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4.6 out of 5 stars44
4.6 out of 5 stars
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2003
I became aware of the existence of over 50 minutes of additional scenes in this film in the past two years. The original, pruned version received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1990. I have owned the video for a decade. Then, last summer, the "new version" was shown in limited release, and a DVD was promised. With the addition of the deleted scenes, an entirely different film is created. Owning this DVD is owning a brand new version of the film's events.
Initially, the film was considered too long, and massive scenes were cut, removing any and all references to whatever happened to Salvatore's great love, Lina. The original version of the film focused mainly on the young boy, fatherless in post-WWII Sicily, bonding with the childless cinema projectionist, Alfredo. The young Toto grows into the teen-aged Salvatore, who falls in love with the beautiful and unattainable Lina. They are parted. That is the last we see. Salvatore returns to his village many years later to attend the funeral of Alfredo, and the film is told nearly entirely in flashback.
In this version, Salvatore is reunited with his lost love when he returns for the funeral. To think that this entire plot was removed from the film initially is almost unthinkable. There are other parts of the film that could have been edited to keep these additional scenes in. I don't know what the producers, directors or the studio were thinking when they edited a huge part of the movie out.
Well, now the film is complete. Whereas the original version focused mainly on the relationship of Toto and Alfredo, we now see a conclusion to Toto and Lina as well. And, we understand the ending of the film in an entirely, much less sentimental light. Salvatore has spent the bulk of his life mourning his lost love, not returning to his village, and not knowing of Alfredo's hand in the matter. He is facing life-changing decisions, and must ultimately dip into a pool of acceptance and forgiveness. Without the addition of these scenes, the point is lost.
This was an excellent film to begin with, now it is nearly perfect. It is bittersweet and touching, and all the more realistic with the deleted scenes returned. If you own the original version, you must own this version. You will see this film in a completely different light.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2003
First of all, there are two versions of the film on DVD, and everyone has their own opinion on which one they like.
I had only seen the 2 hour version once, so while I loved the movie, I had no real sentimental attachment to that version. In my own personal opinion, once you see the "new" version, you can't go back. It answers the questions left open in the edited version - it's like seeing the original and the perfect sequel all in one.
Anyhow, as one who normally enjoys action films and comedies, this film is a real change of pace for me. But anyone who doesn't love it is completely out of their minds. It sucks you in and makes you an emotional part of it. The story, coupled with an incredible score, takes you away.
It will also take your date away if you choose a special someone to watch it with. The ending montage is fantastic.
I have a DVD collection of about 100 movies, and this one, by far, gets the most playtime. Get it. Best money ever spent on a movie.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2003
The New Version is great. The added scenes in which Toto meets his teenage love, Elena, are wonderful and add a soulful richness that was lacking in the US version. The resolution of their relationship completes the film as a whole and makes the final scene where Toto watches the missing kissing scenes even that more powerful. The film is filled with such a warmth and genuine feeling of nostalgia; like so many great Italien films, this movie is very moving and touching on many levels. Simply put, this is a great film watching experience. The DVD transfer is excellent; it is extremely sharp, and the color is rich and very natural. If you loved the US version released in 1989, I highly recommend getting this expanded version. You will not be disappointed at all; just make sure you have a box of Kleenex for the ending!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2004
I loed this film in its theatrical release in 1989. I certainly felt it deserved the Academy Award (for best foreign language film). I also loved seeing the full version that lays out all the details of the relationships, and their resolution.
I also enjoyed reading everyone's opinion as to whether the original version or the longer one is better. I can't decide myself. But a critical point to make is that THIS DVD contrains both versions (on either side of the DVD). So regardless of which you prefer (and here is the perfect opportunity to find out), it is on this version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 10, 2009
World War II has just ended and life in the Sicilian village of Giancaldo centers around the Cinema Paradiso where townsfolk gather to see the exciting and glamorous life outside. Young Toto spends all his free time sneaking into the theatre for the movies and most especially for the old projectionist, Alfredo, who loves him like a son. Toto wants to grow up and show movies just like Alfredo, but one night, there is a terrible fire in the projection box.

This movie is simply perfect. It's nostalgic and sentimental and quite touching. The actors are uniformly excellent, especially the beautiful and wide-eyed Salvatore Cascio who plays Toto as a child and Marco Leonardi who gives a sensitive performance as teenage Toto. Philippe Noiret is the wonderful old projectionist who teaches Toto about life. In some ways, this movie is similar to The Last Picture Show; it's about the passage of time with the one constant being the local theatre. We watch as Toto grows up and the town modernizes, but the villagers retain their close bond with one another.

The soundtrack alone is enough to send you running for tissues; it's simply beautiful and heartbreaking. The direction is outstanding, with nary a single wasted moment. In Italian with English subtitles, it's a universally-appealing story of a boy who falls in love with movies. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2003
In spite of some extra scenes that I think are unnecessary, this extended new version of "Cinema Paradiso" stills makes a great impression on me. This Italian masterpiece about the growth of a Sicilian kid (Salvatore Cascio, in a brilliant debut) from childhood, adolescence (in the person of Marco Leonardi), to manhood (in the shape of French actor Jacques Perrin) through movies is marvelous, touching, and truly entertaining.
When I first saw "Cinema Paradiso" back in 1990, I fell in love instantly with it, thus becoming one of my favorite movies. The innocence of Toto as he wants to learn how to handle a projector, thanks to the help of Alfredo (French acting legend Philippe Noiret); the tough times in his adolescence, working as a projectionist, having an impossible romance with Elena, doing military service; and his loneliness as a movie producer in his adulthood. Everything caused me a great impact, and still does everytime I watch this film by Giuseppe Tornatore.
Now, in this extended version, I like the fact that Toto -as an adult -has the chance to see Elena again and discovers why they failed to meet at the Paradiso prior to his departure for Rome. In my opinion, that's the most important new scene of the movie. I really wanted to know that, and now I feel satisfied.
All in all, I still like this great work of love everytime I see it. A work of love towards life, innocence, romance and, above all else, movies. A great homage to cinema.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2003
This film should reach straight into the heart of every man who has loved his father or who has loved the man who stood in for his biological father who, for whatever reasons, couldn't be there. There have been many films about father-son relationships and some of those films have been great. Cinema Paradiso is one of those. It expresses in the most touching and beautiful images and with the most tender and powerfully moving music, the need of every man to find and cherish the love that lives in the deepest realms of his heart, of his soul. The final scene of this film expresses one man's discovery of this love.
Along with the final scene in Alan J. Pakula's film, "To Kill A Mockingbird", Cinema Paradsio's final scene is the most profoundly meaningful and touching visual metaphor found in any film I've ever seen. A treasure. Cinema Paradiso is a masterpiece of love and affection about - and for - the whole family of human souls.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2003
Last year, a good friend of mine, her boyfriend, and her best friend were in a terrible car crash. My friend along with her friend were killed and her boyfriend was seriously injured. Since both my friend and her boyfriend were in my film class, my professor showed this film.
At the time, I was impressed with it, the pain of what happened was all too real... but looking back, she made a good choice in showing the film. It showed me a little bit about dealing with loss as well as fulfilling your dreams... It's a wonderful movie about life, love, and passion... check it out for yourself!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2002
Most director's cuts of movies have novelty values. Some such as Blade Runner or the Extended Version of The Fellowship of the Ring not only enhance the experience but also made one wonder why the original versions were released at all. Sadly, the director's cut of Cinema Paradiso was a major disappointment. The addional footage in the first half, such as Toto losing his virginity were inconsequential, however the addition of a major sequence in the second half, when after the funeral, Toto met and rekindled his relationship with the now older Elena altered the trajectory of the movie and worst of all, diminished the emotionally charged ending.
The original version of Cinema Paradiso is one of my favourite films of all time. There is also little doubt that Tornatore is a wonderful film maker, however, in this case, the original editor(s) deserved praise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2003
The extended DVD version has been released in some countries for many months. For those who loved the original theatrical release, this extended one is a MUST. See for yourself.
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