Once Upon a Time in America Movie Review

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.


Once Upon a Time in America Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, 1984


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