7.8/10
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31 user 26 critic

America America (1963)

Not Rated | | Drama | 17 June 1964 (France)
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A young Anatolian Greek, entrusted with his family's fortune, loses it en route to Istanbul and dreams of going to the United States.

Director:

Elia Kazan

Writer:

Elia Kazan
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Stathis Giallelis ... Stavros Topouzoglou
Frank Wolff ... Vartan Damadian
Harry Davis Harry Davis ... Isaac Topouzoglou
Elena Karam Elena Karam ... Vasso Topouzoglou
Estelle Hemsley Estelle Hemsley ... Grandmother Topouzoglou
Gregory Rozakis ... Hohannes Gardashian
Lou Antonio ... Osman
Salem Ludwig Salem Ludwig ... Odysseus Topouzoglou
John Marley ... Garabet
Joanna Frank ... Vartuhi
Paul Mann Paul Mann ... Aleko Sinnikoglou
Linda Marsh ... Thomna Sinnikoglou
Robert H. Harris ... Aratoon Kebabian
Katharine Balfour Katharine Balfour ... Sophia Kebabian
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Storyline

Elia Kazan, ethnic Greek but Turkish by birth, tells the story of the struggles of his uncle - in this account named Stavros Topouzoglou - in emigrating to America. In the 1890's, the young, kind-hearted but naive Stavros lived in Anatolia, where the Greek and Armenian minorities were repressed by the majority Turks, this repression which often led to violence. Even Stavros being friends with an Armenian was frowned upon. As such, Stavros dreamed of a better life - specifically in America - where, as a result, he could make his parents proud by his grand accomplishments. Instead, his parents, with most of their money, sent Stavros to Constantinople to help fund the carpet shop owned by his first cousin once removed. What Stavros encountered on his journey, made on foot with a small donkey, made him question life in Anatolia even further. Once in Constantinople, his resolve to earn the 110 Turkish pound third class fare to the United States became stronger than ever. But try after try,... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A trail to the light! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 June 1964 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Hamal See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kazan began shooting in Istanbul, but was concerned that Turkish officials would object to some of the material content and moved his base of production to Greece. See more »

Quotes

Stavros Topouzoglou: [to Hohannes] You have to look out for yourself in this world, you know. The only bad times I had was when I was... soft... or human. You can't afford to be human. People take advantage.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director Elia Kazan narrates the main portion of the closing credits, reading the words as they appear on the screen, using complete sentences such as "The cinematography was by Haskell Wexler." See more »

Connections

Featured in The Arrangement (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

The Harmonica And The Waltz
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User Reviews

 
One of the Greatest Films Ever Made
17 June 2005 | by Sturgeon54See all my reviews

Imagine a film like "The Godfather" receiving almost no audience, relegated to the occasional appearance on the AMC channel, barely being released on VHS or DVD, and you will have some idea of the tragic fate of this lost epic masterpiece. As hard as it is to believe, this may be the prolific director Elia Kazan's greatest film achievement, yet hardly anyone has seen it. This is a film on the epic scale of "The Godfather," about a young Armenian man's escape from Turkish persecution, flight from Anatolia, and eventual immigration to Ellis Island - all based upon the the experiences of the director's uncle. What is also tragic is the fact that I can think of no other film which portrays the cruel persecution and genocide inflicted upon the Armenian minority by the Ottoman Turks in the early 20th century (which Hitler correctly pointed to as proof that the world would look the other way at the genocide he had planned in Europe in the 1930s). Every period detail in the film is perfect, from the Oscar-winning costume design to the set design, Greek folk music score, veteran Haskell Wexler's cinematography, and acting - especially lead actor Giallelis, whose intensity brings to mind some of Brando's early work.

It is obvious that this film was a very personal piece of film-making for Kazan. And though I don't want to dwell as others do on Kazan's checkered past in his naming of communist colleagues for HUAC in the 1950s, it is interesting to note a parallel in the main character Stavros' personal anguish in making the choice to leave his wealthy wife and use her money to immigrate to the United States; both men made the conscious decision to drive a wedge between them and their past relationships. This is truly a film for all Americans to treasure, and if I had my way, I would make sure it was broadcast every 4th of July just as "It's a Wonderful Life" is broadcast every Christmas. As a nation of immigrants and descendants of immigrants, this is a film virtually every American can relate to. I can't figure out why it is so obscure.


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