Blade Runner (1982)

What editions are available?

  • Workprint (124 min.)
  • US Theatrical (130 min.)
  • International Theatrical (130 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (130 min.)
  • The Final Cut (130 min.)

Blade Runner is undoubtedly the holy grail of director’s cuts. It was released in 1982 and since then five different cuts of this sci­fi classic have been released on home media. In 2007 director Ridley Scott released the fifth and last cut of the film, aptly named, The Final Cut.

“A letter from Ridley Scott

Blade Runner: The Final Cut is the product of a process that began in early 2000 and continued off and on through seven years of intense research and meticulous restoration, technical challenges, amazing discoveries and new possibilities.

The film’s 35mm footage was scanned at 4K resolution off the original negative, while its groundbreaking visual effects were scanned at 8K resolution off pristine 65mm elements, all resulting in a stunning visual experience the likes of which have not been seen since the film’s 1982 release. And perhaps not even ten. Likewise, we used existing six-track masters to re-mix the film’s immersive soundtrack with today’s state-of-the-art technology.

I have included the four previously seen versions of the film in newly transferred anamorphic widescreen with original, unaltered 5.1 sound taken from archival six-tracks. My goal was to give you the film in whatever form you prefer, with the best picture and sound quality possible.

And finally I’ve assembled a collection of in-depth documentaries, multi-faceted commentaries, never-before-seen footage and rare artwork to give you a deeper appreciation of all the work that went into the making of this film.

I can now wholeheartedly say that Blade Runner: The Final Cut is my definitive director’s cut of the film.”

Source: A letter from Ridley Scott from the Blade Runner Collector’s Edition Deckard’s Briefcase.

The director’s preferred edition: The Final Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of

Crash (2004)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical (112 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (114 min.)

Oscar winner Crash is widely considered the worst Best Picture winner of all time at the Academy Awards. Even director Paul Haggis didn’t think his film was the best picture that year. Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night, and Good Luck and Munich were also nominated as Best Picture. The year after its initial release on DVD a director’s cut of Crash was released on DVD.

Haggis confirmed with This or That Edition which edition he prefers:

The director’s preferred edition: Director’s Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of

Ride with the Devil

Ride with the Devil (1999)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical (138 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (148 min.)

In 2010 the Criterion Collection released Ride with the Devil in a new director’s cut on Blu-ray and DVD. The edition was supervised and approved by director Ang Lee.

“With this new director’s cut, Ang Lee reconstructs his original vision for Ride with the Devil, a harrowing, unorthodox Civil War epic.”


The director’s preferred edition: Director’s Cut

Heaven’s Gate (1980)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical (219 min.)
  • Theatrical edited (149 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (216 min.)

In 2012 the Venice Film Festival premiered Michael Cimino’s epic Heaven’s Gate in a new director’s cut. The Criterion Collection released the cut on Blu-ray and DVD.

“Director-Approved Special Edition: New, restored transfer of director Michael Cimino’s cut of the film, supervised by Cimino.”


The director’s preferred edition: Director’s Cut

Zodiac still

Zodiac (2007)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical (157 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (162 min.)

Director David Fincher presented the director’s cut of his magnificent film Zodiac eight months after the theatrical release at an event hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. FSLC associate director of programming Kent Jones interviewed Fincher.

“When we got the version we were happy with, we did one more screening,” said Fincher. “We hijacked people from malls and gave them the power of life and death, and made them Siskel and Ebert.” And due to those screening two scenes were let go from the theatrical version. Those two scenes were the major additions to the Director’s Cut.

Source: The Reeler

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

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of

Legend (1985)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical (90 min.)
  • Theatrical International Cut (94 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (114 min.)

When Legend was released on Blu-ray in 2011 it included the theatrical edition and the director’s cut. When viewers have chosen a edition to watch a statement from director Ridley Scott is prompted.

“The final theatrical version of Legend was transferred by Universal in 2006 directly from the film’s inter-negative. Although I was not involved in this transfer, it displays a much more detailed and refined image than the Director’s Cut. Considering the significantly different source elements and transfer processes involved, it is safe to say that each version of Legend has its own strengths and I leave it to you to decide which one you think is best.
– Ridley Scott”

“For years before its release on DVD, the Legend Director’s Cut was thought to have been lost forever. However, in 2000, it was miraculously located in the form of a pristine answer print, which was later transferred to DVD. Answer prints by their nature offer limited latitude in the transfer process, commonly resulting in less-than-optimal picture quality. Such is the case with Legend Director’s Cut. Newly re-transferred in 2011 for this Blu-ray release, the limitations of the answer print are now even more apparent in high definition. However, given its one-and-only source element, the Director’s Cut looks as good as it possibly can and I am pleased to include it on this Blu-ray release as both an archival curiosity for fans and a digital preservation of my original vision for the film.
– Ridley Scott”

Source: Legend Blu-ray

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

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of

Payback (1999)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical (90 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (101 min.)

When Paramount Pictures were presented with the neo noir revenge film Payback in 1998 it was deemed too dark for mainstream audience. Director Brian Helgeland was given the chance to retool the movie but declined, and production designer John Myhre was given a go at it. Myhre reshot 30% of the film, including a quite different and lighter ending.

Helgelands director’s cut is available in the US on Blu-ray and DVD as Straight Up: The Director’s Cut. The UK Blu-ray edition of Payback contains both editions of the film.

“I can’t speak so much to what is different about my version, than the theatrical version, because I only ever really analyzed my own version and what I’m trying to do with that version. The theatrical version to me, it’s what became once I wasn’t involved anymore on it.” – Brian Helgeland

Source: Same Story… Different Movie: Creating Payback the Director’s Cut, a featurette extra on Blu-ray

The director’s preferred edition: Director’s Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of

Donnie Darko (2001)

  • Theatrical (113 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (133 min.)

Donnie Darko has a cult following since it’s initial release in 2001. Director Richard Kelly released a director’s cut of the film in 2004 adding more than 20 minutes of footage and an altered soundtrack.

Kelly confirmed with This or That Edition which edition he preferred:

The director’s preferred edition: Both

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of

Alien (1979)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical (117 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (116 min.)

British director Ridley Scott, like Stanley Kubrick with 2001, changed the way we looked to space with the nail biting thriller Alien. In 2003 20th Century Fox released the Alien Quadrilogy set on DVD and Scott was approached to digitally restore and remaster Alien.

“In 1979, when Alien was originally released, I felt that the theatrical cut of the film was the best I could possibly make it. I was very pleased with its pace and structure, and although there were several scenes left on the cutting room floor, I didn’t miss any of them. For all intents and purposes, I felt that the original cut of Alien was perfect. I still feel that way. The traditional definition of the term “Director’s Cut” suggests the restoration of a director’s original vision, free of any creative limitations. It suggests that the filmmaker has finally overcome the interference of heavy-handed studio executives, and that the film has been restored to its original, untampered form. Such is not the case with Alien: The Director’s Cut. It’s a completely different beast. When Twentieth Century Fox approached me to digitally restore the original 1979 cut of the film, they also suggested fully restoring many of the film’s deleted scenes to be reincorporated into a proposed expanded DVD version of the film. Following an exhaustive year-long restoration process, Fox then decided to re-release ALIEN theatrically. It was their hope that I would see fit to include several of the deleted scenes we had restored in order to give moviegoers additional incentive to see the film in theaters. Upon viewing the proposed expanded version of the film, I felt that cut was simply too long and the pacing completely thrown off. After all, I cut those extra scenes out for a reason back in 1979. However, in the interest of giving the fans a new experience with Alien, I figured there had to be an appropriate middle ground. I chose to go in and recut that proposed long version into a more streamlined and polished alternate version of the film. For marketing purposes, this version is being called “The Director’s Cut”. To film purists everywhere, rest easy. The original 1979 theatrical version isn’t going anywhere. It remains my version of choice and is presented fully restored and remastered under my personal supervision alongside the new Director’s Cut in this DVD set.”
Source: DVD booklet from Alien Quadrilogy

The director’s preferred edition is: Theatrical

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of