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

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  23 September 2011 (Turkey)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 24,719 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.


Watch Trailer
0Check in
19 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Three Monkeys (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A family suffers from a major communication breakdown during their struggle to get through their hardships.

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Stars: Yavuz Bingol, Hatice Aslan, Ahmet Rifat Sungar
Distant (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After his wife leaves him, a photographer has an existential crisis and tries to cope with his cousin's visit.

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Stars: Muzaffer Özdemir, Emin Toprak, Zuhal Gencer
Winter Sleep (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Aydin, a former actor, runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal with whom he has a stormy relationship and his sister Necla who is suffering from her recent divorce.... See full summary »

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Stars: Haluk Bilginer, Melisa Sözen, Demet Akbag
Climates (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A dowdy university instructor Isa is an inattentive husband to his younger, TV-business wife Bahar. Self-absorbed and selfish, Isa only communicates in the most rudimentary way, while she, similarly, detaches into crying jags and juvenile behavior.

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Stars: Ebru Ceylan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Nazan Kesal
Innocence (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Yusuf is released from prison after serving a ten-year sentence. He is scared of life outside as he goes to an address given to him by another prisoner.

Director: Zeki Demirkubuz
Stars: Güven Kiraç, Haluk Bilginer, Derya Alabora
Destiny (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Bekir is in love with Ugur, who loves Zagor who loves to commit crimes.

Director: Zeki Demirkubuz
Stars: Vildan Atasever, Ufuk Bayraktar, Engin Akyürek
Cocoon (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Nuri Bilge Ceylan's first Movie. Dram.

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Stars: Emin Ceylan, Fatma Ceylan, Turgut Toprak
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A promotion brings a Muslim's relationship with God into question.

Director: Özer Kiziltan
Stars: Erkan Can, Meray Ülgen, Güven Kiraç
Fate (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Musa, who works as a bookkeeper in the customs office, believes in the emptiness and absurdity of life. He doesn't struggle to change his life; he lets himself flow along with events ... See full summary »

Director: Zeki Demirkubuz
Stars: Serdar Orçin, Zeynep Tokus, Engin Günaydin
Vizontele (2001)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The film is about the introduction of television to a small village in southeast Anatolia in 1974. Employing a tragicomic language, it tells of the efforts of Emin who is the village idiot ... See full summary »

Directors: Yilmaz Erdogan, Ömer Faruk Sorak
Stars: Yilmaz Erdogan, Demet Akbag, Altan Erkekli
Clouds of May (1999)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

This is a movie within movie, which is almost recursive, i.e., the movie inside looks like director Ceylan's previous movie, Kasaba. It is about the movie director, Muzaffer, going back to ... See full summary »

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Stars: Emin Ceylan, Muzaffer Özdemir, Fatma Ceylan
The Town (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The story of a family living in a small godforsaken town in Turkey seen through the eyes of children and dealing with the growing complexity when one becomes an adult.

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Stars: Sercihan Alevoglu, Latif Altintas, Cihat Bütün


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
See  »

Did You Know?


The word Anatolia means East, originally referring to the Ionian colonies on the west coast of Asia Minor See more »


While Arab and the doctor chat during the investigation, doctor sits in the front seat of the car (with the car door open, facing the field). The next scene, we see the doctor from the back, facing the field while standing. After that, while Arab is eating apple, we see doctor sitting in the front seat again. As they keep talking, it cuts to wide angle shot where we see the doctor standing again. See more »


Featured in Balkan Spirit (2013) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A long night in the Turkish countryside
29 July 2011 | by (Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina) – See all my reviews

This film won the Grand Prix in Cannes, and it was deserved. A team goes into the countryside to find the body of a murder victim. The team includes the two men accused of the murder,one of whom has confessed and says he wills show them where they buried the body, the police chief, prosecutor, doctor, diggers, and guards. As the night drags on into the next day and the body is not found, the men grow more and more tired. Much of the film is beautifully shot in the dark or semi-dark, lit only by the headlights of the cars or a lamp in the village where they stop to rest. The filming is slow, showing the beautiful countryside and vignettes that wonderfully shed light on the different characters. What seems to be a simple task grows more and more complex; everything in the movie turns out to be more complicated than it first seems. Everyone seems to be guilty of something, so the film becomes a question not only of will the body be found, but who is guilty of what?

One could say that the film is too slow, but just as the team grows more and more tired, so arewe as the viewers, participating in the fatigue of the team, drawn into the feelings of the characters. Women and children are present only as lovely cameos in the film, but are behind almost everything. The actors are all superb, and it was amazing to me that Ceylan could show such depth and breadth of character and emotion and drama with only a few lines of dialog and amazing closeups of the faces.

105 of 123 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Meaning of 'Arab' for the Fellow Driving the Police Chief? film_ophile
Why it won the Grand Prix in Cannes Thesan
Questions flipya4real
Women in 'Once Upon a Time . . .' SurrenderToto
Golden Globes missed it! Still going for Oscar? hamster_can
my take munirislam2002
Discuss Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: