Once Upon a Time in America

1984 film by Sergio Leone

Once Upon a Time in America (Italian title C'era una volta in America) is a 1984 film about a group of gangsters, following their lives from the 1900s to the 1960s.

Directed by Sergio Leone. Written by Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi, Enrico Medioli, Franco Arcalli, Franco Ferrini and Sergio Leone
Crime, passion and lust for power - Sergio Leone's explosive saga of gangland America. (taglines)

David 'Noodles' Aaronson

  • Why was that a surprise? You can always pick the winners at the starting gate - the winners and the losers. Who woulda put a penny on me?
  • I hope the investigation turns out to be nothing; it'd be a shame to see a lifetime of work go to waste.
  • You see, I have a story too, Mr. Bailey. I had a friend once. A dear friend. I turned him in to save his life. He died. But he wanted it that way. Things went bad for my friend, and they went bad for me, too.
  • I haven't had a gun in my hands for many, many years. My eyes aren't what they used to be, even with the glasses. My hands shake. And I wouldn't want to miss.
  • I'm not that type of guy, besides if I hit you, I'm afraid you'd like it.

Maximilian 'Max' Bercovicz

  • Some we give them the good life, others we give it right up the ass.
  • When you've been betrayed by a friend, you hit back.
  • You know, if we listened to you, we would still be out rolling drunks.
  • This country's still growing up. Certain diseases, you're better off having when you're still young.


  • Police Chief Aiello: I'm the chief of police, not the chief of the people.
  • Joe Minaldi: Life is... funnier than shit.
  • Dominic: [dying words after being shot by Bugsy] Noodles, I slipped!
  • Chicken Joe: [as he and another thug are torturing Jimmy O'Donnell] I don't give a *shit* about you and your Socialist workers!
  • Patrick 'Patsy' Goldberg: Hey, scotch heating!
  • Frankie Minaldi: [introducing the gang to Joe] Here they are, "The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse"! Did you happen to see that movie, Joe? It's a good movie.
  • Deborah Gelly: I read books, I want to learn everything, I want to know everything. Doesn't it make sense to have plans?


Maximilian 'Max' Bercovicz: You're looking good.
David 'Noodles' Aaronson: You're looking a little better.

Maximilian 'Max' Bercovicz: You'll live with the stink of the streets all your life.
David 'Noodles' Aaronson: I like the stink of the streets. It makes me feel good. I like the smell, and it opens up my lungs. And it gives me a hard-on.

Joe Minaldi: [inspecting diamonds through a loupe] Any trouble?
Patrick 'Patsy' Goldberg: No trouble. Kid stuff. [Pulls out a gun and shoots Joe in the eye through the loupe]

David 'Noodles' Aaronson: You really are crazy, Max.
Maximilian 'Max' Bercovicz: [pulls out a gun and hits Noodles over the head with the butt, repeatedly] Don't you ever, ever say that!

Maximilian 'Max' Bercovicz: Is this your idea of revenge?
David 'Noodles' Aaronson: No. It's just the way I see things.

James Conway O'Donnell: [to Max] You boys ain't a mild case of the measles - you're the plague. And bastards like him - [motioning at Crowning] - are immune. That's the difference between us and them.
David 'Noodles' Aaronson: [puts a jacket on O'Donnell, who flinches] Take it easy. The difference is, they're always gonna win. And you're gonna keep gettin' it up the ass.
Crowning: Sooner than you think.

Patrick 'Patsy' Goldberg: [Patsy and Max have Crowning at gunpoint and are trying to get Chicken Joe and Willie the Ape to release O'Donnell] Just swapping prisoners.
Philip 'Cockeye' Stein: Fair trade, huh, chickenhead? [Chicken Joe turns and sees Cockeye and Noodles standing to his right] Union boy over here, for Mister Boss Man.
Chicken Joe: Well, look who's here - Fat Moe's boneyard boys!
Maximilian 'Max' Bercovicz: Which reminds me... how's that cancer in your gut comin' along, Chicken Joe?

Sharkey: [O'Donnell has been shot in the leg by Crowning's henchmen] Don't worry, Jimmy. With one leg a little shy, you're gonna take giant steps.
James Conway O'Donnell: Yeah... always one step behind you, eh Sharkey?

Fat Moe: When did you get back?
David 'Noodles' Aaronson: Today.
Fat Moe: Why?
David 'Noodles' Aaronson: They got in touch with me.
Fat Moe: Who?
David 'Noodles' Aaronson: I thought you might know.
Fat Moe: Me? I don't know nothin' 'bout nobody no more.


  • Crime, passion and lust for power - Sergio Leone's explosive saga of gangland America.
  • As boys, they made a pact to share their fortunes, their loves, their lives. As men, they shared a dream to rise from poverty to power. Their story is now a "once upon a time" motion picture experience.
  • Sergio Leone's three-hour, forty-minute epic masterpiece starring Robert de Niro.
  • As boys, they said they would die for each other. As men, they did.
  • As boys, they made a pact to share their fortunes, their loves, their lives. As men, they shared a dream to rise from poverty to power. Forging an empire built on greed, violence and betrayal, their dream would end as a mystery that refuse to die.


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