Nov. 16, 2008, 9:58 p.m. CST
Nov. 16, 2008, 10:09 p.m. CST
by britney spears rusted clit ring
HAH u won this one! Seriously..this is my fav movie!!
Nov. 16, 2008, 10:13 p.m. CST
I was probably about 11 years old and Tuesday Weld as well as the chubby young whore gave me a major woody.
Nov. 16, 2008, 10:15 p.m. CST
Leone probably IS the greatest pure visual storyteller of all time.
Nov. 16, 2008, 10:21 p.m. CST
whenever that bank-robbery scene comes up. Particularly the parts involving Tuesday Weld...<p> </p>It makes you wonder just what manner of person owns these DVDs before you stumble across them. o_O
Nov. 16, 2008, 10:22 p.m. CST
by Catbarf the 12th
I'm not sure if I'm getting all the details right here, but I recall my film prof told me this was originally theatrically released in the US with nearly 2 hours removed from the 4-hour cut, and what remained was re-edited in chronogical order (instead of jumping around in time as Quint describes). Apparently it's a serious hatchet job, which got terrible reviews, and should be avoided at all costs... and renters and buyers beware, it might still be in print!
Nov. 16, 2008, 10:33 p.m. CST
by Catbarf the 12th
Or at least not Catholic... they're Jewish! The movie refers to this explicitly throughout. My film prof , who specialized in depictions of Jews in cinema, said it was a little pun on Leone's part... an Italian-owned film studio making a movie about Jewish gangsters. There was nothing overly mean-spirited about it, but apparently Leone was getting a little sick of all the bad press for Italians, even though he loved the genre. Were there Irish gangsters in this too? Memory dims... I gotta see this again. But Oh do I ever remember how painful this movie is. When it wants to hurt you, it STINGS. The violence and cruelty, while not graphic, is the psychological kind that haunts you for years afterwards. The relationship between Di Niro and McGovern's characters (and the child versions thereof) is one of the most painful lost innocence stories I've EVER seen. Truly a great gangster film, right up there with the all-time classics, and frequently overlooked.
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:01 p.m. CST
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:05 p.m. CST
Wow, I feel kinda special, there is a movie I have seen (several times) before Quint. I wonder if this signals the end of the world. This is definitely in my top 5 for gangster movies.
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:07 p.m. CST
...The two instances of rather graphic sexual violence. Just not something all that prominent in epic gangster movies is all. Still never seen this flick on DVD.
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:12 p.m. CST
by Darth Thoth
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:16 p.m. CST
Once Upon a Time in America I mean... not Epic Movie.
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:35 p.m. CST
and some young Jennifer Connolly ass. Although I'm not sure it was really hers or what. Anyway, she was far too young at the time.
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:39 p.m. CST
by Catbarf the 12th
Yeah, the rapes were sickening. The Weld one was creeeeeepy because she actually gets turned on by it. The other one with McGovern is just heartbreaking. Some of the most potent R stuff ever... I saw this movie nearly 20 years ago and I squirm whenever I think of the title of this movie because of these scenes. It's still a masterpiece though.
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:46 p.m. CST
By far. The emotional impact of that scene is incredible. That's the point where Noodles doesn't just choose the wrong path, but permanently kills the innocence of their love, shatters it into a million pieces, beyond repair. Neither one should be fun to watch, but the McGovern one represents so much more than violent lust... plus Weld weirdly enjoys that and it turns from rape to consentual sex, somehow. McGovern is screaming no the whole time. It's a heartbreaking scene.
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:47 p.m. CST
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:48 p.m. CST
is easily the greatest western movie I have ever seen. i even rewatched The Good, The Bad, The Ugly today to make sure. Nope, Once Upon A Time in the West is better!<p>Now when the hell do I get to test that on The Good The Bad The Weird damnit?!!! WHEN?!!
Nov. 16, 2008, 11:53 p.m. CST
by Tom Cullen
A truly epic film, and you're right Quint, no one makes films like Leone. There's just a visual poetry to his films that really was all his own. It's just a damn shame that he died before he could make the epic war film he was planning to direct about the battle of Leningrad. <p>It also always surprises me how many Leone fans have never seen Once Upon A Time in America, or, perhaps even more surprisingly, even A Fistful of Dynamite (aka Duck, You Sucker, aka Once Upon A Time... The Revolution), especially as the latter was his last western, and is an absolute overlooked gem in my opinion, with a first rate lead performance by James Coburn. Rod Steiger was pretty damn good too. Definitely a must see for anyone who hasn't checked it out and loves Leone, particularly now that it's been restored in recent years.
Nov. 17, 2008, 12:16 a.m. CST
Sergio Leone is unquestionably on the list of best directors, somewhere near the top I'd say. Once upon a Time in America is in my top five favorite gnagster flicks. It's so damn good.
Nov. 17, 2008, 12:29 a.m. CST
This film is great. I really love how Leone's films always take a genre and short of show us something that we don't see. For example, so much of the brilliance of his MWNN Trilogy (looking historically) is that the film was one of the first westerns to really paint the cowboy archetype in a different light (or shadow). He showed us his cowboy--the antithesis of the prepackaged-idealistic-"moral-driven" Cowboys and Sheriffs of the American west. And the same is true with this movie. He really shows the parts of gangster movies that aren't shown. It de-romanticizes them--beautifully.
Nov. 17, 2008, 12:47 a.m. CST
Richard Schickel does a great audio commentary on the DVD for Once Upon A Time In America. In it he brings up a popular theory that much of the movie is in fact just an opium dream that De Niro is having. The movie begins and ends with De Niro in an Opium Den in 1933. You seem him smoke the pipe and then you get a strange transition involving a telephone ringing. The editing in the movie has a very specific meaning and purpose that make it seem like a dream. Opium users have reported that when high they often dream about the past and possible future. Also you will notice that between 1933 and 1968 Elizabeth McGovern hasn't aged at all. That's because that's how De Niro remembers her. Also the way James Woods Disappears at the end behind the garbage truck is very eerie and dream like. The last shot shows De Niro in the opium den and he's smiling. There are a lot more hints that support this theory. It's one that I truly believe Leone intended.
Nov. 17, 2008, 1:04 a.m. CST
It is not Tuesday Weld who is killed in the opening scene. She's still alive during the 1960s scenes; she's the old gray-haired lady De Niro briefly speaks to before meeting with Deborah. The woman who gets killed is De Niro's girlfriend Eve, played by Darlanne Fleugel. It's a small part (she only has one other scene in the movie), but she's meant to be his rebound girl of sorts. It's an easy mistake to make, though.
Nov. 17, 2008, 1:08 a.m. CST
by Voice O. Reason
This movie is discussed at great length in the documentary "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession."
Nov. 17, 2008, 1:10 a.m. CST
by Voice O. Reason
While interesting, I have to wonder how Noodles was able to accurately predict future history up to 1968 while being high on opium.
Nov. 17, 2008, 1:12 a.m. CST
by The Dum Guy
Not for the movie itself, but the fact that Netflix (I sent an e-mail b/c of it) only sent one of the discs and for some reason never sent the 2nd one... I've never been able to see the whole film, and I am less of person for it?
Nov. 17, 2008, 1:30 a.m. CST
by Voice O. Reason
The video is streamed, and the picture is DVD quality.
Nov. 17, 2008, 1:59 a.m. CST
by The Dum Guy
I got the movie from them awhile back, so I shall now (sometime in the future) try to see it again... although, I do wish I could have done so from the comfort of my own bed (and without the worry of load times).<br><br>Anyhoot, I still recommend Netflix, if only for the selections available.
Nov. 17, 2008, 2:48 a.m. CST
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST is still my favorite Leone picture, but this one is like up there somewhere.
Nov. 17, 2008, 3:57 a.m. CST
by Lazarus Long
McGovern seeming like she hasn't aged is, I think, done on purpose. For one, she's in heavy theatrical makeup for her performance, and you see her removing it as her scene with DeNiro progresses. But more importantly, I believe we're seeing her through Noodles' eyes. Deborah is appearing in Shakespeare's play Antony and Cleopatra, and Noodles quotes from the text: "Age cannot wither her", and then comments "It's like the play was written for you". So I believe he's viewing her as she was the last time he saw her. I will say that the ending in the opium den is one of the most tragically beautiful conclusions I've seen in cinema. It ends elliptically, touching back where the film started, but here you see Noodles about to disappear into a haze where he can forget everything. This is before he escapes, goes into exile, becomes old, and then has to face his regrets by coming back to the scene of his crimes. He'd likely be better off staying in that haze, and that Leone chooses this place to leave him, a smile on his face, is almost enough to make one weep. One of my favorite films of all time.
Nov. 17, 2008, 4:08 a.m. CST
by DC Films
The only filmmaker in his league is Kubrick. Most either excel in mainstream OR arthouse. Only these two filmmakers span both equally and successfully. For me, Leone has the edge, with slightly more heart - cynicism is easier than optimism without cliche; Leone manages it with aplomb. I think Tarantino is the closest we have to this right now, but he needs to be braver and experiment with optimism, before he approaches the league of Leone.
Nov. 17, 2008, 5:34 a.m. CST
Nice to see this appreciated. Apart from the incredible film itself, I personally believe that this movie - uniquely - has the PERFECT score, which has never been equalled. In my all-time top 5 movies.
Nov. 17, 2008, 5:52 a.m. CST
make sure to see ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES. It's my personal favorite of his and Cagney's amazing in it.
Nov. 17, 2008, 6:19 a.m. CST
by Righteous Brother
fantastic film, very quotable, loved this film when I was a kid. Still do.
Nov. 17, 2008, 6:38 a.m. CST
I see you have that one coming up soon. I just watched it a couple of weeks ago...decent film, but nothing special. I will commend it for having a likable George Raft performance, which is a rarity.
Nov. 17, 2008, 6:45 a.m. CST
but that rape scene did disturb me. All that time I thought he is on the wrong path but there was always hope that he can redeem himself. but after the rape, man, he was beyond fucking redemption and somehow the rest of the film bacame so bitter for me, especially after such a great first half of pure innocence and wicked charm. I have watched this film a couple of times in its entirety and it is a truly great film but somehow I find myself watching just the first half several times. Oh, if Quint hasnt seen Fistful of Dynamite, then I hope he adds that to the list to reinforce the greatness of Leone as master director who I think is woefully underrated and should be ranked along with the elite.
Nov. 17, 2008, 6:52 a.m. CST
Once Upon A Time In America was one of the first Movies dealing with Gangsters that I really enjoyed as a kid and got me interested in the whole genre (The other(s) being the Godfather I & II). I recently watched this movie on DVD and it still holds up well after all these years since it was made. The story is good, you got DeNiro ('nuff said) and Woods (what a low down crazy fuck he is in this Movie) and a pretty good supporting cast that is fun to watch and realize who they all are too (Tuesday Weld, Treat Williams, Danny Aiello, Burt Young, Jennifer Connelly and Elizabeth Perkins...just to name a few). The one thing about the DVD that REALLY bugs me? Why was it cut in half and the "Intermission" part still left in like back when it was on Video? I found that really, really annoying and uncalled for
Nov. 17, 2008, 7 a.m. CST
by Drunken Rage
Which isn't saying much, because I didn't like that one, either. Movie is terribly paced, not well-acted, script is very weak and just doesn't work. Yes, the score is very good, yes, the rape scenes are brutal, but... what about the incredibly bad "old age" make-up? What about the telephone that rings 17 times to signify a "memory" transition? No, those aren't good things and the man who directed "Once Upon a Time in the West." Yeah, Leone was very good but this is really inferior stuff.
Nov. 17, 2008, 7:15 a.m. CST
One of my favourite cinema experiences was seeing this on the big screen a few years ago, the full 4 hour version. I actually loved the telephone ringing scene, it felt like it was never going to stop! and the ending, infuriating but genius
Nov. 17, 2008, 7:18 a.m. CST
by L. Ron Bumquist
Hey Quint, has watching all these classy films like this and Barry Lyndon changed the way you evaluate films in general? You should check out more European flicks. Have you seen any Andrei Tarkovsky?
Nov. 17, 2008, 7:36 a.m. CST
All the nuts creaming themselves over the Star Trek trailer need to take a long, hard look at this film.
Nov. 17, 2008, 8:23 a.m. CST
And it left a permanent mark, as Sergio Leone movies tend to do. What a visionary the man was. And Leone was (and STILL is) one of the greatest talents in film history. --And I think to myself,...if only Michael Bay would take a close look at what made Sergio Leone great...because, in a sense, they share the same eye for the visual. Unfortunately, Leone and Bay share little else.
Nov. 17, 2008, 9:06 a.m. CST
by Spandau Belly
I'd say DePalma is as good with camera work as Leone. Sadly, DePalma has wasted his visual eye an awful lot of stinkers, whereas even Leone's worst movie, 'Duck You Sucker', is still actually pretty good and visually brilliant.
Nov. 17, 2008, 9:29 a.m. CST
by Catbarf the 12th
this is irritating on purpose (like the SFX before the shootout in Once Upon a Time in the West) and I kind of liked it. Hahahah
Nov. 17, 2008, 9:38 a.m. CST
by Mr. A
When first released this film it was so badly butchered down it was incomprehensible. Thankfully we now get to see it in a finished form. By the way, Paramount neglected to enter Morricone's score into the oscar competition that year. Do you believe that?
Nov. 17, 2008, 10:09 a.m. CST
De Palma is far less original than Leone. De Palma's films are an amalgamation of other directors' work, such as Hitchcock, Argento and Leone himself. Then again it could be argued that Leone was the first post-modern film director and that de Palma follows in that line. You could also throw in Tarantino into that category of director.
Nov. 17, 2008, 10:32 a.m. CST
by IndyAbbey Jones
its such a long film, that its hard to watch and take it all in on one veiwing, the rape scenes are brilliant though, they do exactly what leone intended which is too make the audience terrified and fell pity for the characters <P>oh and what is up with the film break on the DVD, disc one ends, and then Disc two starts for 10 mins then theres the intermission, you telling me they couldn't fit 10 more mins onto disc one to have the intented intermission appear between disc...when is this movie gonna be on bluray where we can watch it all at once without changing discs<P>oh and WB was the distributer, not paramount..but yes they fucked up during the release by editing the film, it should have won so many awrds, but instead it was ripped apart and no one saw it
Nov. 17, 2008, 11:16 a.m. CST
Once Upon a Time in America to Salvador, which also has a really fucking harsh rape scene with some nuns, which brings to mind Last House on the Left.<p> Out of the two movies I far prefer Salvador, however. It may be uneven- it may start out like Where the Buffalo Roam and end like The Killing Fields, but it leaves me with that feeling that I started the movie one person and ended it another in a way that Once Upon a Time...doesn't quite manage. James Woods would probably say he prefers Leone's movie, as I think I remember reading that he actually walked out on Salvador at one point, when he thought that Oliver Stone had blurred the lines between fiction and reality.
"Leone's worst movie, 'Duck You Sucker', is still actually pretty good and visually brilliant." Actually Leone's worst film is Collassis of Rhodes"
Nov. 17, 2008, 11:25 a.m. CST
A talkback on this Sergio Leone masterpiece. Will you be doing a talkback on The Good the Bad and the Ugly any time soon?
Nov. 17, 2008, 11:58 a.m. CST
But I wish you showed more talent in writing about it. Aside from being full of spoilers, your prose -- when juxtaposed with the genius of this movie -- is made to look even more shallow and simple minded. Your ability to appreciate this widely underestimated film is admirable, Quint, but you need to work much harder on your writing style and your powers of observation.
Nov. 17, 2008, 12:05 p.m. CST
by Spandau Belly
Well, I'll agree that DePalma has way more turds on his resume. <br><br>As for who is more original in their visual style. Yeah, DePalma samples Hitchcock and Argento, but Leone also samples Kurosawa and even remade on of his films. And Leone mostly worked with one type of landscape and a lot of his stories were similiar.<br><br>Don't get me wrong, Fistful of Dollars is one of the best remakes out there. I love it and I love Leone. DePalma is more of a mixed bag and has worked in a broader scope of genres. But I'm not going trash either of these guys just for having influences. But I will say DePalma can build sequences visually just as well as Leone.<br><br>I'll also throw David Lean in the mix for guys who can really work patient visual sequences to the max.
Nov. 17, 2008, 12:16 p.m. CST
No contest. DePalma: Has talent. Lacks taste.
Nov. 17, 2008, 12:48 p.m. CST
I would compare it to Michael Corleone having Fredo killed. It ended any chance of redemption for Noodles. A horrible scene.
Nov. 17, 2008, 12:50 p.m. CST
you omit Kubrick? clearly you need to add 2001 and Barry Lyndon to your watching list, sir. for a start at least, get the rest of his films thereafter. no doubting the high quality of the directors you mention, but are you sure they are all visual storytellers? Spielberg rarely trusts his audience with visuals alone, for one.
Nov. 17, 2008, 1:01 p.m. CST
was indeed a harsh, unsettling watching experience, but well worth the effort. i don't recall Woods ever being as good in anything as he was here, and it's easily one of De Niro's best from a time when he gave his best, never mind the paycheck films he takes on these days. if you haven't seen it, well, go get it and watch! good luck with Salvador; it's probably Woods' second best to this, and after seeing it you wonder how the hell it all went wrong for Belushi career wise, he was ace in it.
Nov. 17, 2008, 1:08 p.m. CST
I usually don't like hard-left political movies but the characters in this movie are so great that I didn't give a crap about Stone's preaching. After SALVADOR James Woods was typecasted as for a while. He did a lot of mediocre movies in the 80s playing basically that same guy.
Nov. 17, 2008, 1:57 p.m. CST
Thank you Quint! I agree very much with your views of this fantastic Leone film. I look forward to reading more soon.
Nov. 17, 2008, 2:47 p.m. CST
character, when he's one of the few actors that is an open Republican. I guess he either a) hadn't yet settled down into his Republican stance (it took almost getting filleted by an airplane rotor for that), or b) he, you know, did his job and ACTED, partisan politics be damned. I'm banking on option A.
Nov. 17, 2008, 2:49 p.m. CST
I don't know why I'm talking about it here. Can't I wait a day? I guess I'll C&P it in the first post of the next Movie of the Day talkback...just so I can skew the thing into another Republicans VS Democrats master-debate. Bwahahaha!
Nov. 17, 2008, 3:50 p.m. CST
That's about all you need to know. A genius. Check out the documentary "Something To Do With Death" if you haven't already seen it - at least part of it's on YouTube...
Nov. 17, 2008, 4:22 p.m. CST
Let me get this right, a film critic of a cult website hadn't seen OUATIAmerica, Point Blank, Rio Bravo, Papillon, Cat People, Shadow of a Doubt, Laura, a Bucket of Blood, Barry Lyndon, A Shot in the Dark, Red River or the Elephant Man..? I find this suspect, I've seen them all and I'm a 22yr old Brit.
Nov. 17, 2008, 5:56 p.m. CST
Leone pads the beginning with an hour of Tom and Jerry cartoons.
Nov. 17, 2008, 5:58 p.m. CST
He's seen them now. That's the point of this column. I'm sure there are plenty of things Quint's seen that you haven't. To reveal my shortcomings, I still haven't seen Once Upon A Time In The West and I'm about as crazy a film nut as there is. <p> I've seen Once Upon A Time In America once and the opium dream theory makes sense to me. I can't remember if I heard the theroy before or after viewing, or just intuited it while watching. Was lucky enough to hear Woods speak in person about how much he loves this movie. He told of Morricone playing the whole score on the piano for just a few people--before they shot anything--and how amazing it was to hear it.<p> Salvador's terrific. You're in for a treat. If you've never seen Cop starring Woods, check it out. I think it's an overlooked gem.
Nov. 17, 2008, 9:07 p.m. CST
Truly an epic. They just don't make movies like this anymore...and that is sad.
Nov. 17, 2008, 9:23 p.m. CST
Almost an hour was taken out of it when Warners opened it in U.S. theatres.... And I seem to remember one of the many producers was none other than Mark Damon (the young stud of "Fall Of The House Of Usher"...who later evolved into some kind of international movie wheeler-dealer) And the DeNiro/McGovern scene still stands as one of the saddest, more repulsive moments in modern cinema.
Nov. 18, 2008, 8 p.m. CST
The U.S. abortion looks like a trailer for the European release. The American cut is linear while Leone's edit oscillates between the past and present. And DON'T screen the TV revision; heavily censored (SPOILER AHEAD: James Wood's character suicidally leaps into a trash compactor [off-screen]. In the TV mutilation, you hear the sound of a gun shot, implying that Woods opted for a more conventional method. Dreadful).
Nov. 23, 2008, 3:10 p.m. CST
Far exceeds DePalma and is at least on par with Leone.
Nov. 5, 2009, 9:04 p.m. CST
This man is who i will be like.