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Once Upon a Time in America is a film directed by Sergio Leone which was first released in 1984. It stars Robert  DeNiro and James Woods and is based on the novel 'The Hoods' by Harry Grey. While ostensibly an epic gangster story, the film is about friendship, love, betrayal, history, class, memory, and time. The narrative structure is non-linear, starting in the 1930s, moving forward to the 1960s, back to the 1920s and shifting several more times between the three periods. The film was first released against Leone's wishes edited down to a running time of 139 minutes, but the complete 229 minute version is widely available now. Among its many virtues are the cinematography, acting, period details and the beautiful musical score by Ennio Morricone.

Update 2012: an extended version of the film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. See here for more information.

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