A tale of greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia enforcer and a casino executive, compete against each other over a gambling empire, and over a fast living and fast loving socialite.
A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist, while both sides attempt to find balance between their personal and their professional lives.
A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action, while attempting to liberate a twelve-year-old prostitute.
Robert De Niro,
During the scene when the young boys set the newspaper stand on fire, they run around the corner and peek through a window in the concrete which has visible spray painted graffiti on the wall, spray paint was not invented until 1949, this scene takes place in the 1920s. See more »
[In 1933, two goons rudely question a young woman]
Where is he? Where's he hiding?
I don't know... I've been looking for him since yesterday.
[second goon slaps her harshly; she falls onto the bed]
I'm gonna ask you for the last time: Where is he?
I don't know... What are you gonna do to him?
[Two shots are heard]
[to his partner]
Stay here in case that rat shows up...
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I've seen a lot of great reviews for this movie, along the lines of, 'it's great, one of the best of all time', etc. I really have to disagree. This movie was just too slow for me to sit through. I am usually a great fan of Sergio Leone's work, and I love most things with DeNiro and even James Woods, but I just couldn't sit through this movie.
The pacing wouldn't have been a problem if the story were better, but I felt that it just meandered through a lot of scenes and recollections that were unnecessary. Some of the comedic scenes, for example between the 'young' DeNiro and Woods characters and the cop, were too slap-sticky and didn't ring true. those scenes would've been more in place in an Italian movie, perhaps like 'yesterday, today, and tomorrow.' It just didn't ring true for the Lower East Side during prohibition.
To the people who say, 'if it's too slow for you, why don't you go watch Armageddon or something,' I can only respond that I loved The Seven Samurai, and also the Seventh Seal, two magnificent movies, which were slowly paced but still riveting. Once Upon a Time in America does not stack up to them. It doesn't measure up to the Godfather(s), or even Miller's Crossing.
A noble effort, visually very beautiful, but guaranteed to put you to sleep.
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