Q&A with actors Robert DeNiro, James Woods, William Forsythe, and Treat Williams
Sergio Leone’s final and perhaps greatest film, Once Upon a Time in America is a New York gangster saga housed within an intricate temporal construction that shuttles between eras, plunging the characters and the viewer into an ocean of longing, regret, and rumination over what might have been. Robert De Niro and James Woods star as boyhood friends from the Lower East Side who build a bootlegging empire, and Elizabeth McGovern appears as the woman of their dreams (played as a girl by Jennifer Connelly). When this film was originally released in the United States, it was edited down to size and put in chronological order. It was followed by a re-release: a much longer cut that preserved the director’s structure. This version includes 22 minutes of restored footage—never before seen in the U.S.—that returned to the film three decades after its theatrical release, deepening the characters and enlarging the work of the astonishing cast that also includes Tuesday Weld, Joe Pesci, Treat Williams, and Louise Fletcher. (McGovern, Williams, and Fletcher are showcased in recovered scenes.) Restoration funded by Gucci and The Film Foundation.