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Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
The greatest movie ever filmed
A team of 6 writers worked on a script for nearly 10 years. Sergio Leone turned down the chance to direct The Godfather so he could make Once Upon A Time in America, his dream project. Filming and post-production of this movie took another 2 years. Upon it's original theatrical release, the movie was butchered by the studio, and released in a 139 min version, which was confusing and incoherent because they edited all scenes chronologically (now that we all have seen the real version, we are aware what a big mistake this was). Today the only version available is the director's cut (the 239 min cut), and I'm happy to say that this movie is my #1. Never before or after has cinema seen such a devotion to details in the direction, such magnificent cinematography and atmosphere. The movie also features another amazing score by the legendary Ennion Morricone, strong performances by the whole cast, and a deep layered emotional plot that fills the 239 min of running time without becoming dull or uninteresting (a flaw featured in many movies that are longer than 3 hours). This movie, along with Once Upon A Time in the West, is the reason why Sergio Leone is my #1 director for a very long time now.