Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)
"Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  23 September 2011 (Turkey)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 24,722 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 91 user | 172 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

A group of men set out in search of a dead body in the Anatolian steppes.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Doctor Cemal
Commissar Naci
Taner Birsel ...
Prosecutor Nusret
Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan ...
Driver Arab Ali
Ercan Kesal ...
Erol Erarslan ...
Murder Victim Yasar
Ugur Aslanoglu ...
Courthouse Driver Tevfik
Murat Kiliç ...
Police Officer Izzet
Safak Karali ...
Courthouse Clerk Abidin
Emre Sen ...
Sergeant Onder
Burhan Yildiz ...
Suspect Ramazan / Zanli Ramazan
Nihan Okutucu ...
Yasar's wife Gülnaz
Cansu Demirci ...
Mukhtar's Daughter Cemile
Kubilay Tunçer ...
Autopsy Technician Sakir


In the rural area around the Anatolian town of Keskin, the local prosecutor, police commissar, and doctor lead a search for a victim of a murder to whom a suspect named Kenan and his mentally challenged brother confessed. However, the search is proving more difficult than expected as Kenan is fuzzy as to the body's exact location. As the group continues looking, its members can't help but chat among themselves about both trivia and their deepest concerns in an investigation that is proving more trying than any of them expected. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:


Release Date:

23 September 2011 (Turkey)  »

Also Known As:

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,652 (USA) (6 January 2012)


$138,730 (USA) (1 June 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The anecdote about the sudden death of a woman told by prosecutor Nusret and the doctor's deduction come from the short story The Examining Magistrate by Russian writer Anton Chekhov. See more »


Naci speaks to his wife on the mobile phone. When his wife hangs up angrily, a dial tone is heard. No dial tone is heard on mobile phones. See more »


References The Wind Will Carry Us (1999) See more »


Alli Turnam (Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da)
By Neset Ertas
See more »

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User Reviews

Something else
16 January 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie was something else. I don't know what to make out of it. It was amazing how such emotionally complicated and interwoven stories could be captured in cinema. I thought the story was somewhat similar to Fargo, but Nuri Bilge Ceylan certainly added his personal artistic spin on it.

There were so many unknowns. You keep on watching till the end waiting for the next big surprise. Was the dead man really the husband of the woman with the headscarf? What is in the doctor's past? Did the doctor have a traumatic childhood experience? Is the doctor going to marry the mayor's daughter? Who is the boy's real father?

The acting was superb. I loved how the chief police officer effortlessly switched between serious and trivial matters. The mayor was so real, I thought they brought the actual mayor from the village to play the part.

The cinematography was also masterful. The face of the killer was unforgettable. I thought the movie was too slow at times to get the message across, but overall watching it was a delightful experience. Well done.

44 of 57 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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