CinemaClown’s review published on Letterboxd:
Reviewing this film is somewhat difficult because it's neither like the usual crime epics nor like any of the films that director Sergio Leone has made before, including his classic westerns. Running at nearly 4-hours of excessive runtime, Once Upon a Time in America failed terribly in living up to my expectations and turned out to be a major disappointment. The story begins brilliantly but then goes on for over 3 hours covering themes of friendship, greed, betrayal, love & loss in a painfully slow manner that was far less absorbing & more frustrating only to wrap itself up in the end with an ambiguous but fruitless conclusion.
While the slow pace did give a huge amount of extra time for character development, there came many moments in the story when I just wanted it to fucking end. There wasn't a single character worth liking in the film, the performances by Robert De Niro & others were good but there was nothing great about them, visually the film is beautiful in parts & music by Ennio Morricone has seen much better days, to be honest. Maybe a revisit sometime in the future might change my opinion about it but as of now, Once Upon a Time in America feels like a punishment for the crime I didn't commit & isn't even close to Sergio Leone's other classics.