Sergio Leone’s ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ Extended Director’s Cut Due Sept. 30

From Warner Bros. Home Entertainment:

Sergio Leone’s classic crime drama masterpiece the way he envisioned it, with 22 minutes of original footage

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to release U.S. debut of acclaimed Cannes Film Festival version restored by The Film Foundation

once-upon-a-timeSergio Leone’s original vision for his tour-de-force, Once Upon a Time in America (1984), will debut in the U.S. on September 30 with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s (WBHE) Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD with UltraViolet release of the Extended Director’s Cut Collector’s Edition. This 251-minute cut was a restoration funded by The Film Foundation, the film preservation organization founded by Martin Scorsese, and its partner Gucci. The Extended Director’s Cut, with 22-minutes of restored footage, has never been available in the United States. It made its debut at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was screened at other festivals in Europe. The restored footage has been returned to the film three decades after its theatrical release, deepening the characters and enlarging the work of its astonishing cast: Robert De Niro and James Woods as lifelong pals and crime kingpins, Tuesday Weld, Joe Pesci, Jennifer Connelly, Elizabeth McGovern, Treat Williams and Louise Fletcher. The latter three are showcased in recovered scenes.

Prior to the Blu-ray release, Once Upon a Time in America will have its U.S. premiere at the 2014 New York Film Festival which runs between September 26 and October 12. It will be a featured selection in the Festival’s Revivals section which re-visits recently restored classics.

The Collector’s Edition contains a new 32-page book with rare photos and insightful notes that chronicle the movie’s production history. The book also includes a letter written by Martin Scorsese. He noted, “At long last, materials for some of these missing sections have been found and re-inserted into the picture under the supervision of Leone’s family and surviving collaborators. The work has been completed by the magnificent team at Cineteca di Bologna and L’Immagine Ritrovata, with generous funding from Gucci, and it has been wonderful to witness this enlargement of Leone’s vision, step by precious step.”
Special features (available on all the editions) include commentary by film historian and critic Richard Schickel, and a making-of documentary, “Once Upon a Time: Sergio Leone.”

Once Upon a Time in America will be released in three home entertainment editions: the 2-disc Extended Director’s Cut Collector’s Edition Blu-ray ($34.99 SRP) which contains the Extended Director’s Cut, the 1984 theatrical edition, Digital HD with UltraViolet, plus the 32-page book with rare photos and chronicles of the movie’s production; the single-disc Extended Director’s Cut Blu-ray ($19.98 SRP); and the two-disc Extended Director’s Cut DVD ($14.97 SRP).


Sergio Leone, the Italian filmmaker whose artistic sensibilities created new interpretations of the American western with his landmark productions of “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” “A Fistful of Dollars” and “For A Few Dollars More,” and whose films brought international stardom to Clint Eastwood, crafts an unparalleled saga about two friends and the complex urban underworld in which they live.

Robert De Niro plays David “Noodles” Aaronson and James Woods is Max, a boyhood cohort with whom Max’s life becomes inextricably meshed. Once Upon a Time in America follows Noodles and Max and their cadre of Jewish gangsters in New York from their childhood in the early 1900’s, through the glory years of prohibition and the gang’s subsequent reunion 35 years later. The film, chronicling the ruthless ambitions that drive the two friends, is a compelling story that embraces a world of gritty realities, raw emotions, secret longings, explosive conflicts, and the volatile passions that destroy them and those who love them.

Once Upon a Time in America received two Golden Globe® nominations for Best Director and Best Original Score; won the British Academy of Film and Theater Arts (BAFTA) Award for Best Score and Best Costume Design; and earned Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, and Best Cinematography BAFTA nominations for Tuesday Weld, Sergio Leone and Tonino Delli Colli. Composer Ennio Morricone’s haunting score won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award.

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