Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

2 h 41 min2019X-RayHDRUHDR
The 9th film from Quentin Tarantino features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood's golden age.
Quentin Tarantino
Leonardo DiCaprioBrad PittMargot Robbie
English [CC]
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EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Emile HirschMargaret QualleyTimothy OlyphantJulia ButtersAustin ButlerDakota FanningBruce DernMike MohLuke PerryDamian LewisAl Pacino
Quentin Tarantino
Columbia Pictures
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Smokingalcohol usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
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4.4 out of 5 stars

74235 global ratings

  1. 67% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 9% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Felix MillanReviewed in the United States on July 26, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
A bromance, a ray of light, and a slow drive through the Hollywood Hills...
Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood
35mm Print at The Hollywood Theater

I must confess; I am really struggling on my approach for reviewing this film. Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood Is a monument to so many grand and large-scale subjects. I am having a hard time writing because I am still processing and digesting what I saw. I couldn't sleep last night. The images and lines of dialogue circling my brain and tormenting me. Once Upon A Time was my last thought before I eventually slept and occupied my mind first thing upon waking.

This is a different story for Tarantino. No stranger to altering history to fit and build his narrative, Once Upon A Time is still so unique. We all know it’s roughly based on The Tate, Polanski, and Manson horror story of the late 60’s, but it’s presented in a way that I believe only Tarantino could have shown us. It takes it’s time, I mean really takes it time. Tarantino’s films are usually a pot boiler of suspense and pressure, building the tension throughout the entire film, a juggernaut sprinting to the finish line for the big payoff; Once Upon A Time takes a slow drive through the Hollywood hills. Large parts of this film take place on the set of other movies. Literally. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton, an actor on the wrong side of his prime. Bloated from booze, tired and struggling to stay relevant. A large portion of this film is Dalton’s internal torment. Every actor faces obsolescence, it’s inevitable. At what point do you hang up the gloves and accept it?

Dalton’s stunt double, errand boy, and bro til’ the very end: Cliff Booth, is played by Brad Pitt in the greatest performance of his entire career. We spend a lot, and I mean a lot of time with Cliff, which is fine with me because he is the best character Tarantino has ever created. We sit passenger with Cliff as he drives though 60’s Los Angeles, we spectate him goofing around on film sets, we see him in his crummy trailer, and not an acting trailer, it’s his shabby little home comfortably parked behind the drive-in theater. What makes Cliff so fun and interesting is that this is Cliff’s reality. He likes his life and he loves his friend. Tarantino never resorts to the easy path. Cliff never gets jealous of Dalton, doesn't mind fixing his cable antenna, loves being his driver, always there to pump him up and remind him “Hey! You’re Rick f***ing Dalton.” Success is relative and for Cliff someone who clearly wasn't born into Hollywood, this is just too much damn fun.

This movie is a large wonderfully written love letter to 60’s Los Angeles, Hollywood, commercials, cars, fashion, feet (a friend and I coined ham-footed, we know Tarantino has a thing for feet, but jeez there are a lot of women bare feet in this movie and usually right up in the camera), film and all of its facets, movie sets and production, all of the things that fascinated a young Quentin and inspired him to make movies. He adores them all, but the one aspect of this movie I feel he loved the most was Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate.

Robbie is undeniably one of the most talented and exciting performers in recent memory. She absolutely stuns in everything I’ve seen her in. This role was handled with a lot of respect, admiration, and love for Tate. She’s the bright, beaming ray of light this often troubled and at times very dark film clings to. I love that about Tarantino, his films center on strong women. Some of them stone cold killer, samurai sword wielding angels of pain and death, some of them are just regular people. Tate was undeniably special and mesmerizing, but she’s played and written so casual and natural. We see her go to the theater to watch herself in a movie she stars in, hoping and praying for that validation as the audience reacts to her scenes on the big screen. She’s like us. Better, but similar.

Everyone is going to talk about the end of this movie. I will not spoil anything. I had no idea what we were building up to it until we were there. This film is not aimless, but so deftly builds in tension I had no idea we were already two and a half hours into the film. I did not want to see a pregnant Sharon Tate’s fate in this movie. Talented as Tarantino is, I couldn't think of a way he could make this in a tasteful way. In my mind, the story ends in a perfect way. My two friends joining me were split on the ending. Not so much the content but the ideas. “These are real events and real people with real lives, this is based on.” It made my friend a little uneasy and said the feeling sat with him the entire film. While I respect and love my friend. I saw this movie a very sweet testament to a time that had a, well, most would say innocence, I say ignorant bliss. The end of an era. The Manson family murders changed everything. The way the world changes after a massive tragedy.

Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood is Tarantino’s grandest film. I would call myself a casual Tarantino fan, I have a ton of respect and admiration for his movies but am far from a fan-boy. That stated, I have to say without a doubt I’ve never been more excited to see a movie. I didn't watch trailers, I didn't read reviews, I wanted to be surprised. I love blind jumping into films and having no idea where the bottom is. Once I adjusted to the pace and stopped trying to analyze every single frame, I realized what this man was working towards and what kind of film he was making, I let myself fall under Once Upon a Time In...Hollywood’s enchanting spell and went for the ride. I was lucky enough to catch a 35mm film print on preview night at The Hollywood Theater, a perfect venue. At two hours and forty minutes I was still hungry for more. This film continues to sit in the forefront of my mind and will stay with me for a very long time. I must see it again.
954 people found this helpful
azviewer39586Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
HUGE Tarantino fan seriously disappointed - what happened??
Wow, this movie is 3 hours of SLOWWWW moving self-absorbed writing. Only the last 10 minutes of the movie gave you what you wanted from Tarantino. Obviously, everyone is too busy slobbering over the novelty of the movie right now. And it does have that, plus Pitt and DiCaprio... but otherwise it moves SO slowly and the scenes are just too long for no good reason.

You'll watch this movie maybe one time and again 2 years from now. You won't want to watch it often like you can watch Pulp Fiction, or some of his other movies. And yes, Tarantino is enormously self-absorbed in his writing.

Obviously who cares what I have to say about this given all the fawning going on, but it wasn't one of his better movies. I'm sure in his head he just thinks we all don't understand his genius.

If this movie just had no-name lead actors, it wouldn't stand on it's own.
622 people found this helpful
DKReviewed in the United States on July 28, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wow!!! 4 Hour Version Coming
Definitely one of Tarantino's best. The movie feels like a cross between Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown. Everyone in the movie does an excellent job in their roles. Great soundtrack and great cinematography! Also with this being Luke Perry's final film, it did him justice. I don't want to do a spoiler review. Just go, relax and sit back to a wonderful piece that brings the Hollywood vibe in the 60's justice. The film is basically set in three acts. First act is great and hilarious. The second half slows it down a bit but it brings more life to the story and characters. The third part is just jaw dropping glory!!! You will stand and cheer!!!! This is definitely a repeat viewing film. Great job Quentin and crew!!! A+++. Per Brad Pitt, Tarantino and Netflix are in negotiations to release a 4+ hour version of it on Netflix soon after release on home video. It will be broken up into chapters like they did with the extended version of Hateful Eight. Can't wait to see that!!!!

UPDATE: Per an interview at Deadline Jan. 13th 2020 -

The Rick-Dalton led fictional series Bounty Law, Tarantino says that he fully intends to shoot the five episodes he wrote for the show, directing them himself...

"As far as the Bounty Law shows, I want to do that, but it will take me a year and a half. It got an introduction from Once Upon a Tim in Hollywood, but I don’t really consider it part of that movie even though it is. This is not about Rick Dalton playing Jake Cahill. It’s about Jake Cahill. Where all this came from was, I ended up watching a bunch of Wanted, Dead or Alive, and The Rifleman, and Tales of Wells Fargo, these half-hour shows to get in the mindset of Bounty Law, the kind of show Rick was on. I’d liked them before, but I got really into them. The concept of telling a dramatic story in half an hour. You watch and think, wow, there’s a helluva lot of storytelling going on in 22 minutes. I thought, I wonder if I can do that? I ended up writing five half-hour episodes. So I’ll do them, and I will direct all of them."
332 people found this helpful
Travis JenkinsReviewed in the United States on November 23, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Probably the most boring movie I’ve ever forced myself through.
Verified purchase
I absolutely hated the movie. It was boring and uneventful. The acting was great but the story was worse than bland. I just watched them drive around and act in other movies the whole time. I kept thinking, something’s gonna happen now! It never did, not until the very end. And then even that was just distasteful. I used to love Tarantino’s movies. His originals were classics. This was a complete waste of time and I honestly feel angry after sitting through it all. I feel like I just ruined a few hours of my life that I can’t get back.
208 people found this helpful
robin friedmanReviewed in the United States on July 27, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Once Upon A Time With Quentin Tarrantino
I had the opportunity to see Quentin Tarrantino's new film "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" on the first day it played at the American Film Institute Theater. The title of the movie recollects two earlier "once upon a times", particularly "Once upon a Time in the West" and also "Once Upon A Time in America", a lengthy gangster flick. The former film, a spaghetti western has definite echoes in Tarrantino's movie, in which the two main characters travel to Italy for six months to make four spaghetti westerns in an attempt to prolong their careers.

The two primary characters are an actor and his friend and stuntman. They have appeared together since the 1950s in a television western and are struggling in the late Hollywood of the 1960s. The actor is a macho, cigarette-smoking bad guy while his stuntman is tough, deceptively quiet, and suspected many years earlier of killing his wife.

The film includes a large cast and many subplots. It captures a great deal of Hollywood glitz, glitter, and superficiality. Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski are among the many Hollywood stars with prominent roles in the film. The movie takes a long, slow look at Hollywood in the late 1960s. There is a feeling of nostalgia but also a feeling of shallowness.

Given its time setting, the Hollywood scene gets intertwined with the Manson cult. A highly effective scene in the movie takes place at the Spahn Ranch which Manson and his followers called home. It is appropriately eerie and disconcerting. The Manson murders also are made the basis for the fictionalized, violent, troubled climax of the film.

The film is well acted with many effective scenes and offers much to think about. It is not Tarrantino's best movie, but it is well worth seeing.

Robin Friedman
184 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on July 27, 2019
2.0 out of 5 stars
Once again Tarantino becomes so self-absorbed in his writing he doesn't know how to edit himself
I’ll get right to the point Once Upon a Time In Hollywood was another example of Quentin Tarantino getting so caught up in his writing and dialogue and characters he gets lost in them. It’s like he wants to go so much into his story he forgot how to edit. That’s shown by the fact that the movie is roughly 2 hrs and 45 minutes. If you liked Deathproof or the Hateful Eight that were similar IMHO in terms of having too much talking and not getting to the point than you’ll like this film. If not, it’s not worth seeing.

The movie focuses upon Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton a fading movie star. His best friend Cliff Booth played by Brad Pitt who used to be a stuntman but is now basically his man servant and Sharon Tate played by Margot Robbie. Here you have the fading star and the up and coming one. The movie ventures into their ups and downs and then throws in Charles Manson’s family. The family’s reign of terror is poised as the end of the myth of Hollywood. The movie is a re-imagining of those events and poses the question if this golden age of movies never ended.

The characters are all good, but the problem is Tarantino literally gets lost in them. There are so many extraneous scenes that could have been cut out and made for a much tighter story and gotten to the point in a lot faster than 2 hours and 45 minutes. It’s a real shame because I was hoping that Tarantino had gotten back on track after the Hateful Eight which I thought suffered from this same problem. Unfortunately it seems like Tarantino has become so self-absorbed in his own writing that he’s unable to pull himself out.
129 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on November 24, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Once Upon a Time
Verified purchase
This movie was the worst I have seen in a long time. What a waste of $20.00!!!!
91 people found this helpful
Coletti Reviewed in the United States on December 13, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Tarantino's Worst Film
Verified purchase
Watching this film feels like I'm reading a piece of really bad fan fiction made by Tarantino's biggest fan: His 8-year-old niece. It completely lacks character development, and most of the characters get a maximum of 5 minutes of screen time before getting erased from the rest of the script. It almost seemed like Tarantino wanted to give certain peripheral characters more development, but Hollywood told him he wouldn't have enough time to do so, which would be quite ironic considering this film takes place in Hollywood. Tarantino is known first and foremost for his exemplary dialogue writing and fascinating characters, but the movie is completely devoid of both. Plus, the editing in this film is incredibly sporadic and, for lack of a better adjective, terrible. There are some strange jump cuts scattered throughout the movie, which in turn made me jump much more effectively than a jump scare would due to how awkwardly spontaneous they were. Brad Pitt was great, as usual, and DiCaprio grew on me after initially thinking he was miscast, but generally the performances across the board were somewhat underwhelming. It was clear that Tarantino put all of his energy into the setting and none of his energy into the characters, which is baffling considering he usually never neglects his own characters in his screenplays. Tarantino's movies have always been really self-indulgent, but this one gave me an aching feeling that the only reason he made it was to flaunt his film tastes and apply that palate to the production design. I'm a loyal admirer of Tarantino's work, but I have a habit of becoming more and more critical of a respected artists' work over a prolonged period of time, and I can't lie to myself and say that Tarantino's movies are always going to be home runs. However, in the grand scheme of things, I still find it quite impressive that he finally came out with a total dud after all these years of being in the business (shhh Death Proof...). I may give this film another shot when the director's cut comes out since this cut of the movie didn't cut it for me (pun fully intended).
81 people found this helpful
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