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Sergio Leone DIRECTOR


Sergio Leone was born in Rome, Italy on January 3, 1929 to silent film director Vincenzo Leone (a.k.a Roberto Roberti) and actress Bice Valerian. Growing up around motion pictures, naturally Leone became enthralled with them. However, his father insisted that he go into a law career instead. At age eighteen, while attending school, Leone began getting an education in filmmaking from family members. Eventually, he decided to drop law school and focus solely on creating pictures.

He first served as assistant director for Vittorio de Seca’s “Bicycle Thieves” (1948). Leone continued to work under other directors throughout the 1950's, with such pictures as “Rigoletto” (1949), “Mi permette, babbo!” (1956), and “Aphrodite, Goddess of Love” (1958). With the latter, he also launched his screenwriting career. He wrote a few more times, as well as helped direct, before he finally got the chance to solo direct his first movie.

“Colossus of Rhodes” (1961), which he also wrote, became Leone’s directorial debut. Although he continued to write for films like “Duel of the Titans” (1961) and “Le verdi bandiere di Allah” (1963), he did not direct another feature until 1964, for fear of failure. Fortunately, his “A Fistfull of Dollars” (1964), a European western flick (Spaghetti Western) starring Clint Eastwood, turned out to be wildly popular. His subsequent films, both of which featured Eastwood, “For a Few Dollars More” (1965) and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966), completed what came to be known as the famous “Dollars Trilogy”.

In 1967, due to his major success, Leone was invited to America to write and direct what he hoped would be his greatest masterpiece. Paramount Pictures’ Henry Fonda western “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968) flopped at U.S. box offices as a result of Paramount’s brutal editing, but massively took off in Europe. After, he reluctantly directed the war centered westerner “Duck, You Sucker” (1971). Unfortunately, it failed miserably.

Leone then decided to take a break from the director’s chair to get himself together and ready to put out another hit. In the meantime, he began producing pictures, including the comedies “Il gatto” (1977), “Fun is Beautiful” (1980), and “Bianco, rosso e Verdone” (1981). He did, however, have a few more uncredited producing and directing positions, as well as guest acting appearances. During this time, he was also asked to direct the gangster epic “The Godfather” (1972), but he turned the offer down.

In 1984, Leone returned to directing with his own gangster flick, “Once Upon a Time in America”. The four hour long Robert De Niro and James Wood picture, set in America’s prohibition age, presented the friendships of a group of New York City gangsters. Warner Brothers cut the film’s running time in America, and it received copious amounts of criticism. However, when the full length DVD version of the picture was released, critics rejoiced and Americans hailed it as a masterpiece.

He appeared as a guest in a movie and a television show, as well as helped write and produce “Troppo forte” (1986) following the release of his final film. Although his previous effort flopped, Leone was determined to make a comeback and had a World War II picture in the works. Sadly, he never lived to see this ambition become reality, as he suffered from a fatal heart attack on April 30, 1989 in his birthplace, Rome, Italy. Although, he only directed eleven movies, Entertainment Weekly named him the 41st Greatest Director of all time, an honor he would have been happy to have.

1986       Troppo forte

1984       Once Upon a Time in America

1981       Bianco, rosso e Verdone 

1980       Fun Is Beautiful 

1979       Il giocattolo

1977       Il gatto

1975       A Genius, Two Friends, and an Idiot 

1973       My Name is Nobody

1971       Duck, You Sucker 

1968       Once Upon a Time in the West

1966       The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

1965       For a Few Dollars More 

1964       A Fistful of Dollars

1963       Le verdi bandiere di Allah 

1962       The Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah

1962       Il cambio della guardia 

1961       Duel of the Titans 

1961       The Colossus of Rhodes

1961       The Seven Revenges  

1959       Ben-Hur 

1959       The Last Days of Pompeii 

1959       Son of the Red Corsair 

1959       The Nun's Story 

1959       Sheba and the Gladiator

1959       Quai des illusions 

1958       Aphrodite, Goddess of Love 

1957       The Teacher and the Miracle 

1956       Mi permette, babbo! 

1956       Questa è la vita 

1956       Helen of Troy 

1955       La ladra 

1954       Concert of Intrigue 

1954       Jolanda, the Daughter of the Black Corsair 

1954       Hanno rubato un tram 

1953       Frine, cortigiana d'Oriente 

1953       L'uomo, la bestia e la virtù

1952       I tre corsari

1952       La forza del destino 

1952       La tratta delle bianche  

1952       Il folle di Marechiaro 

1951       Quo Vadis

1951       Milano miliardaria 

1950       Outlaw Girl

1950       Taxi di notte 

1950       Faust and the Devil 

1950       Il voto 

1949       Rigoletto 

1949       Il trovatore 

1949       Fabiola 

1948       Bicycle Thieves

1941       La bocca sulla strada 

Matinee Classics - A Fistful of Dollars starring Clint Eastwood, Marianne Koch and Gian Maria Volonte
Matinee Classics - Once Upon a Time in the West starring Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Jason Roberds, Charles Bronson, Gabriele Ferzetti, Paolo Stoppa, Woody Strode, Jack Elam, Keenan Wynn, Frank Wolff, Lionel Stander and Al Mulock
Matinee Classics - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly starring Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffre, Luigi Pistilli, Rada Rassimov, Enzo Petito, Claudio Scarchili, John Bartha, Livio Lorenzon, Antonio Casale, Sandro Scarchili, Benito Stefaneli, Angelo Novi and Antonio Casas

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