Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone’s final film, the crime epic "Once Upon a Time in America” starring Robert De Niro, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on this day in 1984. Leone pioneered the “Spaghetti Western” genre of film that was popular in the 1960s, a term that was used by American film critics to describe the stylistic westerns that were often produced and directed by Italian immigrants. Many of Leone’s films were box office blockbusters, in particular his “Dollars Trilogy” starring Clint Eastwood. Leone’s impact on modern filmmaking is unmistakable — he is often cited as a major influence by auteur directors like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.
“I can't see America any other way than with a European's eyes. It fascinates me and terrifies me at the same time.” —