Once Upon A Time In America (1984)

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Sergio Leone’s epic tale of the life of a group of slum kids turned gangsters is certainly not for those looking for a cinematic quick fix; it weighs in at over 3 and a half hours.

Despite this, the film does not ever really drag, although I think it could have been a much better film with some judicious trimming. The meat of the story set in the years when the friends had become established gangsters were excellent, but it dwelt on their childhood escapades for far too long and the scenes set in the modern day were painfully soapy and melodramatic. But my biggest problem with the film is in it’s depiction of women; without exception, every female character was either a hooker or a rape victim or both.

It’s certainly worthwhile – for the central section in particular – but as a depiction of a criminal dynasty, The Godfather reigns supreme.

6/10

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