American Film

We're marking the 20th anniversary of the epic crime drama ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (1984) with an interview excerpt with the auteur filmmaker Sergio Leone from the pages of the June 1984 issue of American Film™ written by Pete Hamill. Throughout the candid interview, it’s clear filmmaking is a sacred belief to Leone who hails from a family steeped in the tradition of filmmaking. Often attributed with perfecting the spaghetti western genre with A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964), THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966) and ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968), Leone developed an artistic voice with a precise knack for uncovering the raw realities of the often cartoonish and glamorized American Wild West conceived by Hollywood during the 1950s. Leone confides to us about the arduous and lonely process of filmmaking throughout the 10-year process on what would be his last and arguably greatest film. Here he speaks to the sacraments of technical filmmaking and his devoted belief in the idealized American dream with the sentiment, “America is the determined negation of the Old World, the Adult World.”