Once Apon A Time In America
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Once Upon A Time In America - Noodles peeping scene (1080p)
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It was the final film directed by Leone before his death five years later, and the first feature film he had directed in 13 years. Leone originally envisaged two three-hour films, then a single minute 4 hours and 29 minutes version, but was convinced by distributors to shorten it to minutes 3 hours and 49 minutes. The American distributors, The Ladd Company, further shortened it to minutes 2 hours and 19 minutes , and rearranged the scenes into chronological order, without Leone's involvement.
The shortened version was a critical and commercial flop in the United States, and critics who had seen both versions harshly condemned the changes that were made. The original "European cut" has remained a critical favorite and frequently appears in lists of the greatest gangster films of all time. In , three thugs search for a man called "Noodles", torturing people for information. They enter a wayang theater, where the proprietors slip into a hidden opium den within the building and warn Noodles.
He is apathetic, drugged and grasping a newspaper featuring the demise of bootleggers Patrick Goldberg, Philip Stein and Maximilian Bercovicz. He recalls observing police removing their corpses, Bercovicz's burned beyond recognition. Noodles evades capture, but learns that his girlfriend Eve has been murdered and his money stolen, and leaves the city. Max foils one of their robberies, only to have the booty stolen from him by a corrupt police officer.
Using evidence of the officer's trysts with an underage prostitute as blackmail, the five youngsters start a gang with the same level of police protection as Bugsy. Max and Noodles become best friends. The group rises through the ranks after implementing Noodles' idea to hide bootleg liquor. They stash half their earnings in a railway station locker, giving the key to "Fat Moe", a friend not directly involved in their activities. Noodles is in love with Moe's sister, Deborah, who dreams of becoming a dancer and actress. Envious of their success, Bugsy ambushes the boys and kills Dominic. In a fit of rage, Noodles kills Bugsy and severely injures a police officer. He is arrested and sentenced to prison. Noodles is released in and reunites with his friends, now bootleggers during Prohibition.
During a diamond heist, the gang encounter an employee and informant named Carol whom Noodles rapes. Carol also dabbles in prostitution and becomes Max's girlfriend. The already-prosperous gang starts providing protection for union boss Jimmy O'Donnell. Seeking to rekindle his relationship with Deborah, Noodles tries to impress her on a luxurious date, but she reveals her plans to pursue a career in Hollywood. On their drive back, Noodles rapes her in the limousine. Later, he watches Deborah board her train to California. She closes the compartment blinds when she sees him. The gang's success ends with the repeal of Prohibition. Noodles rejects Max's plan to deepen ties with the Teamsters' union.
Carol convinces Noodles to inform the police about a lesser offense, believing a brief incarceration will cool off Max's ambition. After Noodles calls the police, Max knocks him unconscious during a seemingly impromptu argument. Regaining consciousness and finding out that Max, Patsy, and Cockeye have been killed by the police, a guilt-ridden Noodles takes refuge in the opium den. He saves Moe and goes to the railway locker, only to find the money gone. With most of his friends killed and himself hunted, Noodles leaves New York, going to Buffalo under an alias. In , Noodles is belatedly informed that the Beth Israel Cemetery is being redeveloped, and asked to rebury any loved ones. Upon inquiry, the rabbi who had sent the original letter informs him that the bodies of his three dead friends have since been relocated to Riverdale.
Realizing that someone has deduced his identity, Noodles returns to Manhattan and stays with Fat Moe. Inside the Riverdale mausoleum, Noodles finds a key to the railway locker. The caption on the plaque holding the key states that the mausoleum was erected by Noodles himself. Opening the locker, he finds a suitcase full of money with a note stating that the cash is a downpayment on his next job.
Noodles watches news of an assassination attempt on controversial U. Secretary of Commerce Christopher Bailey. The report shows Jimmy O'Donnell, still a Teamster's boss, distancing himself from the Bailey corruption scandal. Noodles finds Carol in a retirement home run by the Bailey Foundation. She tells him that Max manipulated them into tipping him off to the police and opened fire first , wishing to die young rather in an insane asylum like his father.
After spotting her in a photo of the retirement home's dedication, Noodles tracks down Deborah, still an actress. Deborah admits to having been Bailey's lover, and begs Noodles to remove himself from the situation lest he be confronted with hurtful revelations. Ignoring Deborah's advice, Noodles comes face to face with the evidence that Bailey is the still-living Max. In a separate room during the party, Max explains that he faked his death with the help of corrupt police officers, stole the gang's money and began a new life as Bailey, a self-made politician with connections to the Teamsters.
He also confirms that he made Deborah his mistress years earlier. Faced with ruin and the specter of a Teamster assassination, Max reveals the "job" he wants Noodles to perform--killing him. Noodles, obstinately referring to him by his Secretary Bailey identity, refuses because, in his eyes, Max died with the gang. As Noodles leaves the estate, a garbage truck starts up and a man resembling Max walks from the entrance toward Noodles until the truck passes between them. Noodles sees the truck's auger conveyor grinding down rubbish, but Max is nowhere to be seen. In , Noodles enters the opium den after his friends' deaths, taking the drug and broadly grinning.
During the mids, Sergio Leone had read the novel The Hoods by Harry Grey , a pseudonym for the former gangster-turned-informant whose real name was Harry Goldberg. Pete Beach, Florida. By the end of filming, Leone had ten hours worth of footage. With his editor, Nino Baragli, Leone trimmed this to almost six hours, and he originally wanted to release the film in two parts.
The musical score was composed by Leone's longtime collaborator Ennio Morricone. The score is also notable for Morricone's incorporation of the music of Gheorghe Zamfir , who plays a pan flute. Besides the original music, the film used source music , including: . A soundtrack album was released in by Mercury Records. The film was shown in limited release and for film critics in North America, where it was slightly trimmed to secure an "R" rating. Cuts were made to two rape scenes and some of the more graphic violence at the beginning. Noodles' meeting with Bailey in was also excised.
The film gained a mediocre reception at several sneak premieres in North America. Because of this early audience reaction, the fear of its length, its graphic violence, and the inability of theaters to have multiple showings in one day, The Ladd Company cut entire scenes and removed approximately 90 minutes of the film,  without the supervision of Sergio Leone. This American wide release , minutes was drastically different from the European release, as the non-chronological story was rearranged into chronological order.
Other major cuts involved many of the childhood sequences, making the adult sections more prominent. Noodles' meeting with Deborah was excised, and the scene with Bailey ends with him shooting himself with the sound of a gunshot off screen rather than the garbage truck conclusion of the minute version. In the Soviet Union, the film was shown theatrically in the late s, with other Hollywood blockbusters such as the two King Kong films.
The story was rearranged in chronological order and the film was split in two, with the two parts shown as separate movies, one containing the childhood scenes and the other comprising the adulthood scenes. Despite the rearranging, no major scene deletions were made. In March , it was announced that Leone's original minute version was to be re-created by a film lab in Italy under the supervision of Leone's children, who had acquired the Italian distribution rights, and the film's original sound editor, Fausto Ancillai, for a premiere in at either the Cannes Film Festival or Venice Film Festival. The restored film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, but because of unforeseen rights issues for the deleted scenes, the restoration had a runtime of only minutes.
On 3 August , it was reported that after the premiere at Cannes, the restored film was pulled from circulation, pending further restoration work. The U. The initial critical response to Once Upon a Time in America was mixed, because of the different versions released worldwide. While internationally the film was well received in its original form, American critics were much more dissatisfied with the minute version released in North America. This condensed version was a critical and financial disaster, and many American critics who knew of Leone's original cut attacked the short version. Some critics compared shortening the film to shortening Richard Wagner 's operas, saying that works of art that are meant to be long should be given the respect they deserve.
In his review, Roger Ebert gave the uncut version four stars out of four and wrote that it was "an epic poem of violence and greed", but described the American theatrical version as a "travesty". It was only after Leone's death and the subsequent restoration of the original version that critics began to give it the kind of praise displayed at its original Cannes showing. The uncut original film is considered to be far superior to the edited version released in the US in The website's consensus reads, "Sergio Leone's epic crime drama is visually stunning, stylistically bold, and emotionally haunting, and filled with great performances from the likes of Robert De Niro and James Woods.
The film has since been ranked as one of the best films of the gangster genre. Despite its modern critical success, the initial American release did not fare well with critics and received no Academy Award nominations. As the film begins and ends in , with Noodles hiding in an opium den from syndicate hitmen, and the last shot of the film is of Noodles in a smiling, opium-soaked high, the film can be interpreted as having been a drug-induced dream, with Noodles remembering his past and envisioning the future. The ending in which Mr.
Bailey Max appears as Noodles is leaving Bailey's mansion and then disappears behind a truck only for Noodles to see the blades of the truck spinning was left ambiguous on purpose. James Woods who played Max does not know if Max jumped in the truck or just disappeared. It is also possible that the last shot of Max was not Woods himself but rather a stunt double. Critic Carlo Affatigato states that "It's a paradox. Noodles only wants to believe the reality he has created for himself, not an objective one. Affatigato also believes this could point to it all being the imagination of Noodles. Right after Max disappears, the lights of three older cars can be seen as they pass in front of Noodles.
Many people including Schickel assume that the Frisbee scene, which has an immediate cut and gives no further resolution, was part of a longer sequence. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Theatrical release poster by Tom Jung. Warner Bros. United States Titanus Italy. Release date. Running time. United States  Italy . Ennio Morricone. It's like the play was written for you," Noodles tells her after reading the theater poster of "Anthony and Cleopatra," which Deborah had just acted in. Archived from the original on 12 October Retrieved 11 October British Film Institute.
Archived from the original on 14 November Retrieved 1 February Now he must face the shadows and remorse of his old life. Each scene of the film brings different themes of childhood friendship, lust, love, greed, deception, destruction, and shattered relationships in sync rise of American mobsters. The film has artistically exhibited different shades of gangster life, leaving you in a land of uncertainty and enigma. It turns out that Secretary Bailey is Max. Most of us believed that Max was killed by police. Bailey appears to be a weakening immigrant who married an affluent woman who died in childbirth. That child turns out to be David, a young man who Noodle sees with Deborah.
Max turned out to be Mr. Bailey is one of the major twists of Once Upon a Time in America. Another mainly asked question is about Deborah choosing Mr. Bailey, aka Max. It made the audience perplexed about what she was thinking. In Noodles discovers that Deborah has become a successful actress. She has been living with this Mr. Bailey guy who is none other than Max. There is no definite answer been found why Deborah decided to be with Max when she loved Noodles.
Also, Deborah loving Max seems to be out of the question. There are various assumptions but no definite answer. However, it seems she craves success, freedom, fame, and wealth after going through a rough patch because of Noodles. Her love for Noodles seems to end when he raped her. In order to get out of her previous miserable life, Max has given her a better option- Mr. Bailey, the man of status, wealth. Maybe she needed that more than anything in life. As we get older, we prefer stability and security, and that is what she was after all when she chose Max. The ending scene made the audience wonder about Mr. The scene does not show whether he really died or not. Thus, Max asks Noodles to kill him, but he refuses immediately, not want to become part of his scheme once again.
Because for Noodles, Max has already died with the gang, and Mr. Bailey has nothing to do with him. In the last scene where Max comes out and disappears. In the end, Noodles leaves the estate but hears a garbage truck start when a man comes out. Before they can meet, the garbage truck passes between them. He then all sees is no one standing there anyone. There is a high possibility that Max was assassinated there because there is no possibility that he committed suicide since there is no blood, grotesque or bone-crushing scene.
Also, not possible that Max throws himself in its auger because it clearly shows that he was walking toward Noodles. So the last possible left is Max being assassinated. Again, there is no definite or right answer to this question. His grin could have multiple meanings, such as he has lost sanity because of remorse and betrayal he endured, he reminisces his old days with his friends and his love, or finally understands the master plan of Max to escape from the miserable gangster life, etc.