Once Upon a Time in America Review
By Christopher Null
I'm as big a fan of misogyny as the next guy, but how did this hateful and often tasteless Godfather ripoff become a classic? What, just because it's four hours long? Robert De Niro and James Woods are never hard to watch, but even here their take on Jewish gangsters in New York from 1900 to 1960 or so wears awfully thin as they brutalize one woman after another and get into the kind of mobster scrapes you've seen in upteen other movies. And after the top names, the talent roster is pretty thin. Treat Williams? Elizabeth McGovern?
This was Sergio Leone's final film (ah, that makes it a "classic," too), and he was hardly at the top of his game, having long since left the western genre that had made him famous -- in fact, at the time, he hadn't worked in a decade. The rustiness shows. Leone had forgotten how to tell a story, and though he knew well enough to hire great actors and create beautiful photographs, his muddled script (check out the writing credits) makes a mess out of an already overstuffed genre.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 28th September 1984
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
Production compaines: The Ladd Company
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 40 Rotten: 5
Cast & Crew
Starring: Robert De Niro as David 'Noodles' Aaronson, James Woods as Maximilian 'Max' Bercovicz, Elizabeth McGovern as Deborah Gelly, Tuesday Weld as Carol, Treat Williams as James Conway O'Donnell, James Hayden as Patrick 'Patsy' Goldberg, Joe Pesci as Frankie Minaldi, Larry Rapp as 'Fat' Moe Gelly, Danny Aiello as Police Chief Vincent Aiello, William Forsythe as Philip 'Cockeye' Stein, Burt Young as Joe, Scott Schutzman Tiler as Young Noodles, Rusty Jacobs as Young Max / David Bailey, Adrian Curran as Young Cockeye, Brian Bloom as Young Patsy, Noah Moazezi as Dominic, Darlanne Fluegel as Eve, Mike Monetti as Young 'Fat' Moe Gelly, Jennifer Connelly as Young Deborah, Clem Caserta as Al Capuano, Frank Gio as Beefy, James Russo as Bugsy, Richard Bright as Chicken Joe, Gerard Murphy as Crowning, Margherita Pace as doublure de Jennifer Connelly, Frank Sisto as Fred Capuano, Mike Gendel as Irving Gold, Jerry Strivelli as Johnny Capuano, Sandra Solberg as l'ami de Deborah jeune