A summary of the scenes which were cut from the movie or never filmed.  Details of all these scenes are in the shooting script.
To download the shooting script or details of the missing scenes:   click  here

Scenes which may have been filmed:

Young Max and Noodles rob a passer-by at knifepoint

Bugsy arrested - Max watches & lets Bugsy know that the arrest was down to him

Noodles watching Deborah on stage - Busby Berkeley Routine (1930s)

Noodles meets Eve again unexpectedly at the elevator in the hospital

Eve shows her falsies to Noodles in hotel room

Noodles & Eve in bed - Max & Carol surprise them - invite them to the beach

Lifeguard at the beach, having heard of the repeal of Prohibition, digs up a bottle of liquor from the beach and drinks it

Carol at the Rest home tells Noodles how Eve died alone.  Additional scenes of Carol at the Rest home

Scenes which were probably not filmed:

Noodles captured by hit men, doused with gasoline, escapes

The unfilmed title scene: Noodles hitches a lift, truck stops at a level crossing, train passes by carrying Ford cars, which change from '33 models to '68 versions - the Once Upon A Time In America titles come up - Noodles young and old in one shot with no cuts

Scene between old Noodles and the secretary of the Synagogue regarding the letter sent to him

Noodles' father, mother and brother. No food on the table

Young Noodles and the gang at an amusement park

Airport and aeroplane scenes

Turkish bath scenes

Scenes of Jimmy and striking workers at a steel mill. Gangsters shooting machine gun around Jimmy making an outline of his body on a sheet on a bed. Additional scenes and dialog for Captain/Chief Aiello

Noodles & Max check out robbing the Federal Reserve bank

Noodles ambling between revellers in Chinatown

Further details of the unfilmed title scene:


Where you heading?

Wherever you're going.

The TRUCKDRIVER sizes him up. He evidentally passes inspection; the TRUCKDRIVER gives him a nod, and he climbs into the cab.

We hear the sound of an APPROACHING TRAIN, and it whistles past, blocking the view, an endless freight train loaded with Fords, each one just like the next.

The train keeps passing...but gradually the Fords change from '34 models to those of '68 in blazing pink and turquoise and emerald green.

And, as if bridging the years, the title of the film fills the screen:


The train disappears, the rattle fades, and the barriers rise.

But we are no longer looking out over the open countryside.  We see instead a canyon of cement high-rises.  Heading the row of cars that face us over the crossing is a '60 Chevvy.  The driver is in his sixties too...grey hair, a scar on his left ear...NOODLES, forty years later.

Hopefully one day some of the unpublished footage that exists will be released.

Another scene which should be mentioned is the "underwater cemetery" idea which some say was inspired by a tale of Harry Grey's concerning how he had once eluded the mob by driving his car into the Hudson river and pretending to kill himself.  The camera could follow the driver of the car as he plummets underwater and dwell upon the wrecks lining the river bottom, modern sports cars and a slow dissolve to antique cars.

According to Frayling, initially whenever Leone was discussing the project to prospective backers, he would begin with the following scene.  Two men have dragged a heavy corpse to the edge of a wharf at night. The feet of the corpse are set in concrete - he is the victim of a gangland execution.  The camera follows the corpse as it sinks to the bottom of the river.  There we see other corpses: men chained to cars; women still wearing jewels.  Then the camera travels through a sewer to another underwater cemetery - this time with more impoverished-looking corpses: one tied to a cart; another in rags. Clearly the bottom of the river has neighborhoods just like New York.  Finally the camera rises to the surface again and reveals the Statue Of Liberty, reflected in the moonlight.  

Title: Once Upon A Time in America

An adapted version of this scene was used in the opening of 99 and 44/100% Dead (1974) and the original idea was dropped.

According to Ernesto Gastaldi, Leone gave him a copy of The Hoods and introduced him to Grey, who looked like Frank Sinatra. Gastaldi was especially taken with Grey's tale of being chased by the mob and driving his car into the Hudson River and came up with the idea of the camera following the car and viewing car wrecks lining the bottom of the river and a time transition.

Leone tells it a little differently claiming that he wrote the scene with American screenwriter Robert Dillon who immediately afterwards practically stole the whole of the first part by giving it to 99 and 44/100% Dead... which had at the beginning the sequence Leone wanted to make, a cemetery under the water of the Hudson River.

Some screencaps from John Frankenheimer's 99 and 44/100% Dead (1974)

The video case of 99 and 44/100% Dead says:

An amusing and thrilling send-up of the American gangster movie starring Richard Harris, Edmond O'Brien (last film), Ann Turkel, Chuck Connors and Bradford Dillman. A unique movie that blends the James Bond type of thriller with the Matt Helm kind of film and emerges with a cynical and pleasing style of its own. Music by Henry Mancini.

There's tongue in cheek narration and voiceovers, cheesy music and apart from the opening and some comic moments it's not a very good movie.