“Once Upon a Time in America” is the only Sergio Leone film shot not in its 2.35: 1 crown screen format.
The film was the debut in the cinema for a 14-year-old model Jennifer Connelly. The following year, she played a leading role in the film "The Phenomenon" directed by Dario Argento, and 17 years later won the "Oscar" for the film "Mind Games".
The scenes on the seashore of Miami Beach were filmed in the city of St. Petersburg on the beach of Don Cesar.
In the scene, when the elderly "Noodles" watching television, it shows an interview with a character named James Conway O `Donnell. In the film “Good Guys” (1990), the character Robert De Niro is also named James Conway.
In preparation for the role of "Noodles", Robert De Niro asked for a personal meeting with the famous criminal boss Meyer Lansky, whose image he was guided by. Alas, he was denied this meeting.
Actress Claudia Cardinale unsuccessfully claimed the role of Carol.
Robert De Niro proposed that the aging Max have a dazzling smile of his snow-white teeth — this should demonstrate his wealth and vanity. The producers refused to pay the associated costs, and De Niro took it upon himself.
Initially, Sergio Leone was inspired by Harry Gray's autobiographical novel “The Hoods” (it took years for the director to get copyrights for her), but then, as the scale of the plan grew, he drew Norman Mailer and Stuart Kaminsky into the ranks of screenwriters.
When Stuart Kaminsky set to work, he was handed a description of the plot line of the film, exceeding 400 pages. In the course of working on the film, the 10-hour footage was cut down to 6 hours. At first, Sergio Leone wanted to release his picture in the form of two three-hour series, but the film studio did not appreciate this idea. Until now, the film has been cut by a new editor, Zach Stenberg, specially invited to the film crew for this purpose.
The hotel, in which the rich Noodles invited Deborah, was filmed in Venice. In this case, the road on which they returned home, is across the ocean - on the coast of New Jersey. The role of the driver was played by the producer of the film Arnon Milchan.
In the mid-1970s, Gerard Depardieu was one of the main contenders for the role of “Max” or “Noodles”, who promised, if necessary, to develop an American accent. In total, more than 200 actors entered the list of candidates for leading roles!
One of the contenders for the role of Max was a friend of Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci. After an unsuccessful trial of Joe, the director suggested that he choose any role in the film that he would like - as Peschi played Frankie.
One of the actors, James Hayden, died shortly before the premiere.
This picture was never shown in cinemas in the United States in full, as it was then believed that the audience would not go to such a long (227 minutes) film. Therefore, Leone was forced to reduce the version of the film to 139 minutes, removing from there all the cruelty. However, today the full version of 229 minutes has been released on DVD in the USA.
One of the heroes of the film, whose name is Kosoy, constantly plays the little flute ...