“ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA”Based on the motion picture Once Upon a Time in America (courtesy of New Regency Productions, Inc.) and the novel The Hoods written by Harry Grey.
“ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA”
The time: the 1920s. The place: New York City. The Lower East Side, on the southeast corner of Manhattan Island, is home to a great many Jewish immigrants who came to the United States, beginning in the late 19th century, from a Russia ravaged by political turmoil and an eastern Europe where they had experienced tremendous poverty. Despite the American dream that anyone can achieve success, for the Jewish immigrants in the Lower East Side this dream is difficult to make a reality.
David “Noodles” Aaronson is born into this Jewish enclave, and from a very young age gets his hands dirty in the seedy underbelly of society. Along with his trusted companions Max, Cockeye, Patsy, and Dominic, Noodles lays down roots in the criminal underworld... That is all they have to live by.
There is a girl, Deborah, whom Noodles loves. She is the younger sister of Fat Moe—the only one of Noodles’ friends with legal, gainful employment—who helps at his parents’ diner. To get out of this place, and to escape somewhere better and make something of themselves... Noodles and Deborah—who dreams of becoming an actress—tell each other about their hopes for the future.
Now the time is the dead center of the Prohibition Era. All of America has fallen in love with moonshine, and Noodles and the gang make a handsome sum for themselves as bootleggers. On Max’s suggestion, they pool together the money they’ve saved in a trunk and store it in a locker at the train station. Their opportunities grow and grow over time, but one day Dominic is killed in a conflict with a rival gang. Noodles, trembling with rage, stabs to death both the killer and an intervening police officer. For this, Noodles is arrested and is made to pay for his crimes.
The Great Wall Street Crash of 1929 hits, sending the economy plummeting. Amidst this turmoil, Noodles returns after more than seven years behind bars. With Noodles out of the picture for so long, his friends have come together around Max and somehow managed to weather this storm. Max becomes one of the young faces of the underworld, and runs a speakeasy. He takes Carol, one of his establishment’s showgirls, as a lover, and grows more and more ambitious. Noodles, having been shown to Max’s speakeasy, manages there to reunite with Deborah, whom he had been longing for even in his dreams. She now works as a headliner at the Vanderbilt Follies Theatre, which sits on the top floor of one of Manhattan’s skyscrapers. Deborah is delighted to see Noodles again, and he declares his intention to go forward with their dreams together. Deborah tells him that she doesn’t want him to get mixed up with underworld figures like Max. But Noodles just can’t betray his friends, who have waited so long for his return...
Noodles and his comrades, who have acquired the nickname “the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” take on more and more dangerous work. They intervene in some frequently occurring labor disputes at the request of Jimmy, a member of the Teamsters Union, and become extremely wealthy. Noodles, who desperately wants to express his feelings to Deborah even if she would reject him, one day invites her to a restaurant by the sea. There, after showing Deborah the greatest of hospitality, he starts to confess his love to her, but—!
“ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA”
Director of the Hospital:
The Woman from Havana S:
Anne / Master of Ceremonies:
President / Butler:
Owner of the Jeweler’s:
Asimov / Chan Lao:
Young Fat Moe:
Schwartz / Managing Director / Police Chief Aiello:
Joe / Mickey:
Bugsy / Danny: