8.4/10
279,005
588 user 128 critic

Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

R | | Crime, Drama | 1 June 1984 (USA)
Trailer
2:40 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to the Lower East Side of Manhattan over thirty years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life.

Director:

Sergio Leone

Writers:

Harry Grey (novel), Leonardo Benvenuti (screenplay) | 6 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
658 ( 56)
Top Rated Movies #71 | Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 11 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Captive State (2019)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Set in a Chicago neighborhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extraterrestrial force, 'Captive State' explores the lives on both sides of the conflict - the collaborators and dissidents.

Director: Rupert Wyatt
Stars: John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Jonathan Majors
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.

Director: Sergio Leone
Stars: Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale
Raging Bull (1980)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The life of boxer Jake LaMotta, who's violence and temper that lead him to the top in the ring destroyed his life outside of it.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci
Scarface (1983)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In Miami in 1980, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel and succumbs to greed.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Two bounty hunters with the same intentions team up to track down a Western outlaw.

Director: Sergio Leone
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volontè
Unforgiven (1992)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

As corruption grows in 1950s Los Angeles, three policemen -- one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy -- investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice.

Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce
Taxi Driver (1976)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

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.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A U.S. Army officer serving in Vietnam is tasked with assassinating a renegade Special Forces Colonel who sees himself as a god.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.

Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Noodles
James Woods ... Max
Elizabeth McGovern ... Deborah
Treat Williams ... Jimmy O'Donnell
Tuesday Weld ... Carol
Burt Young ... Joe
Joe Pesci ... Frankie
Danny Aiello ... Police Chief Aiello
William Forsythe ... Cockeye
James Hayden James Hayden ... Patsy
Darlanne Fluegel ... Eve (as Darlanne Fleugel)
Larry Rapp ... Fat Moe
Dutch Miller Dutch Miller ... Van Linden
Robert Harper ... Sharkey
Richard Bright ... Chicken Joe
Edit

Storyline

Epic tale of a group of Jewish gangsters in New York, from childhood, through their glory years during prohibition, and their meeting again 35 years later. Written by Andrew Welsh <andreww@bnr.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

As boys, they made a pact to share their fortunes, their loves, their lives. As men, they shared a dream to rise from poverty to power. Forging an empire built on greed, violence and betrayal, their dream would end as a mystery that refuse to die. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, sexual content, language and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | Italy

Language:

English | Italian | French

Release Date:

1 June 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Once Upon a Time in America See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,412,014, 3 June 1984, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$5,321,508
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-cut) | (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert De Niro was the first person cast, having been approached for a role as David "Noodles" Aaronson during filming The Godfather: Part II (1974), and was later actively involved with choosing the remaining cast members. See more »

Goofs

The Plymouth Valiant Duster was not available until 1970. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[In 1933, two goons rudely question a young woman]
Beefy: Where is he? Where's he hiding?
Eve: I don't know... I've been looking for him since yesterday.
[second goon slaps her harshly; she falls onto the bed]
Beefy: I'm gonna ask you for the last time: Where is he?
Eve: I don't know... What are you gonna do to him?
[Two shots are heard]
Beefy: [to his partner] Stay here in case that rat shows up...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Joey Faye is credited as the "adorable old man." See more »

Alternate Versions

In 2012, The Film Foundation together with the Leone estate exhibited the 250-minute version of the film at Cannes. However, due to settlement of copyright issues for international releases, the version first exists in Italy before it was released in October 2014. The restored version adds the following six additional scenes:
  • Before the opening credits are displayed, additional disclaimers about the restoration are introduced first, including the film restored and color corrected in 4K. The restoration adds more yellow layer to the film's look. However, the new scenes are based on the work print, which does not have the same color quality as the original prints could not be found, hence the semi-monochromatic look.
  • After Noodles looks upon his name on the memorial stone, he meets the cemetery director (an appearance by Louise Fletcher) and gets more information about the memorial. He sees a car nearby, realizing he's being watched. He's able to write down the license plate number.
  • A flashback where after the car falls into the water, the boys fooled around longer. But they were scared of Noodles as the freighter's shovel keeps aiming at the water. Back to 1968, Noodles eventually traces the car's license plate to Senator Bailey's address. The car that tailed him earlier in the cemetery emerges out of the compound and explodes shortly after.
  • After Noodles comes out of the door, the chauffeur criticizes his lifestyle (explains why he interferes during the rape). Noodles counters him with the financial benefits.
  • Eve's actual introduction: Noodles is left alone in the street after the rape. He visits a prostitute bar and had sex with Eve, the call girl whom was allowed to be called Deborah. The real Deborah walks out of the restaurant in disappointment.
  • Deborah performs the final scene of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra before Noodles goes to visit her backstage.
  • There's a pivotal scene of Max / Senator Bailey with Jimmy. Jimmy and his other associates want him dead because of his many mistakes but there still remains some final organization details to be sorted out. Finally, Jimmy suggests that he commit suicide with the line "I'd be very happy for you tonight, if during all the noise of the party I'd hear a shot." This scene explains things like: why the car bomb went off during the second additional scene; dramatizes Max's motivation with Noodles in the next scene; completing the character arc of Jimmy from an idealistic union boss to a full-fledgling hoodlum; creates more uncertainty of what happened at the end with the garbage truck.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Women of the House: Women in Film (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Poverty
Music by Ennio Morricone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Leone's ultimate film
16 May 1999 | by tencoSee all my reviews

Sergio Leone's films are all love letters to America, the American dreams of an Italian who grew up at the movies, who apprenticed with Wyler, and Aldrich, signed himself Bob Robertson, and gave us Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Charles Bronson as we know them. Sadly, America didn't always repay the compliment. Leone's were "spaghetti westerns", money makers to be sure, but deemed disrespectful of the great tradition of Ford, Walsh and Hathaway. Many critics and Holllywood insiders called his earlier Eastwood films cynical and violent bottom-line commercial exploitation. By the time that they caught on to Leone's genuine popular appeal, the director had already moved on. And, his Once Upon a Time in the West was damned as pretentious, bloated, self-indulgent: an art film disguised as a Western, the Heaven's Gate of its day. That film's canny blend of pop appeal and pure cinematic genius gradually dawned on the powers that be (or were), and helped give rise to the renaissance of American filmmaking in the early seventies. It is worth noting that The Godfather could have been made by Leone, had he chosen. Leone had been pitching a gangster film that would encompass generations, for a generation or two, himself. Rather than do the Puzo version finally thrown back at him, he waited an eternity, and finally realized this, his last finished project. That ellipse of a decade or so between conception and completed movie is paralleled in the film, itself, by Robert De Niro's ("Noodles'") opium dream of the American twentieth century, its promises, and betrayals. Naturally, Leone was betrayed, once again, himself, by America, and this truly amazing film, with its densely multi-layered, overlapping flashback structure was butchered upon its release, becoming a linear-plotted sub-Godfather knockoff in the process. Luckily, the critics had grown up enough in the meantime to finally get a glimmering of what Leone was up to, and demand restitution. Very few saw it properly in theaters, but the video version respects the director's intentions, more or less. Ironically, Leone had foreseen television screen aspect ratios as determining home viewing of the future, and abbreviated his usual wide screen format for this movie, so this most troubled last project was the first released on video to most properly resemble the true cinematic experience. For diehard fans of the Eastwood westerns impatient with this at first, watch those movies till you want and need more. This will eventually get to you. For art film fanatics who don't get the earlier Leones, travel in the reverse direction, and you will be pleasantly surprised. This is the movie that Leone spent a decade conceiving. It will deliver for decades of viewing to come.


153 of 281 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 588 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed