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Sergio Leone’s ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ Gets the Blu-Ray Treatment

Sergio Leone's 'Once Upon a Time in America' Gets the Blu-Ray Treatment

For its 30th anniversary, “Once Upon a Time in America,” legendary director Sergio Leone’s final film, is being released on Blu-Ray this September.  If you’re a fan of the gangster epic, your first question might be–which version?

The film has had a bit of a tortured history in the U.S.  After a Cannes premiere in 1984, Leone’s more than four-hour cut came to the states in a drastically edited 134-minute version that told the story in chronological order–of which Leone did not approve.  In the 1990s, a three-hour version could be found on TV and a 229-minute edit made the rounds on home video.  Then, in 2012, a restored cut played at Cannes but was held from wider distribution to allow for more restoration work.

Now, finally, “Once Upon a Time in America” is available with its full director’s cut–in fact, the Blu-Ray edition includes 22-minutes of extra footage, bringing the film to a total time of 251 minutes.  The restoration was overseen by Fausto Ancillai, the film’s original sound editor.

Leone’s film follow Robert De Niro as David “Nodles” Aaronson, a Jewish New York gangster, from his 1920s childhood on the Lower East Side through his violent days in the 1930s to his return to New York in 1968 after a self-imposed exile.

The collector’s edition–due out September 30–will also include a 32-page book, complete with contemporary photographs, chronicling the making of the film, and a letter from Martin Scorsese, as well as commentary from film historian Richard Schickel.

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Eric Barroso

This unfortunately isn't the "full directors cut", it's still missing 18 minutes. Leone's Original cut was 269 minutes long.

Joseph Angier

I'm looking forward to this, as soon as I can carve out the time. In the interests of movie trivia: Just a few months after the release of the 134 minute version, the 1984 New York Film Festival showed the 229-minute cut (which I seem to recall had its own short theatrical life). This non-chronological version was dubbed a "director's cut," so I guess this Blu-Ray is "even more of a director's cut."

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