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Once Upon a Time in America (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1984)

Robert De Niro , James Woods , Sergio Leone  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (573 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Joe Pesci, Burt Young
  • Directors: Sergio Leone
  • Writers: Enrico Medioli, Ernesto Gastaldi, Franco Arcalli, Franco Ferrini, Harry Grey
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 10, 2003
  • Run Time: 229 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (573 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000DI87S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,242 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Once Upon a Time in America (Two-Disc Special Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Newly remastered "Director's Cut"
  • Excerpt from the documentary Once Upon a Time: Sergio Leone
  • Photo gallery

Editorial Reviews

Ten years in planning, Sergio Leone's epic Once upon a Time in America portrays 50 years of riveting underworld history and offers rich roles to a remarkable cast. Robert De Niro and James Woods play lifelong Lower East Side pals whose wary partnership unravels in death and mystery. Strong support comes from Tuesday Weld, Joe Pesci, Jennifer Connelly, Elizabeth McGovern and the young actors playing the central characters as ghetto kids. To see this film (offered for the first time in the full version 1984 Cannes Film Festival audiences cheered) is "to be swept away by the assurance and vitality of a great director making his final statement in a medium he adored" (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
274 of 289 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificant opium dream of a gangster epic May 21, 2003
Okay, a four hour gangster movie is not going to be everyone's cup of tea, especially when the pacing is absolutely glacial and DeNiro and Woods aren't on-screen for about half that time because of a childhood flashback that's longer than some full movies. But, if you take this movie on the terms director Sergio Leone sets, it's a richly rewarding cinemeatic experience. I've heard the film described as "an opium dream of a gangster movie" and the pacing seems to justify such a response. But it's slow and richly detailed, and a little odd at times, for very good reasons that pay off in spades by the film's emotionally titanic (though slightly anti-climactic} finale.
Despite what can seem like turgidness on first viewing, this film is likely to stick to your ribs and merit repeat screenings. DeNiro smolders throughout, while James Woods delivers a teriffic scenery-chewing performance. The story is friendship (and betrayal, of course)--or is it Romulus and Remus? Greek tragedy, perhaps? Godfather parts 1 and 2 rolled into one film? Yes, and more. And viewers familliar with Leone only through his spagetti westerns are in for a surprise: Leone is a world-class film-maker here, capable of stunning beauty and cruelty, often within the same frame.
Does it really need to be this slow? Does the flashback to childhood need to be almost and hour and a half long (don't worry--it's absorbing enough in its own right to keep you from noticing)? Does the the chronology need to be so screwy? Does that darn phone need to ring so long? Absolutely.

Fans of Woods, DeNiro, Leone, or gangster movies in general canot afford to pass this film up. The supporting cast, especially the young actors playing the gang members in thier childhood, is also consistently stellar. Best viewed on a cold wintry afternoon when you've got plenty of time. Opium not provided.
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116 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant May 3, 2000
When "Once Upon A Time in America" was initially released, there wasn't much of a stir in America due to the well-documented excision of around an hour and half of footage. But, on its release to home video, the restored, uncut version was suddenly available to American viewers. Thank God. This is a deeply moving, emotionally-wrenching film that deserves its ranks in the annals of some of the greatest motion pictures ever filmed. Movie lovers will delight in this film from frame to frame. Top-notch performances, extended sequences with attention to detail that rival the best Kubrick films, and plot twists told through inventive flashback sequences make this a movie-lovers paradise.
I remember when it first came out, I was mesmerized by it for three reasons. Firstly, when it was released there was possibly never a more violent film than this one, with the possible exception of Scarface. Thus, the action is first-rate. Secondly, the performances were all compelling. One performance that went overlooked, I think, was Tuesday Weld's volatile performance as the damaged and emotionally scarred girlfriend of the equally volatile Woods. DeNiro, of course, holds every scene he's in; there's a great sequence in the film involving crooked cop Danny Aiello and a sick practical joke played on him by the gangsters seeking to influence him; additionally, a young Jennifer Connelly gives a fine performance as the childhood sweetheart of one of the gang-members. Thirdly, the pacing of the film was deliberately extended in several sequences to allow for Ennio Morricone's haunting, melancholic, and most deeply felt musical score.
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238 of 260 people found the following review helpful
By Nix Pix
"Once Upon A Time In America" is director, Sergio Leone's stunning tale of organized crime and the destruction it unleashes into the lives of four life-long friends. Robert DeNiro headlines a cast of great talent that includes Joe Pesci, Treat Williams and James Woods. When this film first premiered in 1984 it was 229 minutes. However, the subject matter was considered so violent and shocking, and the pace so methodically slow that nearly 40 minutes were excised for general exhibition, rendering the story line practically incomprehensible. I am pleased to say that this new 2-disc set at last gives us the story as it was originally intended, full of robust characterizations, enthralling action sequences and filled with the sort of memorable moments that have reminded me why we all go to the movies - to be entertained (not overwhelmed with way-too-many, ultra-slick digital effects!).
Warner Brothers 2 disc set does have its drawbacks. First, the movie itself is spread over two discs and, there is no polite way to say it, the interruption is obtrusive. The break happens right in the middle of a crucial scene. Interruption aside, the DVD is marred by considerable film grain and a bit of digital grit that make most of the images digitally harsh instead of creamy smooth. Many scenes offer remarkable clarity and depth while others, mostly night time or dark scenes suffer from a loss of fine detail that disappears into a haze of undistinguished muddy blacks, browns and blues. Edge enhancement, pixelization, shimmering and aliasing are present throughout the transfer, sometimes distractingly so. The audio is remixed 5.1 and is strident and lacking in tonal bass.
Extras: Pretty much a retrospective and audio commentaries. Some toss away stuff. That's it, that's all!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wildly underrated
Best movie ever! It's not a mob movie IMHO it's about friendship, love, Betrayal, loyalty, it's about the full spectrum of humanity as told by the characters in the movie through... Read more
Published 1 day ago by La Petite Princesse
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Flick
Classic gangster movie this time starting from when they were children. Excellent acting, a bit long but nessesary to tell the whole story. Read more
Published 4 days ago by DR ZEN
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a true classic
Published 5 days ago by Peggy Northcutt
1.0 out of 5 stars overrated inept slower than a senior marathon
I'm a fan of gangster films this movie is to long very boring I can hardly believe people would compare this over rated mess to the god father if you want to watch a gangster film... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Big John
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very intertaining
Published 6 days ago by ulla
5.0 out of 5 stars Once Upon a Time in America an outstanding movie!
A very absorbing storyline of friendship of small-time mobsters from childhood to adulthood. Robert de Niro's portrayal is outstanding as well as James Woods. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Omelan B. Mycyk
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought it for a friend and he too loved it. Tom
Saw it three times. Bought it for a friend and he too loved it. Tom.
Published 8 days ago by T. Battista
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A little disjointed but the acting was great with a great cast.
Published 10 days ago by Sherry Darrah
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies ever made.
This is on my top 5 greatest movies of all time....& you've probably never heard of it.
Published 11 days ago by Thomas M. Dale
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as the godfather
One of the best movies I've seen in years and one of the geatest performances by De Nero. Excellent!
Published 13 days ago by Claude Elmans
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