With the vivid memory of his long-gone childhood friends, Max, Patsy, and Cockeye, etched in his mind, his ferociously loyal partners-in-crime during their rise to prominence in New York's Prohibition-era Lower East Side, the defeated, penniless, and guilt-ridden former gangster, David "Noodles" Aaronson, returns to Manhattan. Not knowing what to expect, while on a mission to shed light on his opaque past, grizzled Noodles reunites with his only living friend, Fat Moe, after thirty-five haunted years of self-exile. However, the relentless, piercing sound of culpability stands in the way of finding closure, as the inscrutable content of a well-worn leather suitcase further complicates matters. And now, against the backdrop of a torn conscience, the sad and bittersweet recollections of more than fifty years of love, death, and everything in between, become inextricably intertwined, leading to even more puzzling questions. But, what are a man's options when he is left with nothing?Written by
A 1950s New York housing project is visible when Bugsy shoots Dominic in the early 1920s. See more »
[In 1933, three goons question a young woman about Noodles]
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?
[second goon shoots her dead]
[to third goon]
Stay here in case that rat shows up.
One of Beefy's Thugs:
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UK cinema and video versions were cut by 10 secs by the BBFC to remove shots of a gun being pressed against a woman's breasts and to briefly shorten the rape scene in the car. The 2002 DVD is fully uncut. See more »
My title sums up the film, albeit cliche, the film is a masterpiece. The story of a gang's rise from the prohibition years to the 60s. The film's main 2 character's are the focus of the picture. Without trying to spoil it, the film addresses 3 distinct eras in their lives.
The film explores the heart, Noodles soul. A man struggling with himself, someone who plays evil acts, a man who sees the pure in his childhood sweetheart. A man never at peace.
The film is directed by Leone, a master of his art. I'm a huge fan of his work. Each of his films got better and better, and Once Upon A time In America was a picture which had all the experience which he achieved in the 60s. It's almost a gift to himself.
The film's locations are stunning, authentic and dirty.
The screenplay is excellent, but the direction makes the film. Maybe one or two characters were underwritten, but it seems that the director wanted us to talk about the picture, discuss the possible loose ends, make up our own minds. Leone's methodical pacing is stunning.
The acting is tremendous, can't praise James Woods and Robert De Niro enough, awesome!
The photography is beautiful, it lacks colour giving it a gritty look, perfection!
Morricone delivers another masterpiece, his score adds further depth and backups the director's story.
See it wide-screen, this film is a stunning piece of cinema. Leone, you were the master!
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