The Lost Director’s Cuts Fans Want to See


Summary

  • Director’s cuts are highly sought after by cinephiles and can often improve upon the original versions of films.
  • Some director’s cuts, like the extended editions of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, are considered significantly better than the theatrical releases.
  • There are director’s cuts of famous movies, such as King Kong (1933), that contain lost scenes or changes that have never been publicly seen.


In many ways, director’s cuts are considered to be the heralded gems of any filmgoers’ viewing. Cinephiles search and campaign for certain director’s cuts that they think may improve upon the original versions. It’s always interesting to see what moments were cut from a theatrical release, why they were removed, and why the director chose to include them in their version. Some directors, like Peter Jackson, James Cameron, and Ridley Scott, are known for making extended cuts of their films that are much longer than the versions that were released in theaters.

Some director’s cuts are significantly better than the original iterations of the films. Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy is considered to be near perfect, but the extended editions of each film add additional scenes and insights that expand the world of J.R.R. Tolkien even more. Similarly, Francis Ford Coppola made significant changes to The Godfather: Part III with his restored version The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. While the original film was considered a major disappointment, the re-edited version finally feels like a proper conclusion to one of the greatest film trilogies of all time.

There are some director’s cuts of famous movies that feature sequences, moments, or changes to films that have never been publicly seen. These are the lost director’s cuts that movie fans want to see the most.


11 King Kong (1933)

The original King Kong from 1933 remains the definitive version of the character and one of the most important movies ever made. While the film is just as rewatchable and timeless as ever, an enigmatic “lost spider pit” sequence has never been seen. Even if it can’t top perfection, it would be interesting to see if any remaining footage added anything else to the film.

What Are the Chances of It Ever Seeing the Light of Day?

Basically, the spider pit scene is an extension of the rolling log scene, and it was removed to help with the film’s pacing. So, really, it’s better off without it, and given the age of the film, there’s an ice cube’s chance in hell of audiences ever getting to see the sequence in full. However, for completists, it’s hard to know that there’s a King Kong scene out there that you’ve never seen.

Rent King Kong on Amazon Video

10 The Wicker Man (1973)

The Wicker Man doesn’t deserve to be conflated with the laughable Nicolas Cage version of the film that was released in 2006. The original film is one of the greatest horror films of the 1970s, and an essential deconstruction of the differences between paganism and Christianity. While an extended version of the film exists, fans have longed for an even scarier version.

What Are the Chances of It Ever Seeing the Light of Day?

All in all, there are four cuts of the original Wicker Man. The truncated theatrical cut was 88 minutes, then there’s the director’s semi-complete 1979 cut, then a 100-minute director’s cut, and then a further “Final Cut” in 2013. Yet, even with the “Final” in that title, there’s still heavy debate as to whether The Wicker Man can be viewed as the director originally intended. If not, the sad truth is, we’ve gotten as close to that as we’re ever going to get.

Rent The Wicker Man on Amazon Video

9 The Shining (1980)

Stanley Kubrick is known for being meticulous, and his director’s cut of The Shining is actually shorter and more succinct than the version released in theaters. However, rumors persist that there’s even more footage that Kubrick has never released publicly, which may answer some of the lingering questions about the film’s ending. The documentary Room 237 delved into some of these different interpretations, but Kubrick himself remained tight-lipped about his intentions with the famous Stephen King adaptation.

What Are the Chances of It Ever Seeing the Light of Day?

Don’t count on it. It’s that simple. Kubrick died in 1999, and even if he were still alive there’s little chance he’d go back and revise a completed film — he was far too methodical for that. Could Warner Bros. try and cash in with an extended 4K re-release? Sure. But, again, don’t count on it, it’s always a possibility, but never a likely one.

Stream The Shining on Paramount+ Apple TV Channel

8 Dune (1984)

Dune (1984)

Release Date
December 14, 1984

Rating
PG-13

David Lynch never got final cut on his 1984 version of Dune, and it remains the only film on his entire resume that he didn’t have complete creative control over. If there were ever a director whose creative approach is so distinct that it would be entirely obvious if he didn’t have the final say over a movie, it’s Lynch. His version of Dune is long overdue considering how well-reviewed Denis Villeneuve’s version of the same novel was.

What Are the Chances of It Ever Seeing the Light of Day?

Dune was supposed to kick off a trilogy, but that didn’t happen. But with the renewed interest in the IP there’s potential for a true Lynch cut, though considering just how often he’s distanced himself from the thing, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for him to not want to ever touch it again. To some, Dune stands as a blot on Lynch’s otherwise immaculate filmography, but perhaps a re-cut version could change that.

Stream Dune on Max Amazon Channel

7 Batman Forever (1995)

Joel Schumacher doesn’t deserve to be remembered as the director of Batman & Robin for his entire career. He’s actually handled several genre classics, including the cult vampire teen film The Lost Boys and the thoroughly underrated 2004 version of The Phantom of the Opera. Kevin Smith recently mentioned that Schumacher made a longer version of Batman Forever. It would be great to see Schumacher have the legacy of his ill-fated DC adaptation turned around.

What Are the Chances of It Ever Seeing the Light of Day?

If there’s a director’s cut that’s highly sought, it’s Batman Forever. It’s a film that’s already pretty close to being solid but falls just short. It’s obvious they were trying to keep the Tim Burton vibe alive (though to a lesser extent), and the excised scenes would very much help to seal that impact. Were Warner Bros. to release the Schumacher cut of Batman Forever on 4K, it would sell like hotcakes.

Stream Batman Forever on Max Amazon Channel

6 Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)

Hellraiser: Bloodline was the last film of its franchise to receive a theatrical release, and it’s not surprising that was the case, just as it is surprising the third sequel received a theatrical release at all. The first two Hellraiser movies stand on their utter own, but then Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth took things more toward slasher territory (effectively, depending on who you ask). So, to set itself apart, Bloodline went to outer space, and its blatant director, Kevin Yagher, and crew bit off more than they could chew. Then, after much studio interference, fans got both the most ambitious and most jarringly broken Pinhead installment to date.

Related: Firelight: The Lost First Film of Steven Spielberg, Explained

What Are the Chances of It Ever Seeing the Light of Day?

In terms of macro-scale popularity, Hellraiser is no Friday the 13th, Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or A Nightmare on Elm Street. But, it’s not all that far behind those properties. So, should another reboot come out that’s more successful than Hulu’s 2022 attempt, there could be remastered re-releases in store. Even still, call it a twenty percent probability at best.

Stream Hellraiser: Bloodline on Amazon Prime Video

5 The Thin Red Line (1998)

Director Terrence Malick is well-known for re-editing his films, cutting out actors entirely, and tinkering with his projects for years ahead of their eventual release. While 1998’s The Thin Red Line is already over three hours long, it would be interesting to see if Malick wants to recut the film to incorporate any extra footage that has remained in his personal vault.

What Are the Chances of It Ever Seeing the Light of Day?

As it stands, The Thin Red Line is pretty terrific. Unlike most Malick films, the loose structure won’t be a turn-off for most audience members. But, just watching it, the viewer is perpetually reminded that it’s not a complete film. It more or less plays as one, but there’s still blatantly some character development left on the cutting room floor. A Malick cut of The Thin Red Line would be a great idea on 20th Century Studios’ part, and while it’s not super likely it’s not all the way off the table.

Stream The Thin Red Line on Starz

Related: 10 Lost Films That Just Might Be Found One Day

4 Rollerball (2002)

rollerball

Rollerball

Release Date
February 8, 2002

Rating
PG-13

If any Hollywood director could be called the best with action films, it’s John McTiernan. He helmed two of the most iconic shoot-em-ups ever made (the legendary Die Hard and Predator) before moving on to Jack Ryan for a bit, and then, unfortunately, lesser projects (though The Thomas Crown Affair is solid). The worst of those was Rollerball, his second to last film to date and the one that got him sent to prison.

What Are the Chances of It Ever Seeing the Light of Day?

Again, McTiernan went to prison over Rollerball (he hired PI Anthony Pellicano to spy on the film’s producer, Charles Roven, then lied to the FBI numerous times about it). So, even if he were to be embraced by Hollywood again, it’s highly doubtful his bloody, nudity-laden, R-rated cut of the film would ever find its way to audiences. It wouldn’t be worth the investment for a movie absolutely no one cared about throughout its opening weekend.

Stream Rollerball on fuboTV

3 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Most Star Wars fans would agree that Episode III – Revenge of the Sith is the best film of the prequel trilogy; it’s the only one of George Lucas’ three films centered on Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi that reaches the quality of the original trilogy and the films released by Disney. The first PG-13 Star Wars movie featured some of the darkest and most explicit content in the entire franchise. Based on the snippets of deleted scenes released on the 2011 Blu-ray, it’s known that there were several cut storylines focused on the early stages of the Rebel Alliance, an alternate opening featuring Shaak Ti, and a love triangle between Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padme.

What Are the Chances of It Ever Seeing the Light of Day?

Lucas is known for making changes to his films; not only did he re-release director’s cuts of his early projects American Graffiti and THX-1138, but the “Special Editions” of the original Star Wars trilogy were even released theatrically in 1997. Perhaps Lucas would consider taking another stab at the epic film that showed Anakin Skywalker’s (Hayden Christensen) transition into becoming Darth Vader. But, since Disney owns the rights, it’s pretty safe to say that the potential for Prequel Trilogy extended releases has come and gone.

Stream Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith on Disney+

2 Southland Tales (2007)

Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales is a tragically underrated masterpiece. Widely misunderstood upon its initial release, Southland Tales was a work of satire that ended up predicting a lot of things about the development of the American political structure and economy. Many overlooked the humor of the film, or what the hyper-commercialized style was saying about the state of pop culture.

What Are the Chances of It Ever Seeing the Light of Day?

Kelly has one restored version of the film that was released recently, but it would be great to see him given the resources to complete the visual effects work. It’s also notable that Kelly’s personal version of his 2001 film Donnie Darko does a much better job of explaining the film’s story than the theatrical version, and a revised version of Southland Tales could do the same thing. So, never say never.

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