Once Upon a Time in America

Once Upon a Time in America is a 1984 epic crime film co-written and directed by Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone, and starring Robert De Niro and James Woods. The film is an Italian–American venture produced by The Ladd Company, Embassy International Pictures, PSO Enterprises and Rafran Cinematografica, and distributed by Warner Bros. Based on Harry Grey's novel The Hoods, it chronicles the lives of best friends David "Noodles" Aaronson and Maximilian "Max" Bercovicz as they lead a group of Jewish ghetto youths who rise to prominence as Jewish gangsters in New York City's world of organized crime. The film explores themes of childhood friendships, love, lust, greed, betrayal, loss, broken relationships, together with the rise of mobsters in American society.


In 1933, three thugs search for a man named "Noodles", torturing people for information. They enter a wayang theater, where the proprietors slip into a hidden opium den within the building and warn Noodles. He is apathetic, drugged and grasping a newspaper featuring the demise of bootleggers Patrick Goldberg, Philip Stein and Maximilian Bercovicz. He recalls observing police removing their corpses, Max's burned beyond recognition. Noodles evades capture and leaves the city alone and penniless.