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America, America

4.8 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Product Description

Elia Kazan’s own words begin the saga of young Stavros (Stathis Giallelis), who leaves his war-torn homeland behind to begin a new life. With his family’s meager fortune and his father’s blessing, Stavros encounters both allies and adversaries on a dramatic trek. He ultimately achieves his dream through sheer determination and will, thereby earning his nickname: America America. Saluting the masses who sailed toward Miss Liberty’s shining torch, Kazan (A Streetcar Named Desire) uses little-known talents here rather than stars. The results impress: Academy Award® nominations (1963) for Best Picture, Director and Screenplay, an Oscar® for Gene Callahan’s vivid Art Direction, Golden Globes to Kazan (Best Director) and Giallelis (Most Promising Newcomer) and nomination to the National Film Registry for permanent preservation. Both epic and intimate, it’s powerful moviemaking.

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Elia Kazan's America America, a three-hour epic feature starring Stathis Giallelis as Kazan's uncle Stavros Topouzoglou, is a complete departure from Kazan's other classics, such as East of Eden and A Streetcar Named Desire. In all three, though, Kazan discovered and championed young heroic male protagonists, James Dean and Marlon Brando in the latter two. As one of the founders of the Actor's Studio and Method Acting, Kazan apparently coached Giallelis throughout this biographical project that tells the story of Kazan's Greek uncle, struggling under the Turkish thumb in Armenia, who works throughout his youth to emigrate to America. America America, as a story about political repression and culture clash, is magnificent enough, since its long length lends the film the wide angle that novels encompass. But add to this a stunningly heartfelt portrayal of Stavros by the youthful Giallelis, in which close-ups of his dark eyes and furrowed brow continuously add pathos to the drama, and one gets a most chilling portrait of the desperation and determination indicative of the many people who came through Ellis Island at the end of the 19th century. Beginning in the 1890s, this film opens on Stavros's rural family in Anatolia, toiling in the beautiful countryside as his father struggles to appease Turkish politicians. From the outset, the film exudes tension, as the friends of the Greeks, the neighboring Armenians, are targeted by the Turks during violent attempts at cultural sublimation. Stavros, as the sympathetic character, is established as an open-minded boy who cannot separate mistreatment of others from himself. Thus the story moves along, as he seeks opportunity in Constantinople, falls in love with the lovely daughter (Linda Marsh) of a wealthy merchant, then with a Greek-American (Joanna Frank) who further fuels his American dream. The rich subtlety of the acting throughout is what makes this film astonishingly real. There is never a moment, even when long, rolling landscape shots punctuate the human dramas, that digresses from Stavros's psychological desires. Additionally, critic Foster Hirsch's commentary on this edition fleshes out the film's evolution. Because of the depth of character throughout, Elia Kazan's America America speaks not only as tribute to Kazan's willful uncle, but also to anyone whose family history bears the marks of migration, foreignness, and the suffering that triumph is made of. --Trinie Dalton

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Product Details

  • Actors: Stathis Giallelis, Frank Wolff, Elena Karam
  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Writers: Elia Kazan
  • Producers: Elia Kazan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 8, 2011
  • Run Time: 174 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004CNK59C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,099 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "America, America" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
I first seen this extraordinary movie while I was behind the Iron Curtain, holding no hope to be a free man...a Stavros like millions others. Little that I knew at the time that my dream would come through and one day I would be an American, almost the same way as the protagonist of this masterpiece. Forgive my obvious bias, do yourself a favor and see this movie.
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I myself like Stavros the hero of 'America america' set upon an adventure filled with hardship and pain and found salvation in America. You see this film is one of the most underated pieces of cinema ever to pass through a film reel, and finding a copy ( especially in England) is akin to a herculian task. It took me several months to find out it was never released over here under its origional title and was never released on video. So i set my sights across the pond and found it on amazon. This is my tale.
Thankfully stavros's tale is more entertaining than mine and Kazan is more skillful in his presentation of it than I of mine. Kazan tells the personnal tale of his uncles journey from turkey to america. kazan excells when working from his own experiences and this film is no exception. kazan really understands the leads plight and his emotional connection shines through and rubs off on the viewer, you cant help but be affected by his plight.
The film is espesially relevant now in the uk, as our newspapers are clogged with biased debates on britains liberal imergration laws, i wish there waas a national re-release of this picture so to educate people on the truth behind many refugees, it creates a true sympathy that would be as moving today as then.
Critically this film did well and many directors such as scorsese rate it as inspirational, but it isnt a well known film and that upsets me, so buy it and love it and make me happy
And you can now buy it on region 2 dvd from amazon in france.
1 Comment 31 of 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on January 20, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
I still can't figure out why this film is not on DVD yet while so much absolute tripe is. Which lobby, which studio exec is denying the public this remarkable film? It is a bit long, but that just means you can hit the pause button and get yourself another cup of Uzo!
2 Comments 32 of 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
An amazing epic journey, filled with deep emotion, desire, and the longing a century ago for a Greek youth in Ottoman Turkey to beat all odds and come to America. As he put it, "I have been beaten, robbed, stabbed and left for deat. I have eaten the Sultan's garbage and fought off dog's to get at it." It is a universal story, an epic one, and a great motion picture too, perhaps one of the best, and it is the story of Elia Kazan's life. But for the fact that Kazan was banished from the industry for "naming names," for being a "police informer," this picture no doubt would have won many Oscars, including best picture of the year. But "Tom Jones" beat it out --a wonderful picture too, but not anywhere near Kazan's "America America" for insight, depth, and a real claim to an American hisory --the story of what America was all about to those "wretched refuse of your teaming shore" in 1900. Five stars and five stars more.
1 Comment 17 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on March 22, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Kazan's depiction of Stavros's flight from Turkish brutality in the early part of this century strikes a stark portrait of the essence of survival. When Armenians and Greeks were being driven out by genocidal methods by the Turks in the years of 1915-1922, Kazan's hero is an example of the few that made it to a land where one could start over. That land as so lovingly reffered to by tens of thousands of immigrants was and still is America.The soundtrack is great, Kazan's direction is haunting, and the message is searing. A film with universal appeal. Bravo.
1 Comment 12 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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When is the DVD coming out in America?!
I can't believe I am seeing it, my 98 year old mother-in-law said, it is like total recall. She said I lived through that and even saw a church being torched full of men, women and children. The Turks, she said, killed the remaining Christian men and boys in my city. In my father-in-law's large city of Maras, some 99% of the Christians were killed or "deported", most to the dry Syrian desert by 1921, or the lucky few excaped at night south to Syria as did my father-in-law after his parents and all siblings but one were slaughtered (he was 15 then). The major murders of the Christians occurred beginning in April 1915 to 1916 and again in Jan. 1920 - some few thousand managed to excape to Syria. And the Turks until this day say there was never genocide.
See Dr. Stanly Kerr's "Lions of Marash" book (1973)whose book varified these episodes and more.
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By Eleni on January 21, 2005
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
A cinematic "splendor" at the hands of the master Elia Kazan. The Odyssey of an immigrant who survives the barbarities of Muslim Turks and makes it to America in spite of all the odds.

This is a marvelously captured narrative based on Kazan's own family. The film stands among the the best that Hollywood has offered. So why hasn't it come out on DVD yet? Kazan's opus should be available on DVD and should be be acclaimed everywhere for its brilliance. Hollywood needs to set aside its left wing politics and let film people do their work unhindered by petty politics.
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