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 Movie-Censorship.com