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America America (1963)

 -  Drama  -  17 June 1964 (France)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 2,890 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 24 critic

A young Anatolian Greek, entrusted with his family's fortune, loses it en route to Istanbul and dreams of going to America,

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Title: America America (1963)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Stavros Topouzoglou
Frank Wolff ...
Vartan Damadian
Harry Davis ...
Isaac Topouzoglou
Elena Karam ...
Vasso Topouzoglou
Estelle Hemsley ...
Grandmother Topouzoglou
Gregory Rozakis ...
Hohannes Gardashian
Lou Antonio ...
Abdul
Salem Ludwig ...
Odysseus Topouzoglou
...
Garabet
...
Vartuhi
Paul Mann ...
Aleko Sinnikoglou
Linda Marsh ...
Thomna Sinnikoglou
Robert H. Harris ...
Aratoon Kebabian
Katharine Balfour ...
Sophia Kebabian
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Storyline

Elia Kazan, ethnic Greek but Turkish by birth, tells the story of the struggles of his uncle - in this account named Stavros Topouzoglou - in emigrating to America. In the 1890's, the young, kind-hearted but naive Stavros lived in Anatolia, where the Greek and Armenian minorities were repressed by the majority Turks, this repression which often led to violence. Even Stavros being friends with an Armenian was frowned upon. As such, Stavros dreamed of a better life - specifically in America - where, as a result, he could make his parents proud by his grand accomplishments. Instead, his parents, with most of their money, sent Stavros to Constantinople to help fund the carpet shop owned by his first cousin once removed. What Stavros encountered on his journey, made on foot with a small donkey, made him question life in Anatolia even further. Once in Constantinople, his resolve to earn the 110 Turkish pound third class fare to the United States became stronger than ever. But try after try,... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

greek | america | dream | money | turk | See more »

Taglines:

The adventures of a young man who wouldn't be stopped. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 June 1964 (France)  »

Also Known As:

América, América  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gene Callahan was Kazan's 'set decorator' on films that Dick Sylbert, and his twin brother Paul, as an associate, had art directed for Kazan. The Sylbert twins had worked with Gene on CBS-New York Network and Local television productions as an art department team. Kazan asked Gene to travel with him to Greece, and to be his film's Production Designer. Noteworthy is that this is Gene's first 'art director' credit. During the film's location filming, Gene also decorated, as he supervised the sets preparation for filming (construction and set decorating) crews. During the film career of Kazan and Callahan, they performed as a team on many succeeding film projects. See more »

Quotes

Thomna Sinnikoglou: What will happen to you?
Stavros Topouzoglou: I believe... I believe that in America I will be washed clean.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Director Elia Kazan narrates the main portion of the closing credits, reading the words as they appear on the screen, using complete sentences such as "The cinematography was by Haskell Wexler." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sunny Side Up (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Frustration, Dreams And Loneliness
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User Reviews

A Forgotten Masterpiece
11 August 2002 | by (Hove, England) – See all my reviews

Kazan's reputation seems to have been diminishing for some time, a process, ironically, that his 'Lifetime Achievement' Oscar seems to have accelerated. Yeah, he did betray his fellows and himself in the 1950s. Again, ironically, it's the films he made later in his career, which show the scars of his loss of self-esteem, which are the most fascinating - WILD RIVER, SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS, THE ARRANGEMENT - and most powerful of them all, AMERICA AMERICA.

I too am surprised that this monument to Americanism and monument of American cinema, seems not very widely known in America itself. It has all the values of classic American cinema - a strong, simple narrative, a limpid visual style which eschews any directorial histrionics to concentrate purely on the characters. It is the story of young men driven from their homeland and making the long voyage to America - the huddled masses yearning to be free. The journey is long and terribly hard, and even as the shore of American comes into view, sacrifices still have to be made. The end of the film is enormously powerful, one of the most moving I have ever seen - the effect is still with me now, 30 years after seeing it.

It is the story of Kazan's father and uncle - the character who makes an appearance, played by Richard Boone, in Kazan's more heavily fictionalised subsequent film THE ARRANGEMENT. It is a personal story, and the simplicity of the telling seems like the end of a process of endless re-telling around smokey fireplaces, and before children go to sleep, a family saga which has almost attained the status of myth. The savagery of the film's first hour, and the dream-like quality of the last act make AMERICA AMERICA a genuine and powerful part of American mythology.

So don't torture yourself about whether Kazan was morally and politically wrong in betraying his colleagues - see AMERICA AMERICA, and you'll see why he could never have acted any differently. Yes, he was a radical, and a leftist, and a deeply intelligent and passionate man; but he was also an immigrant - and his horror of disenfranchisement and ejection overcame his moral and political views. Kazan may criticise aspects of its culture and politics, but he loves and respects and is grateful to America above all. So he made his choice. He could have made no other.


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