Once upon a Time in Anatolia

  • 15
  • Nuri Bilge Ceylan (2011)
  • Tur / Bosnia (SUB)
  • 150 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

The search for a missing corpse allows director Nuri Bilge Ceylan to examine the widening fissures in Turkish society in this simmering study of corruption and incompetence. When two friends confess to murder in a remote southern town, a police chief (Yilmaz Erdogan) bundles them into a car and coerces a local doctor (Muhammet Uzuner) and prosecutor (Taner Birsel) into accompanying them on a nocturnal trek across inhospitable terrain to find the spot where the killers buried their victim. Ceylan deftly punctuates the seemingly innocuous chatter with damning details, and out of the conversation Birsel introduces a second mystery concerning a woman who predicted her own demise. The performances are as impeccable as Gokhan Tiryaki's cinematography, but it's Ceylan's mastery of composition and pacing that makes this so visually striking and dramatically compelling.

Plot Summary

Drama starring Yilmaz Erdogan. After a murder takes place in a remote Turkish village, the police and medical examiners spend 24 hours searching for the perpetrators and trying to locate vital evidence.

Cast and crew


Doctor Cemal
Muhammet Uzuner
Commissioner Naci
Yilmaz Erdogan
Prosecutor Nusret
Taner Birsel
Arab Ali, driver
Ahmet Mumtaz Taylan
Kenan, suspect
Firat Tanis
Ercan Kesal
Yasar, victim
Erol Erarslan
Tevfik, court driver
Ugur Aslanoglu
Izzet, police officer
Murat Kilic
Abidin, court clerk
Safak Karali


Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Other Information

Turkish +subtitles
Theatrical distributor: 
New Wave Films
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 16 Mar 2012
Certificate 15
Drakes Avenue Pictures Ltd