New Cut Of Sergio Leone's 'Once Upon A Time In America' On The Way With 40 More Minutes

by Kevin Jagernauth
March 10, 2011 4:53 AM
14 Comments
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Did you just buy the recently released BluRay of Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time In America"? It might already be dated. Leone's sprawling gangster tale, which has long been subject to various cuts and edits, is now going to get a fresh coat of paint in a new director's cut that is now being prepared.

Variety reports Leone's children, Andrea and Raffaella Leone, have snagged the Italian rights and will be teaming with Bologna Cinemetheque L'Immagine Ritrovata to digitally restore the film, adding forty more minutes. Starring a massive ensemble lead by Robert De Niro and James Woods, the film has arrived over the years in number of different edits. Initially, Leone wanted to release it as two separate three hour movies, but the film's producers didn't want to take that expensive gamble. It first arrived in theaters in a butchered 134 minute version that was taken out of Leone's hands and put in chronological order. A three hour TV version showed up on the mid-90s and finally, there is the 229-minute version that is widely available today (such as on the aforementioned BluRay) -- it's the version that premiered at Cannes in 1984.

There's no word yet just what will be added but there is plenty to choose from, as Leone shot nearly ten hours worth of footage over the year long shoot. Fausto Ancillai, the original sound editor, will be supervising the restoration and the plan is to premiere the new 269-minute film in 2012 at either the Cannes or Venice film festival. Talks are already underway for the new version to go on VOD or get a theatrical release in Italy and we're sure more territories will follow eventually, and we'd presume a fresh BluRay release will come along at some point as well.

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14 Comments

  • MIHAI | January 2, 2012 8:50 AMReply

    i think this is the best news in the world ! to wach finaly the original cut of the gretest film ever made ho shout Citizane Kane and godfather under the table .....is a dream ! BUT WHEN IS GOING TO BE RELEAS THE DIRECORSCUT OF FISTFUL OF DOLLARS ...? BECAUSE ALL THE DVD VERSION OF FISTFUL OF DOLLARS ARE CUT .....

  • MIHAI | January 2, 2012 8:54 AM

    SERGIO LEONE WAS THE' DISTROYER 'OF AMERICAN CINEMA THATS WHY HOLIWOOD ENVY HIM TO THIS DAY.... AND HAD CUT ALL HIS MOUVIES.......! SERGIO HAD SHOWN THE REAL AMERICA IN HIS MOUVIES AND AMERICANS WHERE ASHAMED BY THAT......

  • bobbyd | December 24, 2011 6:58 AMReply

    they should re-make this with Mark Hamill, Carey Fisher, and Harrison Ford...directed by Spielberg & Harold Ramis....music by Chris Botti and Fine Young Cannibals

  • Jimmy | October 30, 2011 5:21 AMReply

    Johnny Depp?? Downey Jr.?? Are you effing high or something!?!?

  • lee | September 29, 2011 12:24 PMReply

    Jonny Depp!!! 3D !!! are you crazy With all due respect Mr deniro's acting is far above what Depp can hope for.
    I think 3D would spoil this times film that has so much buauty about it. The best movie of all time without question for me.

  • Guy P | September 5, 2011 1:48 AMReply

    Stephen M, I agree with you! I saw it on a huge screen in Chicago in 1984 and I was completely amazed! I saw it three or four times because I knew I would never be able to see it on the big screen again in my life. Well, all these years later, it looks like I'll have the chance with more of Leone's footage. Yes, I would prefer to see the 6 hour version, but that will never happen because Sergio didn't get chance to put that together. The new version was a cut that Sergio actually created himself for release, then IT was cut down to the version we know today. So, I CAN HARDLY WAIT! -guy

  • sp | March 11, 2011 7:12 AMReply

    I remember seeing this movie on VHS as a young kid, and being completely enthralled from beginning to end. Too bad this movie never got the love and critical respect that "Godfather I & II " received. Also, I stil remember seeing a young Jennifer Connelly in this splendid film.

  • Stephen M | March 11, 2011 4:32 AMReply

    YAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!

    This movie has got to be the fastest 4 hour movie ever made. I was so stunned the first time I saw it that I watched it twice in one weekend. It is an absolute masterpiece.

    Nevertheless, despite its tremendous length, it has some real story gaps. You can tell that things are missing at a couple points around the 2/3 mark--scenes just feel sort of disconnected. I knew the first cut had originally been like 6 hours long, and I always wanted to see what had been cut, but I figured this would never happen.

    Man, if somehow this could come out next year, and Bogdanovich and Co. could release Welles's Other Side of the Wind, I'd be ready for the rapture.

  • Erik | March 10, 2011 5:49 AMReply

    I think the movie is absolutely stunning and brilliant, but I'm not sure it could support another 40 minutes - it feels quite long as it is.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | March 10, 2011 5:40 AMReply

    Yeah, that's the current version: 229 min = 3 hrs 49 min.

  • MIJO | March 10, 2011 5:39 AMReply

    theres a version on Netlfix instant watch thats 3hr 49min

  • Mike_M | March 10, 2011 5:31 AMReply

    To bad I just got the new DVD, oh well, wouldn't mind a longer cut, hopefully some new bonus material too.

  • taptup | March 10, 2011 5:08 AMReply

    I've always thought this was material for a good movie. It should be remade with Johnny Depp, Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson.

  • chuck | March 10, 2011 4:57 AMReply

    It should be converted into 3D.

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