Melbourne Cinémathèque The Melbourne Cinémathèque & ACMI present

Once Upon a Time in America

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A crime saga truly unparalleled in scope, Sergio Leone’s audacious gangster epic traverses five decades in the lives of David “Noodles” Aaronson (Robert De Niro) and Max Bercovicz (James Woods), from their hardscrabble beginnings in the milieu of a Brooklyn Jewish ghetto to the peak of their Prohibition-era bootlegging empire.

Leone is at his most daringly experimental as he jumps freely through time and space, deeply probing themes of greed, violence, betrayal and the inexorable passage of time.

The Italian master’s final – and perhaps greatest – film presents an outsider’s perspective on the immigrant experience and the grand illusion of the American Dream.

Famously mutilated by an overly cautious distributor for US release, this 2012 restoration is the closest contemporary audiences are likely to come to Leone’s original vision.

Featuring one of Ennio Morricone’s greatest and most affecting scores, and an extraordinary gallery of supporting performances from Elizabeth McGovern, Treat Williams, Tuesday Weld and Joe Pesci.