De Niro brings Cannes 'Once Upon a Time in America'

A visibly moved Robert De Niro and his co-stars from "Once Upon a Time in America" Friday hosted a screening of the restored 1984 classic by Sergio Leone before a Cannes red-carpet crowd.

The US actor had tears in his eyes as he climbed the steps of the festival palace to the sound of Ennio Morricone's original score, to introduce the movie restored by Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation.

De Niro, who plays an ex-gangster returning to Brooklyn years later, introduced James Woods and Elizabeth McGovern, old acquaintances of his in the picture, as well as 83-year-old Morricone who earned a standing ovation.

"This brings back the incomparable memories of working with the great Sergio Leone," the actor told the audience before the screening.

"I remember it as one of the longest movies I ever worked on -- I don't think Sergio ever wanted to finish it," De Niro joked.

US director and jury member Alexander Payne took place in the audience, as did actress Salma Hayek and her husband the luxury goods boss Francois-Henri Pinault, whose PPR group controls Gucci, a backer of the restoration project.

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