Originally released in Italy at 155 minutes; after a very poor box office performance, the film was pulled out of circulation and shortened to 124 minutes. After it won the Special Jury Prize at the 1989 Cannes festival and the Best Foreign Film Oscar, it was re-released in Italy on video first in its initial 155 minutes cut and then in a special 170-minutes director's cut.
The longer versions of the movie, which are not available in English, include the alternate ending wherein Salvatore and Elena meet in a shop upon his return to Rome. A snippet of this scene is in the US version credits, where an old Elena is seen turning around and looking at Salvatore.
The footage shown during the end credits has been slightly re-cut for the US DVD version. Most notably, the shot of the adult Elena has been removed.
The 170 minute version was made available on limited release at U.S. theaters in 2002.