I have almost no shame in admitting I’ve never seen Once Upon a Time in America. I love Sergio Leone, I love period piece gangster films, and it stars three great actors — Robert De Niro, James Woods, and Joe Pesci — while they were still doing some of their finest work. But I’ve always known that a longer version of the film — one which would adhere to his original vision — was simply waiting for the right resources to come together. Why would I watch the abridged version of a (still reportedly great) film, anyway?
Variety reports that Leone‘s children, Raffaella and Andrea, have finally managed to assemble the 269-minute (i.e., 4-hour and 29-minute) cut, referred to as a “redux,” which will see a world premiere at Cannes next month. Restoration efforts on the part of Martin Scorsese‘s The Film Foundation, Bologna Cinematheque’s L’Immagine Ritrovata lab, and even Gucci have brought it back to the Italian’s legend’s intended length; however, the content of these 40 minutes haven’t been detailed.
Some kind of limited theatrical and then, eventual home video release should be in the cards — I wonder if Warner Bros. is kicking themselves in the head for recently putting out a Blu-ray — but, as of right now, our main focus should be some kind of reaction from the lucky attendees. When it comes together for everyone else, I’ll be able to catch Once Upon a Time in America for the first time — and as it was intended, to boot.
Have you seen Once Upon a Time in America? Are you interested in this new cut?
Latest posts from The Film Stage