Once Upon A Time In America


3h 47m 1984
Once Upon A Time In America

Brief Synopsis

Drama about the rise and fall of Jewish-American gangsters in New York at the beginning of the century through the 1960s.

Film Details

Also Known As
C'era una volta in America
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Release Date
1984
Location
Pinellas County, Florida, USA; Venice, Italy; Rome, Italy; New York City, New York, USA; Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 47m

Synopsis

Drama about the rise and fall of Jewish-American gangsters in New York at the beginning of the century through the 1960s.

Crew

Sonny Abagnale

Other

Francesca Alatri

Other

Fausto Ancillai

Sound

Franco Arcalli

Screenplay

Gabrio Astori

Editor

Steve Baker

Key Grip

Alessandro Baragli

Assistant Editor

Nino Baragli

Editor

Sandro Battaglia

Camera Assistant

Dennis Benatar

Assistant Director

Robert Benmussa

Consultant

Leo Benvenuti

Screenplay

Irving Berlin

Song

Sylvie Bourque

Casting

Dominique Bruballa

Accountant

Richard Bruno

Assistant

Helen Butler

Costumes

Fausto Capozzi

Accountant

Enzo Cardella

Hair

Fabrizio Castellani

Assistant Director

Patrizia Cerasani

Assistant Editor

Bruno Cesari

On-Set Dresser

Bruno Charrier

Boom Operator

Ornella Chistolini

Assistant Editor

Cis Corman

Casting

Randy Coronato

Hair

Randy Coronato

Makeup

Maria Teresa Corridoni

Hair

Mario Cotone

Production Supervisor

Louis Craig

Special Effects Assistant

Piero De Bernardi

Screenplay

Tonino Delli Colli

Director Of Photography

Osvaldo Desideri

On-Set Dresser

Augusto Diamanti

Key Grip

Diana Dimichele

Accountant

Gianni Dimichele

Production Auditor

Dr. Henry R Dwork

Makeup

Ronald Fauteux

Props

Franco Ferrini

Screenplay

Gianni Fiumi

Property Master

Marina Frassine

Assistant

Brian Freilino

Dialogue Director

Flo Galant

Casting

Albert Gamse

Theme Lyrics

George Gershwin

Music

Ira Gershwin

Theme Lyrics

James Giblin

Transportation Captain

Nello Giorgetti

Swing Gang

Harry Grey

Source Material (From Novel)

Norman Guy

Key Grip

Ginette Hardy

Production Manager

Herb Hetzer

Other

Dubois Heyward

Theme Lyrics

Otto Jacoby

Other

Nilo Jacoponi

Makeup

Stuart M Kaminsky

Writer (Dialogue)

Stuart M Kaminsky

Screenplay

Gail Kearns

Production Coordinator

Steve Kerschoff

Props

Ted Kurdyla

Production

Walter Kymkiw

Gaffer

Pierre Laberge

Location Manager

Joseph M Lacalle

Song

John Lennon

Song

Raffaella Leone

Assistant

Sergio Leone

Screenplay

Joey Litto

Construction Coordinator

Tullio Lullo

Construction Coordinator

Renata Magnanti

Hair

Claudio Mancini

Executive Producer

Maurizio Mancini

Editing

Romano Mancini

Gaffer

Sergio Marcotulli

Music

Walter Massi

Unit Manager

Paul Mccartney

Song

Enrico Medioli

Screenplay

George Messaris

Other

Elouise Meyer

Other

Arnon Milchan

Producer

Ennio Morricone

Music

Luca Morsella

Assistant Director

Giovanni Natalucci

Set Designer

John C Newby

Gaffer

Cescenzo Notarile

Camera Assistant

Angelo Novi

Photography

Margherita Pace

Stand-In

Tonino Palombi

Production Assistant

Gabriella Pescucci

Costume Designer

Cole Porter

Song

Francesco Molinari Pradelli

Music

Gretchen Rau

Set Decorator

Robert Rietti

Sound Editor

Manlio Rocchetti

Makeup

Sergio Rosa

Accountant

Gioacchino Antonio Rossini

Music

Robert Rothbard

Location Manager

Jean-pierre Ruh

Sound Engineer

Piero Sassaroli

Production Assistant

Antonio Scaramuzza

Camera Assistant

John Seakwood

Photography

Carlo Simi

Art Director

James Singelis

Art Director

Kate Smith

Song Performer

Benito Stefanelli

Stunt Coordinator

Nicholas Stevenson

Editor

Carlo Tafani

Camera Operator

Umberto Tirelli

Costumes

Umberto Tirelli

Wardrobe

Joy Todd

Casting

Vivi Tonini

Assistant Editor

Giorgio Venturoli

Assistant Editor

Gabe Vidella

Special Effects

Attilio Viti

Location Manager

Amy Wells

Assistant Director

Jennifer Wyckoff

Other

Gheorghe Zamfir

Assistant

Gino Zamprioli

Makeup

Paul Zydel

Adr Mixer

Film Details

Also Known As
C'era una volta in America
MPAA Rating
R
Genre
Drama
Release Date
1984
Location
Pinellas County, Florida, USA; Venice, Italy; Rome, Italy; New York City, New York, USA; Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 47m

Articles

Once Upon a Time in America


After the international success of his "Man with No Name" Western trilogy starring Clint Eastwood, which included the films A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), director Sergio Leone was already hard at work planning an ambitious passion project--one that he believed in so strongly that he turned down several offers, including the chance to direct an adaptation of Mario Puzo's The Godfather in 1972 (which was then given to director Francis Ford Coppola). For over a decade, Leone struggled to bring Harry Goldberg's semi-autobiographical novel The Hoods (written under the pseudonym Harry Grey) to the screen. By 1984, Leone's dream was finally realized when his epic Once Upon a Time in America debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. The film received glowing reviews from critics and was well-received by audiences at the festival, who gave the film an enthusiastic 15-minute standing ovation.

Unfortunately, American audiences did not see this original version of Leone's film, but instead a drastically edited 139-minute cut carried out by The Ladd Company (the American distributors for the film), which not only removed 90 minutes, but also inexplicably and recklessly took artistic license by rearranging scenes into chronological order--all without Leone's consent and input. The result was devastating, leading to a disastrous box office turnout, with critics panning what amounted to a hollow shell of Leone's masterwork and what would be the director's last film. As Roger Ebert quipped, after seeing both the Cannes release (known as the "European Cut") and the hacked-up American version, "This was a murdered movie..."

Once Upon a Time in America takes place in New York City, following a group of Jewish gangsters over the course of five decades: from their childhood, through their exploits during Prohibition and ending with their reunion later in life. They are bound by not only the criminal activities in which they orchestrate and take part in together, but by fierce loyalty and friendship to one another - a bond that is later tested when one betrays the other. The group is led by best friends Noodles and Max, with the adult versions of the characters played by Robert De Niro and James Woods. Over the course of the film's long development and pre-production, however, De Niro and Woods were not originally considered for the roles. Initially, Leone had cast Gérard Depardieu as Max, with Jean Gabin to step in as the aging Max. For Noodles, Leone wanted Richard Dreyfuss, who was one of the biggest stars at the time, and retired Hollywood legend James Cagney as the older version of the character. Leone toyed with casting several other prominent actors in the lead roles, including John Malkovich, Tom Berenger and Harvey Keitel. Eventually, Leone found his two leads in De Niro and Woods, rounding out an impressive cast with the young Elizabeth McGovern as Deborah (with Jennifer Connelly making her film debut as the young Deborah); Burt Young, best known for his role of Paulie in the Rocky series; Tuesday Weld; and Joe Pesci as Frankie, who was cast by Leone in the role as a favor to De Niro, a good friend of Pesci's.

In 1973, 11 years prior to the film's release, Leone met with De Niro to get a feel for the actor and to gauge his interest in the project, which was in the beginning stages of development. Their first meeting did not go as planned, with De Niro offended by Leone's behavior thinking the director was trying to assert some sort of dominance over him. Fortunately, the film's producer Arnon Milchan was able to ease any concerns between the actor and director, and the two worked very well together. Leone was known for his relentless perfectionism, often calling for dozens of takes of crowded, expensive scenes. De Niro was also known for his perfectionism, which was a natural fit for Leone's style. De Niro's co-star, James Woods, felt differently. He was often annoyed by De Niro's embrace of the "method" acting that was and is synonymous with the famous Actors Studio. Despite Woods's opinion on De Niro's acting style, he was quite proud to be part of the film and has said on multiple occasions that he considers it to be Leone's best work.

While Once Upon a Time in America is set in the gritty streets of New York City, the vast majority of the film was shot at the legendary Cinecittà Studios in Rome, Italy, as well as on location filming in Paris, Montreal and St. Petersburg, Florida. However, some filming did take place in New York, specifically in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, which was a predominately Jewish neighborhood. The notoriously detailed-oriented Leone made sure all of the locations within the neighborhood were absolutely authentic, successfully transforming the area to look like it once did in the 1920s.

Leone took nine months to film Once Upon a Time in America with a goal of releasing two films, running about three hours each. He was forced to compromise and cut the film down to 269 minutes, which was not going to fly with the film's producers. Leone compromised once more, trimming the film down to 229 minutes, which is what the audiences at Cannes and throughout Europe saw when it was released in 1984. In 2012, director/producer and champion of all things film, both foreign and domestic, Martin Scorsese worked diligently to restore as much of Leone's original cut as possible, resulting in a cut lasting 251 minutes, which debuted at Cannes that year and is now available on home video.

Unfortunately, the remaining 18 minutes in Leone's original cut are unavailable due to various legal issues over ownership of those scenes. Unlike other "incomplete" films, such as Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), the "missing" footage exists, leading many to believe that it will be available to watch as Leone originally intended.

Director: Sergio Leone
Screenplay: Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi, Enrico Medioli, Franco Arcalli, Franco Ferrini and Sergio Leone
Producer: Arnon Milchan
Cinematography: Tonino Delli Colli
Editing: Nino Baragli
Music: Ennio Morricone
Cast: Robert De Niro (Noodles), James Woods (Max), Elizabeth McGovern (Deborah), Treat Williams (Jimmy O'Donnell), Tuesday Weld (Carol), Burt Young (Joe), Joe Pesci (Frankie), Danny Aiello (Police Chief Aiello) and William Forsythe (Cockeye)
C-229 min

References
https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/70066/13-epic-facts-about-once-upon-time-america https://books.google.com/books?id=mcoBAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA16&hl=en&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false
https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/once-upon-a-time-in-america-1984

By Jill Blake
Once Upon A Time In America

Once Upon a Time in America

After the international success of his "Man with No Name" Western trilogy starring Clint Eastwood, which included the films A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), director Sergio Leone was already hard at work planning an ambitious passion project--one that he believed in so strongly that he turned down several offers, including the chance to direct an adaptation of Mario Puzo's The Godfather in 1972 (which was then given to director Francis Ford Coppola). For over a decade, Leone struggled to bring Harry Goldberg's semi-autobiographical novel The Hoods (written under the pseudonym Harry Grey) to the screen. By 1984, Leone's dream was finally realized when his epic Once Upon a Time in America debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. The film received glowing reviews from critics and was well-received by audiences at the festival, who gave the film an enthusiastic 15-minute standing ovation. Unfortunately, American audiences did not see this original version of Leone's film, but instead a drastically edited 139-minute cut carried out by The Ladd Company (the American distributors for the film), which not only removed 90 minutes, but also inexplicably and recklessly took artistic license by rearranging scenes into chronological order--all without Leone's consent and input. The result was devastating, leading to a disastrous box office turnout, with critics panning what amounted to a hollow shell of Leone's masterwork and what would be the director's last film. As Roger Ebert quipped, after seeing both the Cannes release (known as the "European Cut") and the hacked-up American version, "This was a murdered movie..." Once Upon a Time in America takes place in New York City, following a group of Jewish gangsters over the course of five decades: from their childhood, through their exploits during Prohibition and ending with their reunion later in life. They are bound by not only the criminal activities in which they orchestrate and take part in together, but by fierce loyalty and friendship to one another - a bond that is later tested when one betrays the other. The group is led by best friends Noodles and Max, with the adult versions of the characters played by Robert De Niro and James Woods. Over the course of the film's long development and pre-production, however, De Niro and Woods were not originally considered for the roles. Initially, Leone had cast Gérard Depardieu as Max, with Jean Gabin to step in as the aging Max. For Noodles, Leone wanted Richard Dreyfuss, who was one of the biggest stars at the time, and retired Hollywood legend James Cagney as the older version of the character. Leone toyed with casting several other prominent actors in the lead roles, including John Malkovich, Tom Berenger and Harvey Keitel. Eventually, Leone found his two leads in De Niro and Woods, rounding out an impressive cast with the young Elizabeth McGovern as Deborah (with Jennifer Connelly making her film debut as the young Deborah); Burt Young, best known for his role of Paulie in the Rocky series; Tuesday Weld; and Joe Pesci as Frankie, who was cast by Leone in the role as a favor to De Niro, a good friend of Pesci's. In 1973, 11 years prior to the film's release, Leone met with De Niro to get a feel for the actor and to gauge his interest in the project, which was in the beginning stages of development. Their first meeting did not go as planned, with De Niro offended by Leone's behavior thinking the director was trying to assert some sort of dominance over him. Fortunately, the film's producer Arnon Milchan was able to ease any concerns between the actor and director, and the two worked very well together. Leone was known for his relentless perfectionism, often calling for dozens of takes of crowded, expensive scenes. De Niro was also known for his perfectionism, which was a natural fit for Leone's style. De Niro's co-star, James Woods, felt differently. He was often annoyed by De Niro's embrace of the "method" acting that was and is synonymous with the famous Actors Studio. Despite Woods's opinion on De Niro's acting style, he was quite proud to be part of the film and has said on multiple occasions that he considers it to be Leone's best work. While Once Upon a Time in America is set in the gritty streets of New York City, the vast majority of the film was shot at the legendary Cinecittà Studios in Rome, Italy, as well as on location filming in Paris, Montreal and St. Petersburg, Florida. However, some filming did take place in New York, specifically in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, which was a predominately Jewish neighborhood. The notoriously detailed-oriented Leone made sure all of the locations within the neighborhood were absolutely authentic, successfully transforming the area to look like it once did in the 1920s. Leone took nine months to film Once Upon a Time in America with a goal of releasing two films, running about three hours each. He was forced to compromise and cut the film down to 269 minutes, which was not going to fly with the film's producers. Leone compromised once more, trimming the film down to 229 minutes, which is what the audiences at Cannes and throughout Europe saw when it was released in 1984. In 2012, director/producer and champion of all things film, both foreign and domestic, Martin Scorsese worked diligently to restore as much of Leone's original cut as possible, resulting in a cut lasting 251 minutes, which debuted at Cannes that year and is now available on home video. Unfortunately, the remaining 18 minutes in Leone's original cut are unavailable due to various legal issues over ownership of those scenes. Unlike other "incomplete" films, such as Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), the "missing" footage exists, leading many to believe that it will be available to watch as Leone originally intended. Director: Sergio Leone Screenplay: Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi, Enrico Medioli, Franco Arcalli, Franco Ferrini and Sergio Leone Producer: Arnon Milchan Cinematography: Tonino Delli Colli Editing: Nino Baragli Music: Ennio Morricone Cast: Robert De Niro (Noodles), James Woods (Max), Elizabeth McGovern (Deborah), Treat Williams (Jimmy O'Donnell), Tuesday Weld (Carol), Burt Young (Joe), Joe Pesci (Frankie), Danny Aiello (Police Chief Aiello) and William Forsythe (Cockeye) C-229 min References https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/70066/13-epic-facts-about-once-upon-time-america https://books.google.com/books?id=mcoBAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA16&hl=en&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/once-upon-a-time-in-america-1984 By Jill Blake

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States June 1984

Released in United States May 19, 1984

Released in United States October 23, 1992

Released in United States September 1984

Released in United States Summer June 1, 1984

Shown at Cannes Film Festival May 19, 1984.

Shown at New York Film Festival September 1984.

Fall 1992 re-release is the first theatrical release in the USA of the full-length director's cut seen internationally. The 1984 US version was cut by 90 minutes, losing a lot of continuity. The international version was released in the US on video prior to Fall 1992.

Released in USA on video.

Completed shooting April 1984.

Released in United States May 19, 1984 (Shown at Cannes Film Festival May 19, 1984.)

Released in United States June 1984 (short USA version)

Released in United States Summer June 1, 1984

Released in United States September 1984 (Shown at New York Film Festival September 1984.)

Released in United States October 23, 1992 (director's cut; Los Angeles)