Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
This is a epic about Jewish gangsters in New York City from the master of the Spaghetti Western, Sergio Leone, with a great musical score by Ennio Morricone.
The snake scene appears in the Extended Director's Cut of the movie, which is over four hours long, but is better than the edited version. It appears to be one of the scenes cut from the original version since it has not been color corrected. Deborah (Elizabeth McGovern) is a childhood friend of the protagonist Noodles (Robert De Niro) in the 1920s, but after he raped her the night before she left New York to go to L.A. to become an actress, they became estranged. (There's no way she would dare go to the police to accuse a powerful gangster who is paying them off.) In the late 1960s she meets with Noodles again. He goes to a theater to see her perform Shakespeare's "Cleopatra." We see her on stage acting out part of the suicide scene where Cleopatra pulls a venomous snake out of a fig basket and makes it bite her breast. Just to make sure, she makes a second snake bite her on the arm, which is in the original play but not usually seen in movies. Shakespeare takes no chances with low venom yields or dry bites, and you have to respect him for that.