YMMV / Once Upon a Time in America

  • Adaptation Displacement: Many don't even realize that Harry Grey's book exists.
  • Award Snub: Ennio Morricone's score was not nominated for an Oscar thanks to an error on the submission form.
  • Awesome Music: Naturally, as it has a soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. Not only that, but Sergio Leone considered the film's soundtrack the best work that Morricone had ever done for him. Just think about that for a second. Particularly awesome: Morricone's instrumentals of The Beatles' "Yesterday"—which ultimately brings the poignancy of Noodles's reunion with Max Up to Eleven.
  • Common Knowledge: It's often claimed that Leone has a Creator Cameo as the ticket seller in the bus station. Though the actor bears a facial resemblance to Leone, he's much thinner and clearly speaking English (of which Leone spoke little) as his native language.
  • Funny Moments: Max's purchase of an elaborate chair that was a gift to a Pope. And according to the commentary it may even be a self-deprecating joke, as Sergio Leone was an avid furniture collector.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Noodles' reunion with Max.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Crossed by Noodles himself when he rapes Deborah in the back of a moving taxi. Granted, he does rape Carol earlier in the movie, but that one's relatively emotionless on both ends and you're not stuck watching it during the heist. Since Deborah is the only character in the movie who the viewer has a conventionally positive investment in, not to mention how Noodles rips her dress apart for round two when you think/hope it's over and he's already got her in the palm of his hand, it's tough stuff. Really makes that bitch-slap from Michael to Kay in The Godfather Part II look tame.
    • Bugsy also crosses this when he shoots Dominic, killing him, and when little Dominic says, "Noodles, I slipped!" before dying, it also adds a Kick the Dog moment to the scene. And unlike Noodles who felt remorse and guilt for raping Deborah, Bugsy showed no guilt over killing the child, only being concerned about himself and his business.
  • Retroactive Recognition: 12 year old Jennifer Connelly makes her film debut as the young Deborah. Brian Bloom is young Patsy.
  • Tear Jerker: Poor Little Dominic. The music makes it even worse when it happens.
  • Vindicated by History: While original 229 minute European cut was always highly regarded, the US release was made over an hour shorter and had the order of events changed thanks to Executive Meddling. Critics and audiences were left confused thanks to the removal of several scenes. As a result, the film was a financial flop and received lukewarm reactions. The few American critics who praised the film were the ones who had seen the original cut, and some even attacked the American release. The original 229 minute release has since been made widely available, and the film is now widely recognized as a classic.