The Original: Post-apocalyptic sci-fi starring Kevin Costner as a mutant man living in a future where the polar icecaps have melted.
Extended Version: An Extended Cut aired on ABC in 1997, running at 177 minutes long. It later went to DVD.
There’s a full breakdown of every change here , if you care to take a look.
Best Addition: We get a proper look at the way The Smokers live their lives, which includes more screen time for a famously maligned Jack Black.
Riki-Oh: The Story Of Ricky (1991)
The Original: Hong Kong martial arts film based on the Japanese manga Riki-Oh.
A prisoner living in the ‘future’ 2001 sets out to get revenge against murderous prison guards.
Extended Version: A fully uncut version of the film was released on Hong Kong Legends Label DVD in the UK in 2002.
It added in nine minutes of previously unseen (not to mention gory) footage.
Best Addition: We’re not exactly here for the film’s flimsy narrative, are we? So the addition of even more OTT comic book gore is just what we wanted.
The Original: Divisive romantic comedy from director/writer Kevin Smith.
Two friends head to the mall after being dumped by their girlfriends.
Extended Version: A 10th anniversary DVD was released in 2005 which added 30 minutes of footage to the film, including many deleted scenes and a number of different subplots.
Best Addition: The alternate opening, in which T.S. (Jeremy London) is mistaken as a sniper at the Governor’s house. Cue chaos.
The Original: Running at 132 minutes long, Terry Gilliam’s futuristic head-scratcher follows Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), who’s obsessed with the beautiful woman he’s glimpsed in his dreams.
Extended Version: A 142 minute cut was first released in 1996 by The Criterion Collection, and now comes Blu-ray approved by Gilliam himself.
Best Addition: Most of the additions are extensions of dialogue scenes, the best of that being the romantic scenes between Sam and Jill, and the explanation of the terrorists and Tuttle’s involvement.
Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
The Original: Romero’s follow-up to Night Of The Living Dead , which relocates the flesh-munching hilarity to a mall.
Extended Version: Romero wasn’t a fan of the extended cut, so he decided to snip his own Director’s Cut, which added in a load of character stuff and totalled about 15 minutes of extra footage.
Best Addition: Though there’s more character development, we also get more of the good stuff, as loads of gore is reinstated – including a brainier splatter when the janitor zombie bites it.
The Original: David Lynch’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi novel. The story revolves around a battle between the Fremen and the House Harkonnen on a desert planet.
Extended Version: There are numerous extended versions, but the main one available on DVD in the UK runs at 180 minutes long.
David Lynch’s name has been removed from the credits as the director doesn’t approve of it.
Best Addition: The new intro, which was Lynch’s bone of contention.
Using narration and drawings, it introduces us to the world of Dune – a godsend considering how confusing the film is without it, especially for a PG audience.
Until The End Of The World (1991)
The Original: Sci-fi drama set in a future 1999, where a woman encounters a man who has a device that lets you record your dreams.
Extended Version: A 280-minute cut was assembled by director Wim Wenders and divides the film up into three parts.
It’s still unavailable on DVD but occasionally tours festivals.
Much of the additional footage helps explain character motivations and adds colour to an epic adventure.
Best Addition: A bar scene, glimpsed in the theatrical cut’s trailers, which is reminiscent of the one in Wings Of Desire.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
The Original: Steve Carell stars as Andy, the titular innocent, whose buddies decide to help lose his V-plates.
Extended Version: Additional and extended scenes were re-edited into the film for its DVD release, with 17 minutes of footage added in.
Best Addition: Many of the additions and extensions flesh out the relationship between Andy and his work buddies.
That includes an even longer version of the “You know how I know you’re gay?” gag. Sweet.
The Original: Sylvester Stallone returns for his fourth round as the unkillable, irrepressible Vietnam veteran.
This time, he heads to Burma to rescue a group of Christian Aid workers.
Extended Version: The Extended Edition adds nine minutes of footage and is often referred to as Stallone’s Director’s Cut.
The extended version is notable for adding in more character beats in an attempt to get inside Rambo’s head. The title card’s also changed to John Rambo.
Best Addition: A little moment where Rambo, having driven the armour boat to the shore, burns the boat and his knife.
Betty Blue (1986)
The Original: Romantic drama about the love that blossoms between writer Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) and waitress Betty (Béatrice Dalle).
Extended Version: A Director’s Cut released in 2005 runs at 178 minutes, a whole hour longer than the theatrical version.
Best Addition: A series of encounters with supporting characters that enrich the narrative and help turn Betty Blue into an epic of love and pain.
The Original: Gory mayhem in Peter Jackson’s splatter comedy.
When a woman is killed by the bite of a rat-monkey, she comes back to life and just can’t stop eating – anything or anyone.
Extended Version: An 85 minute version exists, but Peter Jackson’s preferred cut is his own 97 minute version (itself edited down from a 104 minute cut).
Best Addition: There’s nothing massively different, except for Jackson having given the film an “additional spit and polish”, which makes it look even better than before.
The Original: Sumptuous, feast-for-the-eyes fantasy from Ridley Scott, starring Tom Cruise as Jack, who sets out on a quest to stop Tim Curry’s evil Lord Of Darkness.
Scott’s original cut was 150 minutes long. That was edited down to 89 minutes for the theatrical release.
Extended Version: Scott finally release his Director’s Cut in 2002, which ran at 113 minutes and reinstated a great long list of additional and extended scenes.
Best Addition: The restoration of Jerry Goldsmith’s original score, which was swapped out in favour of Tangerine Dream’s odd ‘80s rock outfit for the theatrical release.
The Original: A period drama based on Peter Shaffer’s stage play.
Set in the latter half of the 18th century, Antonio Salieri attempts to exploit the genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Extended Version: The original cut was 158 minutes, which is pretty long in itself.
For the 2002 DVD release of the film, though, director Milos Forman added in another 20 minutes of footage.
Best Addition: Both Mozart’s descent into depression and the rivalry between Salieri and Mozart’s wife Constanze (Elizabeth Berridge) are fleshed out further, lending the film a darker edge that ramps up the emotion.
Sin City (2005)
The Original: Black and white (with splashes of colour) adaptation of Frank Miller’s brilliant graphic novel.
Extended Version: The DVD release of the film adds seven minutes of footage to each of the film’s four storylines.
Among those are more screen time for Carla Gugino as Lucille in ‘That Yellow Bastard’, and a scene in which Marv goes to his mother’s house to fetch his gun, Gladys.
Best Addition: That gun-fetching moment for Marv, which shows that despite his bloodthirsty, brutish manner, he’s still a bit of a softie on the inside.
The Exorcist (1973)
The Original: William Friedkin’s hysteria-making horror movie about a little girl who’s possessed by the devil.
Extended Version: In 2000, Friedkin released his own recut version of The Exorcist , dubbed ‘The Version You’ve Never Seen’.
It added in a few little chill scares, some beautiful shots and the Best Addition below…
Best Addition: The infamous spider stair crawl, in which young Regan leaves her bed to crawl down the stairs, bent backwards like a spider. Terrifying.
The Big Red One (1980)
The Original: Sam Fuller’s war epic, which was hacked to pieces by the studio prior to the film’s release, resulting in the underwhelming and at times totally confusing 116 minute edit.
Extended Version: Twenty-four years after the studio butchered it, US film critic Richard Schickel used Fuller’s production notes to restore the film to its former glory.
His cut ran at 160 minutes long.
Best Addition: The scene in which the Horsemen are trapped in the Roman coliseum and saved by the French Spahi Moroccan cavalry.
It ends with the shocking sight of Moroccan Goums removing the ears of German cadavers.
The Original: Clive Barker’s legendarily misunderstood/butchered/loathed/loved mutant movie, in which deformed freaks attempt to evade a psycho serial killer.
Nightbreed’s botched theatrical release saw 20th Century Fox cut the film something chronically, removing most of the gore and marketing it as a slasher flick.
Extended Version: Years later, the Cabal Cut was assembled by Barker’s friend Russell Cherrington, who used the director’s novel Cabal and a second draft of the screenplay to reassemble the film.
He added in 45 minutes of footage. The film’s unavailable on DVD, but has successfully aired at a number of festivals.
Best Addition: In the words of Seraphim Films’ Mark Miller: “More monsters, more action, more story. And believe it or not, there’s even a musical number.”
The Original: When her family is murderer, 12-year-old Mathilde (Natalie Portman) is looked after by solitary hitman Leon (Jean Reno).
Meanwhile, corrupt DEA agent Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman) is closing in.
Extended Version: An ‘International Version’ of Leon adds 23 minutes of footage to the film that was deemed too risqué for more mainstream (read: American) audiences.
Best Addition: A challenging scene in which Mathilde dresses up in a pink number and asks Leon to be her first lover.
It’s creepy and disturbing, but believable enough, and adds another layer of ambiguity to the pair’s relationship.
The Wild Bunch (1969)
The Original: Hyper-violent western from director Sam Peckinpah, in which a group of outlaws struggling to survive in the old west go up against a Mexican bandito.
Extended Version: Ten minutes of footage was added when The Wild Bunch was re-released in 1995 under the banner ‘The Original Director’s Cut’.
Though the additions don’t comprise of any more violence, the MPAA condemned the re-release with an NC-17 certificate.
Best Addition: It’s arguable that the re-release earned that NC-17 because of one simple addition – shots of children observing the bloody clashes.
The addition of their reaction shots is a masterstroke, though, offering the violence a new context and reminding us of just how awful some of the things that take place are.
The Original: Paul Verhoeven’s satirical action sci-fi.
Paul Weller’s cop is mowed down by criminals and transformed into the eponymous RoboCop – the most efficient law enforcer this side of Dredd.
Extended Version: The unrated director’s cut adds just one minute of footage, but it’s worth it.
Best Addition: That one minute consists of gory additions that initially troubled the MPAA – including a bloodier version of the Ed-209 attack.
Donnie Brasco (1997)
The Original: In Mike Newell’s Oscar-nominated crime drama, Johnny Depp struggles to distinguish fact from fiction as his undercover FBI agent gets drawn deeper and deeper into the mafia family he’s infiltrated.
Extended Version: The third release of Donnie Brasco on DVD in 1997 added a further 20 minutes to the film, making it two and a half hours long in total.
Most of the additions are snippets of dialogue, or events that have been referred to in other scenes, but never shown (such as a montage in which Pistone does a bit of housekeeping).
Best Addition: Scenes in which Donnie (Depp) becomes increasingly popular with Sonny Black – fuelling Lefty’s jealousy – add extra tension as they are given the slow build treatment.
Meanwhile, a scene in which Donnie’s wife (Anne Heche) talks to FBI supervisors after they receive an audit notice helps crank the tensions and raises the stakes for the rest of the film.
Almost Famous (2000)
The Original: Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical ‘70s drama about aspiring rock journalist William (Patrick Fugit) who ended up touring with an up-and-coming rock band.
Extended Version: The DVD release of Almost Famous adds 40 minutes of additional footage, none of it massively earth-shattering, but crucial in helping us understand William’s journey from wannabe to wished-he-hadn’t.
Best Addition: Most interesting is a scene towards the end of the film in which William’s new manager (Jimmy Fallon) helps the band figure out a way to accuse William’s article of inaccuracy.
Kingdom Of Heaven (2005)
The Original: Ridley Scott’s epic actioner, set during the 12th Century Crusades.
Orlando Bloom plays blacksmith Balian, who’s mourning the loss of his family when he heads to Jerusalem to help fight against Kurdish Muslim crook Saladin.
Extended Version: 20th Century Fox wanted the film to run at just two and a half hours. When Ridley Scott added 45 minutes back in for the film’s DVD release, it all suddenly made sense.
Entire characters were reinstated, as well as a pivotal backstory for Balian, whose character made little sense in the theatrical cut.
Best Addition: The scenes that explain Balian has fought in numerous battles before and is adept at strategy – which means his fight for Jerusalem is suddenly entirely plausible.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1992)
The Original: Arnie’s back – and this time he’s had a change in allegiance. With John Connor (Edward Furlong) now 10 years old, the T-1000 (Robert Patrick) is sent back in time to kill him.
But the T-800 (Arnie) also arrives in the role of protector.
Extended Version: Seventeen minutes of additional footage was added to the Special Edition cut of Terminator 2 – including some surprisingly good stuff that should never have been cut.
Best Addition: Like, for example, Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese returning in a dream sequence.
It’s just a little moment, but it helps link T1 and T2 further still, and shows us he’s still alive for poor, tortured Sarah (Linda Hamilton).
Once Upon A Time In America (1984)
The Original: Sergio Leone’s gangster epic starring Robert De Niro and James Woods.
Leone cut 40 minutes from the film himself when it was given a European theatrical release, while in America the film was hacked down to just 139 minutes, which left it almost incomprehensible.
Extended Version: A 229 minute version of the film (just 40 minutes shy of Leone’s original 269 minute edit) aired at Cannes 2012 and was celebrated as a masterpiece.
Restoration work is still ongoing as Martin Scorsese and Leone’s children attempt to reassemble all of the director’s footage.
Best Addition: The scene that follows Noodles (De Niro) driving his gang’s car off the pier.
In the scene, Max (James Woods) meets with the other gang members, and notices that Noodles is the only one who’s missing. Cue a furious search and a poetic shot of a crane sweeping the sea floor for rubbish.
The Original: Sigourney Weaver goes up against acid-bleeding, jaw-jutting xenomorphs for a second time.
Except now she has a load of Marines on her side.
Extended Version : James Cameron released a special edition of Aliens in 1992, editing 17 minutes of footage back into the film.
The deleted scenes, reasoned 20th Century Fox, amounted to “too much nothing” and took too long cranking up the suspense. We beg to differ.
Best Addition: There are many (sentry guns, extended dialogue scenes), but the most interesting is the scene in which Ripley learns her daughter has since died of old age.
It adds another layer of poignancy to her relationship with young Newt.
Das Boot (1981)
The Original: Wolfgang Petersen’s WW2 drama, set aboard a German U-boat that’s up against the English.
Extended Version: The theatrical release was 145-minutes long.
Petersen’s exceptional Director’s Cut extends that to 210 minutes, adding in a lot of mess-hall chatter and extending the action sequences so that the tension is damned near deadly.
Best Addition: Any of the slow-build attack sequences – with more room to breathe (so to speak), Petersen made them even more heart-stopping than ever.
Touch Of Evil (1958)
The Original: Orson Welles’ planned Hollywood comeback hit the skids with Touch Of Evil , which Universal took off him and gave to director Harry Keller to rechop. Naturally, Welles was incensed.
It didn’t hurt the film, though – it became a film noir classic applauded for its sinister edge and visual design.
Extended Version: During the height of the scandal, Welles wrote a 58-page letter to Universal breaking down how the film should have been assembled.
In 1998, the film was re-edited in accordance with Welles’ notes.
Best Addition: This one’s actually a subtraction.
In the new edit, the opening credits are removed from that three-minute opening shot, allowing them to breathe in all their glory.
The Lord Of The Rings (2001-2003)
The Original: Peter Jackson brings JRR Tolkien’s ‘unfilmable’ trilogy of books to the big screen. Everybody falls in love with Gollum.
Extended Version: All in, two whole hours were shaved off the theatrical running times of the trilogy.
Those vitals hours were restored when the films made their way to DVD, bumping each film up to a nearly four hours a-piece.
Best Addition: Saruman’s death at the start of Return Of The King offers the character the closure that the theatrical cuts denied him.
Blade Runner (1987)
The Original: A futuristic sci-fi based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?
Harrison Ford is Deckard, the retired police officer charged with tracking down murderous ‘Replicants’ – humanoids who are on the run.
Extended Version: There are currently seven different versions of Blade Runner , but the Scott-sanctioned 117 minute Final Cut, released in 2007, is generally acknowledged as the best.
Best Addition: In the Final Cut, we get the restoration of the unicorn dream sequence and the removal of two key things – the opening voice-over, and the tacked-on happy ending.