8 Classic Movies That Were Released Unfinished

This film doesn't need a third act, does it?

Unfinished Films
Miramax Films/Umbrella Entertainment/Warner Bros. Pictures/Lucasfilm

Art is never finished, only abandoned. At least, that's how it used to be; nowadays a movie is never finished simply because there's always scope to release another, indistinct version of it with a couple of added scenes or altered special effects. Yup, once the reserve of cinematic masterpieces, director's cuts are everywhere.

An R-rated version for Batman V Superman (which many for some reason hope will fix a bevy of systemic problems) was announced before the ill-fated movie hit and, while there's a lot of weight on that, it's actually common practice for a couple of violent scenes to be held back on nothing PG-13 action movies so they can have a gory, "unrated" home video release. You'd be hard pressed to find a recent release that doesn't have its own "Ultimate Version" (or whatever cack name the marketing brains have cooked up).

It's such a shame, because alternate cuts used to be so much more than that - rather than a cheap marketing tactic, they were a cinephile's holy grail; a hint at a possibly conflicted production and the promise of a completely different take on the material. In fact, there's many classic movies where the version that was first released in cinemas wasn't the finished version at all.

I'm not talking about latter-day director's cuts, where a few years down the line a filmmaker's gone back to their work just to put in some darlings they couldn't quite kill, but cases where the movie as originally made wasn't released in its proper form. Here's eight major examples.

Contributor
Contributor

Film Editor (2014-2016). Loves The Usual Suspects. Hates Transformers 2. Everything else lies somewhere in the middle. Once met the Chuckle Brothers.