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 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 by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute.
Robert De Niro,
In 1968, Deborah is acting in William Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra". This sums up David "Noodles" Aaronson and Deborah's relationship: David "Noodles" Aaronson is enchanted and frustrated by Deborah, as she leads him on, and turns him down; and it is not until the play's conclusion, that she reveals her true feelings for him. See more »
The Plymouth Valiant Duster was not available until 1970. 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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When the 'complete' film was released on laser disc in America, it still had to be trimmed slightly from 229 minutes to 227 minutes, to secure an 'R' rating. Cuts were made to the two rape scenes, and some of the violence at the beginning. The final flashback montage of Max and Noodles as children was also eliminated from their final scene. See more »
Once Upon A Time In America, There Was This Bomb...
There seems perhaps something peculiar to certain Italian movie makers - as if there's a fault in their genes. Many tend to be attracted to themes over-saturated with cruelty and immorality of the vilest kind. Is it perhaps from their Roman heritage - or the dregs from too many wars? Sergio Leone, is just one example – he joins the list of Pasolini, Bertolucci, etc....
I grew up thinking 'Once Upon A Time In The West' (and his other aptly named 'spaghetti 'westerns) were OK, until I revisited Leone's work years later – only then realizing how foolishly written and overblown they all were! "Once Upon A Time In America" is more of the same, simply without the horses, different styles of guns, and a pan pipe replacing the harmonica! (and we're supposed to believe this toy would sound like Gheorghe Zampfir!!) You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. No matter what ridiculous sums of money you poor into a sloppy patch-work of a script in attempts to make it visually impressive - it still remains foolish. Seems most audiences are not so easily fooled as some critics and Hollywood types – this 30 million dollar splurge returned a measly $5 million. So, it's beginning to look like many of the 'rave' reviews may have been posted by some of those who lost 'BIG' money and just might be attempting to mark up some losses. After all, this is the picture that almost ruined the Ladd Company.
The lush symphonic music all seems to have come from another film (in 'Once in America's' case it did! and sounds like it's still looking for the other movie!) Along with sumptuous photography it's all just a further attempt to dress up a ridiculous convoluted script - written by nine different writers! - then given a confusing shape to hide plot holes and poor development of character. Here is a movie overflowing with just about every type of perversion: repugnant brutality, extreme sexual immorality with violence, drugs, glorification of criminals and the gun - it simply drags on ad nauseous for more than 3 hrs of over-the-top ugliness. They say you must see this long version but the short Vera (still too long at near 2 1/2hrs) might have helped. The performers have done these characters in numerous other movies, so nothing new is being brought to this tiresome mess.
If you're easily pleased and have lots of time to idle away you might last the distance - if not, stay away.
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