once upon a time in america

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(1984, d Sergio Leone)
Starring Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Jennifer Connelly

Internationally-renowned filmmaker Sergio Leone was known for his re-invention of the Western with films like The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966) and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). Leone’s final film, Once Upon a Time in America (1984), re-envisioned the gangster genre. Based on Harry Grey's novel, The Hoods, the story follows the lives of a gang of childhood friends, led by David “Noodles” Aaronson (Robert De Niro) and Maximilian “Max” Bercovicz (James Woods), as they rise to prominence in New York City's criminal underworld.
Spanning a period of American history from the 1920s to the 1960s in a non-chronological structure, Leone and the film's crew meticulously evoked three separate eras through masterful production design, costuming, and a brilliant score by Ennio Morricone. Exquisitely lensed in the United States and Europe, Once Upon a Time in America was one of the last great epics to be shot before the advent of the digital age. With its unforgettable imagery and powerful performances, the film is the culmination of Sergio Leone’s magnificent career.


Working with the Leone family, the Cineteca di Bologna restored the 229-minute version of the film utilizing the original camera negative held by the film’s rights holder, Regency Enterprises. Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging (MPI) scanned the original camera negatives at 4K resolution.  
The Cineteca di Bologna’s lab, L’Immagine Ritrovata, undertook a 4K digital restoration of the scanned material including image stabilization, dirt removal, de-warping, de-flickering, and frame reconstruction, as well as an overall color correction. The results have been output to DCP and 35mm for screenings. For archival purposes, the data was backed up on LTO-5 and disk drives, and a new 35mm internegative was produced.

In addition, after years of research and interviews with Leone’s family and collaborators on the film, archivists at the Cineteca di Bologna rediscovered and restored roughly 20 minutes of the director’s original 269-minute version, bringing the film even closer to Leone’s original vision.

Photo Courtesy: Still Photographs ©1983 Embassy International Pictures ©2003 Regency Entertainment (USA), Inc. (United States) ©2003 Monarchy Enterprises S.a.r.l. (Canada and rest of world) from the Angelo Novi Collection/Cineteca di Bologna.

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