ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (c`era una volta in america) (1983 U.S. ITALY) D/W: SERGIO LEONE W: LEONARDO BENVENUTI/PIERO DE BERNARDI/ENRICO MEDIOLI/FRANCO ARCALI/FRANCO FERRINI/ERNESTO GASTALDI (uncredited) P: ARNON MILCHAN
Fragmented, non-linear and dreamlike gangster epic (running almost four hours) spans five decades. Four Jewish street hoodlums from Brooklyn rise through the ranks of crime during prohibition. Harry Grey`s novel The Hoods formed the biographical backbone, but Leone very much spins his own yarn around it. It deserves to be recognised along with the likes of THE GODFATHER and GOODFELLAS as a true classic of it`s kind. Robert DeNiro, James Woods, William Forsythe and James Hayden (who died from a heroin overdose the same year) are the adult stars, played by Scott Schutzman Tiler, Rusty Jacobs, Brian Bloom (who features in my favourite scene involving a cake) and Adrien Curran as kids. With Elizabeth McGovern, Treat Williams, Tuesday Weld, Joe Pesci, Burt Young (who`s excellent), Danny Aiello, Darlanne Fluegel, Richard Bright, Mario Brega, James Russo, a very young Jennifer Connelly in her debut before starring in PHENOMENA and Milchan. Music by Ennio Morricone, shot by Tonino Delli Colli. Leone never made another film. He died in 1989, and his proposed Once Upon A Time In Russia never got off the ground.

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