Where once alternative cuts of movies for home media releases were a relative novelty, these days it's practically expected that Blu-Rays and streaming services will offer a different cut, extended beyond what was on offer in theatres. Hell, IT Chapter Two is still riding high in cinemas and there's already discussion about what additional material will feature in the inevitable home release "super cut" of the two chapters put together.
Sometimes director's cuts can become the definitive version of the movie, essentially replacing the original theatrical version so that they become all that future audiences know. On other occasions, however, directors can decide that actually it turns out that their previous "director's cut" didn't actually serve their original vision at all, leading to the release of yet another version.
This month sees Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now return to cinemas in a re-edited three-hour version that has been dubbed The Final Cut, somewhat unconvincingly given Coppola's tendency to return repeatedly to tinkering with his intense, rambling masterpiece.
Will The Final Cut actually be Apocalypse Now's final cut? Perhaps not, but Coppola is far from the only (or the worst) offender in this area. Here are some of the other big screen hits that their directors just couldn't leave alone.
10. Apocalypse Now
Even long before The Final Cut, Apocalypse Now was the victim of Coppola's continuing tinkering.
Coppola and editor Walter Murch spent the best part of two years trying to hammer the million feet of celluloid that Coppola had shot during a wild, gruelling shoot in the Philippines into a workable movie. The first assembly cut was over five hours long.
The first version screened to audiences was a three-hour cut which won the Palme d'Or at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival. But by the time the movie went on general release it had been trimmed by a further half hour. Even then Coppola continued tinkering with the ending, flip-flopping on the need for shots of explosions over the end credits and whether they implied that everything was destroyed in an air strike. Even though Coppola eventually pulled that ending from release, it was still the one on early laserdisc copies of the film.
At the turn of the twenty-first century, Coppola and Murch got back together to completely re-edit the film, including bringing the original cast back to re-record their lines in ADR and having new music composed, for Apocalypse Now Redux. Running to a butt-numbing three hours and twenty minutes, the Redux cut put back whole sequences and characters, such as a lengthy stop off in a French plantation, and in so doing utterly killed the pace of the movie.
Coppola eventually seems to have realised that the bloated Redux was just too much for most audiences, which is why twenty minutes of it have been discarded for what is now his approved "Final Cut", something close to what was originally shown at Cannes forty years ago.