I watched Once Upon A Time In America today

big Leone fan and I hadn’t seen this yet. P. good movie. I like his other movies more (but that is more indicative of how great they are than a criticism of this one).

I like James Woods.

What was the point of the garbage truck at the end?

Reading some internet forums I see a lot of people who think a lot of the movie is an opium hallucination. I didn’t think so. Thoughts?

I hope you watched the director’s version, the one that’s like almost four hours long.

Anyway, regarding your question, you might be interested in this. Or, from hoi polloi, this.

I watched the 226 minute cut

After reading Ebert’s review, I understand why. Guess I’ll be seeking the longer one out, because I thought the US release was pretty good.

Yeah, I didn’t get the garbage truck thing either. Was he supposed to be committing suicide by garbage compactor?

About the garbage truck…

You understand, I take it, that Max (James Woods) faked his own death years ago, and that while David/“Noodles” (Robert DeNiro) spent decades mourning for him needlessly, Max had assumed the name Bailey, and had become extremely rich and successful. Indeed, Max had made it to a Presidential Cabinet level position.

But Max’s past and his corruption caught up with him. He was about to be indicted for corruption and for Mob dealings. He also knew that the Mob would surely have him rubbed out soon, to prevent him from testifying against him. So, tired of waiting to be executed by the Mob, Max called his old friend Noodles. He hoped Noodles would take the opportunity for revenge and kill him.

But too much time has elapsed. Noodles isn’t the same angry young thug he once was. He doesn’t want to kill Max- he doesn’t even acknowledge completely that “Bailey” is Max. Noodles is just a tired old man now, and wants to go home. He leaves Max’s house via that secret passage.

As Noodles leaves the house, we briefly see a human figure come out of the house behind him. I THINK it’s supposed to be Max. And I THINK Max committed suicide by jumping into the back of the garbage truck.

Why did Noodles drive his entire crew into the water? My guess is to remind them of the fun they had in the past.

Not to be too much of a perv, but the best thing about that movie? An incredibly luscious 12-year-old Jennifer Connelly! (yes, I know they used a ‘stunt’ butt…)

This is one of my favorite movies. I concur with everything you wrote, EXCEPT… I think Max was faking his own death AGAIN, and using Noodles AGAIN, this time by making sure he was the only witness and that he didn’t see things clearly. Max is canny, remember, and also a survivor.

Did she use a stunt butt in that other movie?

Which one? I think her first nude scene was the now legendary topless scene in The Hot Spot, and in that and everything since she hasn’t used a body double. Strangely, the trivia section in IMDB seems to imply that it was in fact her butt in Once Upon a Time, despite a double being credited. I find this hard to believe. An actress as beautiful as her appearing nude at barely 12 (and in 1984) would not have gone unmentioned. Plus given her statements on her nude scenes since I cannot imagine that being something she would have done then.

Isn’t the trivia section of IMDB like a wiki, i.e. user-edited?