Extending theatrical editions of movies isn’t always a good idea. The languorous pretensions of Apocalypse Now’s Redux and the spoon-fed philosophy of the Donnie Darko Director’s Cut are examples of filmmakers making ill-advised and unnecessary additions to already masterful works; those are films made worse by adding more. And it’s common practice now to see Hollywood comedies released in ‘Unrated’ and increasingly ‘Wild’ home video versions, but often, the newer cuts add very little to the original other than a few curse words and some bobbing breasts to keep Neanderthalic couch masturbators happy.
But occasionally, the act of re-inserting footage that was initially cut for cinematic release, resulting in a lengthier version, can improve a film. Movies can be made even more enjoyable, or even rediscovered as masterpieces this way.
Some of the following already received plaudits in their original incarnation, but many more were at first maligned. They all share common ground in that their extended cuts made them even better or, in the case of those maligned projects, were saved, perhaps even elevated to greatness by the extended cut.
This article was first posted on July 19, 2013