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Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

R | | Crime, Drama | 1 June 1984 (USA)
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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 »
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Popularity
331 ( 48)
Top Rated Movies #69 | Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 11 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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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:

Italian American "mafia" actors trying to play Jewish ones. 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 »
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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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,412,014, 3 June 1984

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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was James Hayden's final film. See more »

Goofs

When Noodles is visiting Deborah, during the various cuts when she is telling him to take the back door out, the makeup is almost gone. When she is standing by the door the make up is back in places. Also through the conversation the make up disappears and shows up in places. 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

The infamous 139 minute American version was the version given wide release in America. Heavily cut by the Ladd Company against Leone's wishes, the film's story was rearranged in chronological order, which had the effect of making it even more difficult to follow. Most of the major cuts involved the childhood sequences, making the 1933 sections the most prominent part of the film. All of the scenes in 1968 with Deborah were excised, and the scene with "Secretary Bailey" ended with him shooting himself (albeit off-screen), rather than the famous garbage truck conclusion of the 229-minute version. The shortened version, while briefly on VHS in the 1980s, is in little demand and almost impossible to find. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nørdernes Rejse (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

'Summertime' from 'Porgy and Bess'
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by DuBose Heyward (as Dubose Hayward) and Ira Gershwin
Courtesy of Gershwin Publishing Company/Chappel and Co.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Leone's "Godfather" Version, And About As Good
26 November 2005 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

This Godfather-type film was done by Sergio Leone, of spaghetti-western fame, so you know you will see and experience several of his trademarks. Namely: (1) a lot of facial closeups; (2) some slow-motion or slow-moving dramatic scenes; (3) good overall photography and (4) a unique soundtrack.

The period sets here are magnificent. You get a real feel of the time, whether it's 1910, 1933 or 1967. The colors are awash in blacks, browns and grays and the DVD brings all these out very well, especially considering the film is over 20 years old.

Despite some of Leone's slow moments, this is a fascinating film to watch for the story, too. There are numerous memorable scenes, some of them involving some downright shocking violence, even for today's movies. However, the amount of violence is less than what you see today.

The movie also sports an interesting twist near the end involving the two major characters, played by Robert De Niro and James Woods. The story is not always clear, either, so be prepared to be possibly confused about a few things....at least on the first viewing. Confused or not, this film always is fascinating to view, especially with intense actors such as the two men just mentioned, along with Elizabeth McGovern, Tuesday Weld, Joe Pecsi, Burt Young, Treat Williams and more.

The child actors in here take up almost half the movie and are excellent. What an injustice they don't receive any publicity for their acting, especially the kids who played De Niro and Woods as youngsters. One of the girls has become a famous adult actress: Jennifer Connelly. She was 12 years old in this film and was already alluring.

This is Godfather-type crime movie that ranks right up there with that famous film, not taking a back seat to it at all.


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