'Once Upon a Time in America: Extended Director's Cut' Dated and Detailed for Blu-ray

Posted Fri Jun 6, 2014 at 10:00 AM PDT by

The Sergio Leone classic is getting over 20 minutes of new footage in two Blu-ray editions this September!

In an early announcement to retailers, Warner Brothers will be releasing 'Once Upon a Time in America: Extended Director's Cut' on Blu-ray on September 30.

A Collector's Edition will also be available on the same date.

Spanning four decades, Sergio Leone's final film tells the story of David "Noodles" Aaronson (Robert De Niro) and his Jewish pals, chronicling their childhoods on New York's Lower East Side in the 1920s, through their gangster careers in the 1930s, and culminating in Noodles' 1968 return to New York from self-imposed exile, at which time he learns the truth about the fate of his friends and again confronts the nightmare of his past. Leone's film is both a criticism of gangster-film mythology and a continuation of the director's exploration of the issues of time and history, while the violence and gore that frequent the first half of the film turn into a sad elegy about wasted lives and lost love.

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 releases will feature a 1080p video, a lossless 5.1 soundtrack, and supplements will include a commentary by film historian and critic Richard Schickel, and a making-of documentary, “Once Upon a Time: Sergio Leone.”

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.”

Suggested list price for the Blu-ray is $19.98 and the Collector's Edition is $34.98.

You can find the latest specs for 'Once Upon a Time in America: Extended Director's Cut' linked from our Blu-ray Release Schedule, where it's indexed under September 30.

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Tags: Warner Brothers, Disc Announcements (all tags)