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America, America

Released Dec 15, 1963 2h 48m Drama List
67% Tomatometer 9 Reviews 85% Audience Score 500+ Ratings
Stavros Topouzoglou (Stathis Giallelis) is a young Greek man living in an area under Turkish oppression, who wants nothing more than to go to America. Stavros travels to Constantinople, enduring difficulties along the way that lead to the loss of all his family's funds. Rejecting any possibility for money, work or marriage that doesn't involve sailing to America, he defiantly hangs on to the dream, but his extreme determination may cost him his life. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

View All (9) Critics Reviews
Variety Staff Variety Elia Kazan gives a penetrating, thorough and profoundly affecting account of the hardships endured and surmounted at the turn of the century by a young Greek lad Feb 3, 2012 Full Review Geoff Andrew Time Out The entire movie benefits from its authenticity, geographical, historical and emotional, and may be seen as one of the peaks of Kazan's career. Feb 3, 2012 Full Review Joan Didion Vogue In his unswerving insistence upon America as Redeemer, Kazan has made a kind of miracle play. Mar 16, 2020 Full Review Dwight MacDonald Esquire Magazine America America goes on for three hours, which is too long. The characters are picturesque and predictable. Aug 12, 2019 Full Review Kevin Carr 7M Pictures Kazan allows the viewer to be removed from the film but also engage in the emotion of the moment Rated: 3/5 Oct 14, 2013 Full Review TV Guide A nicely told, occasionally highly emotional story, but the main purpose of the film seems to be to give writer-director Elia Kazan an excuse to pat himself on the back. Rated: 2/4 Jan 31, 2012 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (53) audience reviews
william d I didn't find the story as compelling as Kazan obviously does. However, Stathis Giallelis does a superb job in his first - and apparently only - starring role. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Gritty tale which traces a young man's escape from the Ottoman Empire and arrival in NYC. Very well directed by Elia Kazan. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member This is a long film 3 hours, however the story was so compelling I didn't really notice. This is a very harrowing story with murder, deceit, suicide, political atrocities, and extreme poverty set in Turkey in the 1890s. It is not an easy film to sit thru. The main character Starvos goes thru so much treachery/hardship as he journeys and grows up he even decides not to smile anymore, as he doesn't want any "weakness" to show. As some ppl say at times the main character doesn't act very likable or is too mysterious, but honestly I thought he was pretty realistic. I also agree film should've been in color. The acting in the film is fantastic. Film makes you appreciated being born in America, as many ppl will die and have died trying to get to here despite our problems here. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/15/23 Full Review Audience Member Elia Kazan aimed to make an epic film about one young man's Odyssey that mirrored elements of his own life with this 1963 Best Picture nominee but in many ways he failed as the story he tells did not need to be stretched out to nearly three hours and there was nothing emotionally rousing about the film. I wanted so much more of the film as while the Haskell Wexler cinematography is occasionally stunning there is little to appreciate in the screenplay or performances. The people on screen never come across as real and their lack of life and vitality is frustrating as everything seems to hinge on us wanting to see them succeed and we feel only apathy for them. Young Greek Stavros Topouzoglou, Stathis Giallelis, hopes to escape from the small town he has grown up in as he and his family, Christians, are surrounded by Moslems who discriminate against them and murder them in the Hamidian massacres. His father entrusts him with all of the family's savings and sends him off to Constantinople where he will live with his distant relative Isaac, Harry Davis, who is a struggling rug salesman in need of funds. Topouzoglou is joined by the manipulative conman Hohannes Gardashian, Gregory Rozakis, who steals from him and leaves him penniless. When he meets Isaac he immediately abandons him after learning of his poor financial situation and finds himself starving and homeless. After years of hard work he has some money to his name and receives more when he agrees to an arranged marriage with a local wealthy girl, Thomna Sinnikoglou, Linda Marsh, whose father provides him with a dowry. He dashes her plans when he announces that he will be traveling to America and through connections that he had previously made he makes his way onto a ship boarded to America. The technical elements of the film must have been what really helped it to get support from the Academy as the legendary Wexler brings his skills to the photographing of the film and Elia Kazan does have an eye for small, intimate moments. Sadly I did not feel that the film stood up to Wexler's best work as films like Bound for Glory (1976) and Days of Heaven (1978) use their imagery to tell a story and add something to the setting that would not have been there without a distinct visual palette. I actually felt that the film might have been better if it had been filmed in glorious Technicolor as having watched the pretty but lacking in substance Fanny (1961) today I realized how much beautiful images can mean. That is a light, fluffy confection that does not have as much to say about politics or coming of age as this film does but it's gorgeous scenery helps to make the sweet love story at the center of it come to life with vibrancy and soul. During this film one wants to see the scrappy growth on the mountains and dark rock within the caves in color as it would add texture and dimension to the film and allow it to not feel relentlessly bleak and monotonous. It is also difficult to be invested in the film's proceedings when it's main character seems like a detestable young man rather than a plucky young individual with a certain spark in him. In an early scene he goes to his weak and frail grandmother looking for money and responds to her rejection by physically and verbally attacking her. It made me scared for her and fearful of him as if he is willing to go after his grandmother this aggressively who knows what else he is capable of. When we are then asked to accept him as a genial young fellow who is innocent as can be and are expected to feel sympathetic towards him as a man swindles him for everything he has got I lost my patience. To sit with this unlikable man for nearly three hours and not see him do anything to redeem himself and achieve an undeserved victory at the end. Kazan would have done well to include a more likable protagonist in the film that we could root for and to have used more imaginative style. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review Audience Member Well meaning but a total drag now. Artsy in that cheap pretentious way of the time. How people ever got past the bad sound and dubbing is beyond me. Did most of these actors not speak English anyway? Some good performances though. Really poor choice as an Oscar nominee. I guess Hollywood was smitten with Kazan’s brand of patriotism and former cooperation with HUAC. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 05/24/19 Full Review Audience Member Another classic. The big mistake was to rob viewers of seeing this movie in color, an extremely poor decision given that it was shot in various locations throughout the world. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/16/23 Full Review Read all reviews
America, America

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis Stavros Topouzoglou (Stathis Giallelis) is a young Greek man living in an area under Turkish oppression, who wants nothing more than to go to America. Stavros travels to Constantinople, enduring difficulties along the way that lead to the loss of all his family's funds. Rejecting any possibility for money, work or marriage that doesn't involve sailing to America, he defiantly hangs on to the dream, but his extreme determination may cost him his life.
Director
Elia Kazan
Producer
Elia Kazan
Screenwriter
Elia Kazan
Distributor
Warner Bros. Pictures
Production Co
Warner Brothers
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Dec 15, 1963, Original
Release Date (Streaming)
Nov 21, 2016
Runtime
2h 48m
Sound Mix
Mono
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