One review on 02 Dec 2023

USA 1984

Running time: 229 mins

Once Upon a Time in America

Director : Sergio Leone 

Setting: New York
Summary: Epic following the rise and demise of a street urchin gang turned bootleggers turned crime syndicate


  • Robert de Niro  Noodles
  • James Woods  Max
  • Elizabeth McGovern  Deborah

Aspect Ratio: 1.85 widescreen

Colour: Colour

Sound: Mono

Camera: 35mm

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First Seen: Sat 2nd Dec 2023
Last Seen: Sun 3rd Dec 2023
Catalogued: 6th Dec 2023


Intercutting between 3 main story periods - the 5 kids (Noodles, Max, Pasty, Cockeye, and Dominic) proto-gang in the 1920s, the gang on the rise in the 1930s after Noodles' (de Niro) spell in prison, and Noodles' return in the 60's after 35 years of exile to try and uncover the secrets of the past - and what hapened to the contents of the mysterious brown suitcase in a left luggae locker (the Macguffin).

Centres on the triangle between Noodles, Max and Deborah (the gang's other childhood friend Fat Moe's sister who rises to become a big Hollywood star).


by rogerco on Sat 2nd Dec 2023 Streamed proj @ home

Languid with Violence


Slow, but not boringly wrong (seen over 2 nights)

Full review

Watched over two successive nights so it didn't seem too long. It is very slow and intense paced with occassional bursts of action. Very much the style Leone pioneered or brought to the fore with the spaghetti westerns. 

Elizabeth McGovern is far too baby faced to play the older 1960s Deborah when she would be over 60. De Niro and Woods and the rest of the gang and hangers-on manage the transistion from teenage/young men to the 60s ok. (we know they were all born in 1905 ish from gravestones). This rather mars the closing sections. They are all played by different child actors as young boys in the 1920s.

The cutting between timelines is sometimes confusing. I didn't get the final twist until near the end, although it is telegraphed early on.


xbFilms by CrOsborne