Well, there were two versions, but only one accepted by the director, Sergio
Leone. The shortened, re-edited print released on its original run was a
disastrous mess. Eventually, the "directors' cut" was released and restored
the film to its original form (which was released in Europe). You can only
tell by the running time and by the internal structure, which in the long
version, cuts between past and present with abandon. The ending was distorted
too so that brilliant ambiguity was vulgarized into a traditional "happy"
Everyone should contact A&E and condemn them for showing this hideous
version. The time savings resulted in a monstrous hybrid which pleased no-one
and lost a fortune.