Once Upon a Time in America ★★★

There are several aspects of this movie that were truly memorable for me: the actors and their performances, the cinematography (breathtaking), the setting, the music (masterpiece - except for the misplaced pan flute sounds)... So visual aspects alone: 5 stars. 
I enjoyed watching it mainly because of these elements. Story-wise I had a problem with the following: 
1. Most characters’ actions, choices and decisions are questionable if not implausible
2. To me it felt like the movie was romanticizing criminals and their actions. Ennio Morricone’s sentimental music plus witnessing the kids grow up and their friendship together is the perfect recipe to create sympathetic feelings towards them - but let’s not forget we’re talking about criminals who are bad through-and-through. I mean sadly, because I hoped there would have been at least one likeable character :/// or at least an interesting villainous character 
3. A lot of scenes were uncalled for and unnecessary in my view... A woman getting raped and enjoying it? Whose fantasy was that? 
4. The name Noodles for a gangster 

In conclusion, this would have been a great tragedy if it had some actual heroes in it. I felt emotionally distanced throughout the whole what? 4 hours?
Feel like rewatching the Godfather trilogy now :/