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Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)

Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 23 September 2011 (Turkey)
1:36 | Trailer
A group of men set out in search of a dead body in the Anatolian steppes.


Nuri Bilge Ceylan
21 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Muhammet Uzuner ... Doctor Cemal
Yilmaz Erdogan ... Commissar Naci
Taner Birsel ... Prosecutor Nusret
Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan ... Driver Arab Ali
Firat Tanis ... Suspect Kenan
Ercan Kesal ... Mukhtar
Erol Erarslan Erol Erarslan ... Murder Victim Yasar
Ugur Aslanoglu Ugur Aslanoglu ... Courthouse Driver Tevfik
Murat Kiliç ... Police Officer Izzet
Safak Karali Safak Karali ... Courthouse Clerk Abidin
Emre Sen Emre Sen ... Sergeant Onder
Burhan Yildiz Burhan Yildiz ... Suspect Ramazan / Zanli Ramazan
Nihan Okutucu Nihan Okutucu ... Yasar's wife Gülnaz
Cansu Demirci Cansu Demirci ... Mukhtar's Daughter Cemile
Kubilay Tunçer Kubilay Tunçer ... Autopsy Technician Sakir


In the rural area around the Anatolian town of Keskin, the local prosecutor, police commissar, and doctor lead a search for a victim of a murder to whom a suspect named Kenan and his mentally challenged brother confessed. However, the search is proving more difficult than expected as Kenan is fuzzy as to the body's exact location. As the group continues looking, its members can't help but chat among themselves about both trivia and their deepest concerns in an investigation that is proving more trying than any of them expected. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The movie premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival where it was a co-winner of the Grand Prix. See more »


While Arab and the doctor chat during the investigation, doctor sits in the front seat of the car (with the car door open, facing the field). The next scene, we see the doctor from the back, facing the field while standing. After that, while Arab is eating apple, we see doctor sitting in the front seat again. As they keep talking, it cuts to wide angle shot where we see the doctor standing again. See more »


Featured in The 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards (2013) See more »


Alli Turnam
Performed by Neset Ertas
Written by Haci Tasan
See more »

User Reviews

Excellent Comtemporary Turkish Cinema
4 October 2012 | by ronchowSee all my reviews

First of all I have to admit I never saw any film by Director Ceylan before 'Once Upon a Time in Anatolia'. But was I ever glad that I stumbled onto this remarkable film. His work will be on my radar screen from now on.

At over 150 minutes, and with little action and practically no musical score, this film may appear long for many. However, it had my attention for the entire length of the film. My interest to know more about each individual that formed the search party (the party was out trying to locate a dead body in the countryside at night), the stories behind each one of them, and what was beyond the obvious collectively glued me to the screen. Acting was first rate by all. Camera work was artistic and competent. Watching the film was like reading an interesting book in candle light - your eyes are strained but you still want to come to the end.

My only complaint is a good part of my attention was allocated to reading the subtitles, which can be fast at times, so I could not focus 100% on the acting and the images. To remedy that I had to watch it for a second time. I also share the sentiment from some reviewers on one particular scene - the emergence of the village head's young daughter to serve tea to all these weary male bodies, and the reaction by each as they looked up onto her kind and angelic face in surprise. This scene was very well timed and well done.

In summary, serious fan of international cinema should not miss this film. It is worth everyone of the 150+ minutes of your life.

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Release Date:

23 September 2011 (Turkey) See more »

Also Known As:

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia See more »

Filming Locations:

Turkey See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,952, 8 January 2012

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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