Goodfellas and Scarface (the really old one and the Al Pacino one) and decided to watch this movie again for the first time in twenty years because I read the Leone turned down the chance to direct the Godfather and later on made this movie.

I just don't understand how this movie is ranked 115 on the all time list of movies on IMDb. This movie is unbelievably boring it is like watching a snail run the 100 yard dash. By the end of the four hours I couldn't care less about what happened to any of the characters. Noodle is dishonourable thug who should have pushed in the back of the truck at the end of the movie. This is a very over rated movie and does not even come close to standing up against Leone's westerns.

5 out of 10 and that is generous.

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