The Five Best Director's Cut Versions of Movies

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
March 11th, 2014

Usually when movies are filmed, a great deal gets cut out before the final version of the film airs. Director's cut versions of movies occur when that extra footage, cut out for a variety of reasons like timing or flow, is put back into the movie. These new versions often include new sequences, subplots, characters or alternate endings. Here are a few of the best director's cuts versions of movies.



blade-runner.jpgPhoto Credit: Warner Bros.

"Blade Runner"

One of the very best director's cuts of a movie is "Blade Runner," directed by Ridley Scott. This movie is set in the year 2019, a dystopic, science-fiction future where human clones are enslaved, made to work on colonies outside of Earth, and terminated when their usefulness comes to an end. The protagonist, Rick Deckard, is played by Harrison Ford. Deckard is a blade runner, a cop whose job is to track down and terminate the clones, or replicants. Although Deckard is retired, he is called into service again when four replicants who want to meet their creator hijack a ship. On his mission he becomes enmeshed with Rachael, played by Sean Young, a unique replicant who thinks she is human and has memories of a past that she never lived. The original cut of the movie includes voice-over narration by Harrison Ford and a happy ending in a pastoral setting, implying that the replicant Rachael and blade runner Rick Deckard live happily ever after. The director's cut removes both the narration and the happily ever after, leaving fans to wonder at an ambiguous ending.



lord-of-the-rings.jpgPhoto Credit: New Line Cinema

"The Lord of the Rings" Trilogy

Another director's cut to watch is the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson. This series of movies is based on the books of the same name by J.R.R. Tolkien telling about the epic fight between good and evil. Frodo, an unobtrusive hobbit from the shire, is tasked with taking a golden ring that his uncle willed to him and throwing it into Mount Doom. Apparently this ring is Sauron's power source, an evil that seeks to destroy the world and the only way to destroy Sauron is to destroy the ring. Throughout the series of movies Frodo meets a wide range of characters who try to help or hinder him on his journey, from the wizard Gandalf and elves to dwarves and humans. The "Lord of the Rings" books and movies weave several different stories together and the director's cut includes extended scenes where fans get to see the background of all these different stories, explaining complicated concepts better and giving more depth and details.



the-big-red-one.jpgPhoto Credit: United Artists

"The Big Red One"

"The Big Red One" is a World War II movie based on the experiences of the 1st Infantry Division. The writer and director of the film, Samuel Fuller, actually served in World War II in the 1st Infantry Division, and much of the film is autobiographical. The film follows The Sergeant, Lee Marvin, out of World War I and into World War II as he leads his division through Africa, Sicily, Omaha Beach and the Falkenau concentration camp. The original film was edited quite a bit before being aired, but the director's cut, which happened 24 years afterward, creates an epic retelling of the reality of war.



aliens.jpgPhoto Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation


"Aliens" is a sequel to "Alien." In the second movie, the main character Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, returns to the planet with the Alien creatures on it. However, the planet is being colonized and the colonists are being killed. Ripley and some Marines become part of an expedition to discover what is happening to the colonists, uncovering a dangerous plot to recover and study some Alien eggs that puts everybody at risk. The director's cut restores the parts of the film that director James Cameron always wanted the viewers to see. Fans get further depth and nuance, an extra character or two and more action.



watchmen.jpgPhoto Credit: Warner Bros.


"Watchmen" is an alternate history movie where superheroes are an accepted part of life, starting in 1939. Through the years these heroes, called the Watchmen, side with the United States during wars although they ultimately slide quietly into retirement. However, someone is trying to kill the Watchmen. While Dr. Manhattan exiles himself to Mars, other Watchmen come out of retirement to prevent the Soviet Union from getting the upper hand. Manhattan finally decides to intervene and keep mankind from destroying the world with nuclear warfare. The director's cut of this movie puts the "Tales of the Black Freightor" subplot back into the movie, gratifying hardcore fans.

There are other great director's cuts versions of movies to enjoy. Both "The Abyss" and "Dune" give fans extra details and backstory.

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