Filmmaker Elia Kazan based America, America on the early life of his Greek-immigrant uncle. Stavros Topouzoglow is the young immigrant, whose starry-eyed impressions of America are soon compromised by reality. Despite the casual cruelties, betrayals, and career setbacks, Stavros forms strong and lasting friendships which help him weather the worst.
An Oscar went to the painstakingly accurate art direction of Gene Callahan. Despite moments that are not suitable for children, America, America won a rare bell-ringer rating from the high-school oriented Scholastic magazines back in 1963; in the years since, it has become a stalwart of the American Movie Classics cable service.