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Once Upon a Time in America (Disc 1 of 2) back to product details

A Classic that Holds Up
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written by talltale June 11, 2004 - 3:15 PM PDT
5 out of 7 members found this review helpful
No doubt about it--ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA is a great, a wondrous movie. It's Leone's best by a long shot: everything that GANGS OF NEW YORK should have been and more. That it's nearly 20 years old and still holds up to our landmark "criminal history" films is further testament to its greatness. Its cast has never been better: What a pleasure to see DeNiro, Woods, McGovern, Weld, a very young Jennifer Connelly and more--all doing such a terrific job. Yes, the movie has its flaws (there is a contrived feel to the penultimate scenes), but given the richness, complexity and beauty of what is here, this ranks among the all-time greats. Even the sex scenes are classics: the would-be Charlotte Russe trade-off, two very different rapes, and the later "identification" scene. The wonderful innocent charm of the former; the shock, shame and power of one of the rapes; and the all-stops-out sleaziness of the second, coupled with the utter, gutter humor of its outcome--well, these are amazing. Even considering the no-holds-barred state of our current cinema, nothing like these scenes have been accomplished before or since. Best of all, the women come off as powerfully as the men. While you may have seen the originally-released (and badly hacked-up) video years ago and still enjoyed it. But until you've experienced this complete (nearly four-hour) version, you can't get near the giant, tragic, throbbing heart of this splendid film.

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(Average 7.56)
180 Votes
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