“Once Upon a Time in America”

In Sergio Leone’s valedictory film, every image, to borrow a phrase from Andrew Sarris writing on John Ford in The American Cinema, is haunted by its “memory image on the horizon of history.”  Ford is still Leone’s master, even in a film whose antagonists  —  “Noodles” Aronson (Robert De Niro) and Max Bercovj (James Woods) —  pointedly recall the gangster movies Raoul Walsh made about friends who rise up from the same slum neighborhood and become foes because of class divisions.

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