Once Upon a Time in America
Want to See
Not Interested
Rate it ½ star
Rate it 1 star
Rate it 1½ stars
Rate it 2 stars
Rate it 2½ stars
Rate it 3 stars
Rate it 3½ stars
Rate it 4 stars
Rate it 4½ stars
Rate it 5 stars
Once Upon a Time in America
Though some viewers might be put off by its length, graphic violence, and absence of likable characters, Sergio Leone's final film is also a cinematic masterpiece. Spanning four decades, the film tells the story of David "Noodles" Aaronson (Robert De Niro) and his Jewish pals, chronicling their childhoods on New York's Lower East Side in the 1920s, through their gangster careers in the 1930s, and culminating in Noodles' 1968 return to New York from self-imposed exile, at which time he learns the truth about the fate of his friends and again confronts the nightmare of his… More

Available Online

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Sergio Leone's languid, lovely and lengthy ode to Lower East Side mobsters (more specifically, mobster films) ..."
‑ David Fear, Time Out New York
"A disappointment of considerable proportions."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"While Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in America" is not quite the masterpiece that some make it out to be due to its excess, there are still plenty of things to recommend about it."
‑ Jeff Beck, Examiner.com
"A striking tale of loyalty, love, friendship and ambition, Once Upon A Time is a work of technical beauty and sombre emotion."
‑ , Total Film
"Here was a filmmaker who specialized in pure, blistering images, and this operatic earthiness just doesn't play as well as the horrifying, salacious stuff."
‑ Steve Macfarlane, Slant Magazine
"Leone is less interested in arousing an audience's easier emotions than in presenting, at a dispassionate distance, the horror of two men warily walking toward each other on a tightrope suspended above the snake pit of their , deepest compulsions."
‑ Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"While Leone's vision still has a magnificent sweep, the film finally subsides to an emotional core that is sombre, even elegiac, and which centres on a man who is bent and broken by time, and finally left with nothing but an impotent sadness."
‑ , Time Out
"The film, photographed by Tonino Delli Colli, is striking to look at, especially its New York street scenes, which were shot in Manhattan, Montreal and a back lot near Rome. The acting is stunning."
‑ Ralph Novak, People Magazine
"Sergio Leone explores the seamiest byways of urban Americana through the story of two gangsters who start their partnership as Brooklyn kids in 1921 and tragically end it in the late '60s."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"Sad and vast yet compelling throughout, this remain Leone's most towering achievement."
‑ , Film4
"Every gesture is immediate, and every gesture seems eternal."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"There are times when we don't understand exactly what is happening, but never a time when we don't feel confidence in the film's narrative."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Just gasp at the scale, at the immaculate period reconstruction and at that incredible opening with its endlessly ringing phone."
‑ Adrian Turner, Radio Times
"A work of tremendous intellectual depth and emotional range"
‑ Dan Jardine, Cinemania
"Handsomely mounted beyond a shadow of a doubt, but as the final statement in Leone's career, it mostly makes me think of how fantastic his Westerns were."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
More reviews for Once Upon a Time in America on Rotten Tomatoes

More Like This

GoodFellas (1990)
The Untouchables
Road to Perdition
The Deer Hunter