Léon The Professional

Léon (1994)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (110 min.)
  • International version / Extended Cut / Version intégrale (133 min.)

Luc Besson’s Léon or The Professional (as it was known in the States) is widely considered a classic. Although the movie has a large following not everyone knows that a thematically different cut, often billed as the international version or extended cut, of the film is available. And when we say thematically we’re saying the longer cut changes drastically the dynamic of the relationship of its leads, Léon and Mathilda, in the second act of the movie.

The longer cut has been called many names since its premiere in 1996: international version, extended cut, version intégrale and even director’s cut but Besson has often talked about the theatrical cut as his director’s cut of the film. The theatrical cut is the cut that he delivered and wanted to be seen in 1994. Most Blu-ray releases of Léon includes both the theatrical cut and the extended/international cut.

Besson confirmed his preference with This or That Edition during an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit:

Luc Besson Reddit Preference

Source: Interview: Hey, Reddit. I’m Luc Besson, director, screenwriter, and fan of all things scifi. Here’s your chance… AMA!

The director’s preferred edition: International version / Extended Cut / Version intégrale

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

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Mr. Nobody still

Mr. Nobody (2009)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (137 min.)
  • Extended Director’s Cut (156 min.)

Jaco Van Dormael’s Sci-Fi drama Mr. Nobody starring Jaret Leto was released in an extended director’s cut on DVD and Blu-ray in 2014. The Blu-ray release includes both the theatrical cut and the extended director’s cut. CraveOnline interviewed Van Dormael in 2013 where the interview started with the question of there were any longer cuts of the film:

CraveOnline: Have there been any cuts or alternate versions for the U.S. release?
Jaco Van Dormael: The original version which is something like 20 minutes more will be on VOD and on DVD too. It’s a little shorter for the theaters because of the length. Some people prefer the short version, some people prefer the long version. I prefer, of course, the director’s cut because I am the director.

Source: Exclusive Interview: Jaco Van Dormael on Mr. Nobody, CraveOnline

The director’s preferred edition: Extended Director’s Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

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The Great Raid (2005)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (133 min.)
  • Unrated Director’s Cut (131 min.)

The 2005 WWII film The Great Raid was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the US as an exclusive unrated director’s cut. The Canadian newspaper Pilipino Express interviewed director John Dahl in 2006 where he states the following:

Pilipino Express: Some of the scenes with Margaret Utinsky and the Filipino underground resistance movement were in the theatrical release but they weren’t included in your Director’s Cut on DVD. (They can still be viewed in the DVD’s supplementary material). Why was that?

John Dahl: I always liked those scenes, but felt like they slowed down the story. The studio liked those scenes because they felt the audience would relate to Margaret. There is nothing really wrong with the theatrical version, I just prefer the Director’s Cut. It feels a little less contrived to me. The shootout in Manila and the Rizal Bridge were kind of “Hollywood Action Movie Scenes,” which I didn’t feel the movie needed. I never really saw it as an action film, more a straight-out drama with some action at the end of the film.

Source: An interview with Great Raid director, John Dahl, Pilipino Express

The director’s preferred edition: Unrated Director’s Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

List of different editions with courtesy of DVDCompare.net: DVD | Blu-ray

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Live Free or Die Hard / Die Hard 4.0 (2007)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (128 min.)
  • Unrated (128 min.)

Live Free or Die Hard or Die Hard 4.0 or simply Die Hard 4 is as the titles vaguely indicate is the fourth Die Hard movie. The relentlessly bloody and profanity filled adventures of John McClane have been the popular franchise trademarks. But in 2007 the franchise strayed from its trademarks and even managed to skip the ever classic line “yippee ki-yay, motherfucker” due to the simple fact that Die Hard 4 was rated PG-13. There are two cuts of Die Hard 4 available: the PG-13 rated theatrical cut and an unrated cut. The difference in length is minimal (unrated is only 8 seconds longer than the theatrical cut) but the unrated cut adds computer generated blood and a different dialog that has strong language.

Film Ireland interviewed director Len Wiseman where he talked about the PG-13 rating and how he lost the ratings fight with the studio:

“The director also admitted his disappointment at how the studio censored that film. ‘I shot a rated R movie,’ he insisted, and referenced the ‘Harder’ cut available on DVD. ‘I had no idea it was going to be PG-13; that came in halfway through the process. And I gotta tell you as a fan I felt like ‘I’m gonna walk.’ If they it PG-13! You know Bruce was really up in arms about it and everything. But in the end it was the most expensive Die Hard. It was also my first studio film, so I lost that battle over the rating. I’m not big on doing the cartoon gore. But McClane is McClane, so that’s really why I was glad to get that (the extended cut) out.’”

Source: Interview: Len Wiseman, director of ‘Total Recall’, Film Ireland

The director’s preferred edition: Unrated Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

List of different editions with courtesy of DVDCompare.net: DVD | Blu-ray

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Elektra still

Elektra (2005)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (97 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (100 min.)

Two years after 20th Century Fox botched the popular superhero Daredevil with its 2003 outing they made a spin-off starring Jennifer Garner as Elektra. Not unlike the Ben Affleck starrier DaredevilElektra was slayed by critics (10% on Rotten Tomatoes). The same year that Elektra was premiered an director’s cut of the film was released on DVD. The director’s cut is widely available on Blu-ray and DVD. IGN interviewed director Rob Bowman about the director’s cut and his approach:

IGN: After readying the theatrical version, it seems like, comparatively, making the Director’s Cut was a low-pressure situation. Was that the case?
Rob Bowman: With the Director’s Cut, there was absolutely no pressure. There was nothing. I didn’t have to consult with anybody. This was sort of a gift from the studio to me, just saying ‘Go make it.’ I was the one who decided to re-do it, and re-create sound-effects and all the music in various parts. I never ever spoke to the studio about anything.

Source: Interview: Rob Bowman, IGN

Earlier in the interview Bowman states:

“And this time we took the time to really get it right. I can say, is the best version we can deliver.”

Source: Interview: Rob Bowman, IGN

The director’s preferred edition: Director’s Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

List of different editions with courtesy of DVDCompare.net: DVD | Blu-ray

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The Chronicles of Riddick still

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (119 min.)
  • Unrated Director’s Cut (134 min.)

The Vin Diesel sci-fi action flick The Chronicles of Riddick was released in an unrated director’s cut on DVD in 2004. Riddick, played by Diesel, has a large fan base and since then all three Riddick films (Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick) have been released in alternative cuts on home video. The Blu-ray release of The Chronicles of Riddick includes both the theatrical cut and the unrated director’s cut. IGN interviewed director David Twohy when the unrated director’s cut was released on DVD:

IGN DVD: Ok I’ll ask the silly question: why didn’t you make this the theatrical cut?
David Twohy:  It’s not a silly question, it’s a good question. I think there was a philosophy at the time that if you’re coming out in the summer marketplace that you have to be nimble-
IGN: You had to be PG-13, in other words?
David Twohy: Well no, we had to be PG-13 but that doesn’t necessarily dictate length. We had to be PG-13 from the beginning for the theatrical release. We knew that, I agreed to that, Vin agreed to that. That’s the current post-Columbine climate of the studios. We understood that. But in terms of being under two hours, there was a feeling you had to be nimble in the summer marketplace. There was a feeling that only the quick would survive in a summer marketplace, where attention spans are thought to be short. So right or wrong, that was the philosophy that prevailed. But now we can take our time with things and we can present a fuller, richer experience, and here it is in the unrated version, and I think it’s the stronger version of the movie.

Source: An interview with David Twohy, IGN

The director’s preferred edition: Unrated Director’s Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

List of different editions with courtesy of DVDCompare.net: DVD | Blu-ray

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The Wicker Man still

The Wicker Man (1973)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (88 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (100 min.)
  • The Final Cut (93 min.)

The British horror classic The Wicker Man (no, not the one with Nicolas Cage) has been released in many different cuts but only three of them have arrived on DVD and Blu-ray. Director Robin Hardy was reportedly forced to cut his original cut of the film which didn’t sit well with the director nor the film most recognizable star Christopher Lee. Hardy then restored those missing scenes and presented them in the director’s cut. But in 2013 Hardy introduced The Wicker Man: The Final Cut which may or may not be the last time we see this cult classic released. Hardy said the following about 2013 cut during an interview with HeyUGuys:

“I could spend the next five minutes telling your all about the versions without being able to name them probably accurately. Well, this version, is the version that I like. It contains all the really important scenes, sequences to make the story work, I think. It contains some afterthoughts which I think most directors have about films they make… it’s the film as we originally intended it.”

Source: Robin Hardy Interview – The Wicker Man, HeyUGuys

The director’s preferred edition: The Final Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

List of different editions with courtesy of DVDCompare.net: DVD | Blu-ray

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The Driller Killer still

The Driller Killer (1979)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (96 min.)
  • Pre-release version (101 min.)

The notorious filmmaker Abel Ferrara made his directing debut with The Driller Killer in 1979. In 2016 Arrow Video released the film on Blu-ray where it included the theatrical cut of the film and never-before-seen pre-release version of the film. Arrow Video included an booklet with the Blu-ray/DVD release where the longer cut is addressed:

“While restoring The Driller Killer for Arrow’s release, it became apparent that the film’s negative represented an earlier cut, running 100m 52s, which included five minutes of material excised from the prints (95m 51s) shown theatrically and used for all previous video and DVD transfers. Abel Ferrara confirmed that it had been his decision to remove the footage in question, but gave us permission to provide the option of watching this “pre-release version” on the disc.”

Source: The pre-release version by Brad Stevens The Driller Killer Blu-ray release booklet by Arrow Video

The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

List of different editions with courtesy of DVDCompare.net: DVD | Blu-ray

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The Hangover still

The Hangover (2009)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (100 min.)
  • Unrated (108 min.)

The Hangover was one of the biggest surprises of 2009 and since then it has spawned two sequels. The Hangover is the only one of the trilogy that was released in an longer cut on home video. That’s due to the fact that the director Todd Phillip was quite unhappy with Warner Bros releasing the unrated cut, and he even involved the Director’s Guild of America. Phillips talked about it at South by Southwest in 2011:

“Warner Bros., they’ll make your movie; your movie does well, and they want to create an unrated version, which is entirely against DGA rules because it’s not your cut. And they can’t call it the ‘Director’s Cut’ — they’ll call it ‘Unrated’ or some ridiculous term. Really all it is, is about seven minutes of footage that you cut out of the movie for a reason.”

Source: SXSW: Todd Phillips Lambastes Warner Bros. Over Hangover Uncut Edits: ‘That Won’t Happen Again’, Movieline

The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

List of different editions with courtesy of DVDCompare.net: Blu-ray

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Lust, Caution still

Lust, Caution (2007)

What editions are available?

  • NC-17 Theatrical Cut (159 min.)
  • R-Rated DVD Cut (159 min.)
  • Chinese Cut (141 min.)

The WWII drama-thriller Lust, Caution is only a one of a handful NC-17 rated films that have been released in theaters in the United States. The Ang Lee directed film was produced by Focus Features, a subdivision of Universal and was subsequently released on DVD by Universal where it was released in two different editions: “Original NC-17 Theatrical Film” and “R-Rated Film Not Seen In Theaters”. The reason for the two cuts can be explained by the simple fact that Blockbuster Video, then the biggest rental stores in the US, didn’t carry films rated NC-17. The difference between the cuts are approximately 40 seconds.

When the MPAA issued Lust, Caution the NC-17 rating, Focus Features issued a statement addressing the rating:

“As with so many of his previous films, Oscar-winning director Ang Lee has crafted a masterpiece about and for grown-ups. Focus Features accepts the MPAA’s NC-17 rating without protest and ‘Lust, Caution’ will be released this fall as previously announced.”

Source: Schamus: “Lee has crafted a masterpiece about and for grown-ups”, IndieWire

In 2007 Time interviewed Lee:

Did you ever consider altering your film to avoid the NC-17 rating?

When I was making it, I didn’t really care. After the film was done, [Focus Features CEO] James Schamus explained to me what NC-17 means, the distribution, the advertisement, what you’re gonna lose. He explained it and that was that. He never said anything else. Everybody at Focus got kind of excited about taking on the battle. They kept saying this year we have other films that will make money.

Source: Q&A with Ang Lee, Time

The director’s preferred edition: NC-17 Theatrical Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

List of different editions with courtesy of DVDCompare.net: DVD | Blu-ray

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