By now, the story is as familiar as a fairy tale: Once upon a time, Sergio Leone’s career-capping epic was desecrated (for the original U.S. theatrical release, the film was butchered by more than an hour).Months later, the material was restored and that new edition was hailed as a masterpiece. Trouble is, Leone’s decades-sprawling saga of the tangled friendship between two Jewish gangsters (Robert De Niro and James Woods) remains a patience tester at any running time (and the ”special edition” adds only two minutes of unneeded footage to the longer cut, including a protracted version of De Niro’s rape scene with Elizabeth McGovern). TIME critic Richard Schickel argues in a provocative commentary track that much of the film is actually an opium dream, but that doesn’t excuse the brutally slow pace and one-dimensional acting. De Niro’s Mafia movies with Coppola and Scorsese are delectably overstuffed with plotlines and characters, but this one’s an empty cannoli.
Genre: Drama, Mystery and Thriller; Starring: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Danny Aiello, Jennifer Connelly, Elizabeth McGovern, Joe Pesci, Tuesday Weld, Treat Williams; Director: Sergio Leone; Status: In Season; MPAA Rating: R
Posted June 13 2003 — 12:00 AM EDT
- 'Descendants' react: Did the tale about junior Disney villains cast a spell?
- Andre 3000 joins ABC's 'American Crime'
- Casting Net: Gary Oldman joins space love story
- Josh Gad wraps 'Beauty and the Beast' filming, shares pic
- Remembering Roddy Piper's rowdy film career
- Why 'The Tribe' is the perfect videogame movie
- 'Fear the Walking Dead' producers offer hints about the show's timeline
- 'The Walking Dead' Season 6: 12 EW exclusive photos
- 10 must-have items from the 'Mad Men' auction: Exclusive
- Stars go back to work! 'Scandal,' 'Arrow,' 'The Good Wife,' more return to set
- Charlie Hunnam and Excalibur glisten in 'King Arthur' first look photos
- Here are the 2015 games we're looking forward to most
- Michael & Kate, Michelle Rodriguez, Joss Stone and More!