This music is composed by Ennio Morricone
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Once Upon a Time in America (Italian: C’era una volta in America) is a 1984 epic crime drama film co-written and directed by Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone and starring Robert De Niro and James Woods.
The film is an Italian–American venture produced by The Ladd Company, Embassy International Pictures, PSO Enterprises, and Rafran Cinematografica, and distributed by Warner Bros. Based on Harry Grey’s novel The Hoods, it chronicles the lives of best friends David "Noodles" Aaronson and Maximilian "Max" Bercovicz as they lead a group of Jewish ghetto youths who rise to prominence as Jewish gangsters in New York City’s world of organized crime. The film explores themes of childhood friendships, love, lust, greed, betrayal, loss, broken relationships, together with the rise of mobsters in American society.
The musical score was composed by Leone’s longtime collaborator Ennio Morricone. The film’s long production resulted in Morricone’s finishing the composition of most of the soundtrack before many scenes had been filmed. Some of Morricone’s pieces were played on set as filming took place, a technique that Leone had used for Once Upon a Time in the West. "Deborah’s Theme" was written for another film in the 1970s but was rejected; Morricone presented the piece to Leone, who was initially reluctant to include it, considering it too similar to Morricone’s main title music for Once Upon a Time in the West. The score is also notable for Morricone’s incorporation of the music of Gheorghe Zamfir, who plays a pan flute. At times this music is used to convey remembrance, at other times terror. Zamfir’s flute music was used to similarly haunting effect in Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975). Morricone also collaborated with vocalist Edda Dell’Orso on the score.