Once Upon a Time in America ★★★★★


Starting the decade off right with the longest film I have ever seen. I was ready to see the 229 minute cut, but we ended up finding the 250 minute cut instead. That's 4 hours and 10 minutes of pure Sergio Leone gangster shit. I couldn't have been happier.

This very much reminds me of The Irishman, even if it doesn't hit me as hard on an emotional level. It doesn't help that De Niro is obviously much younger with some old man make-up on for one of the three narratives now that we know how he looks as an old man in real life, but it never takes away from the film for me.

I was very impressed with the child actors in the film, and that's a good thing because they take up about a third of the running time. It kind of felt like the opening of Goodfellas, but it ran for over an entire hour straight instead of just 10 minutes or so.

The music and cinematography in this is very noteworthy as well. It all feels like the perfect swan song to Sergio Leone's career as he would unfortunately pass away a few years after this film was released. I'm not sure if I prefer this one or Once Upon A Time In The West, but I think both of them are very underrated as far as this director goes. Everybody is so quick to bring up the Dollars trilogy, but I hear a lot fewer talk about his true western masterpiece and I've only ever heard two people EVER talk about this in real life. It certainly deserves a lot more attention.

This movie is 50 minutes longer than The Godfather Part II and yet it feels like it runs about the same length. If you've got an interest in gangster films, this is a must-see. Don't be intimidated by the running time if you have a free day. Believe me, once you're in about 10 minutes, you won't even care.

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