10 Director's Cuts That Seriously Improve Movies

You can argue all you want, Redux is brilliant.

Edward Norton in Kingdom of Heaven
20th Century Fox

Oftentimes directors and studios are at odds with one another. Directors are typically focused on artistic integrity; seeing their vision realised through pre production, principle photography, and editing. Studios want to make money. If a film can garner acclaim and make money then all the better, but money is the objective.

There are all manor of ways this might impact a finished product. In order to reach the broadest spectrum of viewers movies often get toned down and sanitised to become more palatable. And a shorter run time is often favoured to facilitate more viewings per day at the box office, meaning more ticket sales, resulting in that extra bit of revenue.

And who can blame studios for having this approach? The film industry is a business after all. But if a director takes any sort of pride in their work, then they are unlikely to look favourably on having their name associated with an obvious money grab.

The director's cut is simply the version of a movie that resembles a vision, unconcerned with.

These aren't just movies that throw in a few deleted scenes for the sake of extending the run time. The alterations made to these movies significantly enhances the viewing experience, adding a previously unseen depth to the stories.

10. Aliens Special Edition (1991)

Edward Norton in Kingdom of Heaven
20th Century Studios

James Cameron's endeavour to progress the Alien franchise was a triumphant success. He paid homage to the tension-building sense of claustrophobia established in the first movie, without it being the crutch of his own story. You had horror elements and plenty of jump scares, but the central theme revolved around action.

No one would argue that the theatrical cut is anything but a masterpiece. It took the Alien franchise in a new direction, while paying the utmost respect to the first movie. Filled with bug-stomping Marines, numerous quotable lines, and a hell of a lot of action, it not only did the first movie proud, it surpassed it.

The 1991 extended version only added to its legacy. There's an extended sequences which sees the Marines deploy a number of automated gun turrets to fight off the Xenomorphs, which amounts to a few more thrills. But other scenes help flesh out several plot points and character arcs.

Ripely for example is shown discovering her daughter died during her absence - an omission from the original cut that Sigourney Weaver was furious about. We're also shown a sequence on LV 426, shedding light on how Newt (Rebecca Jorden) lost her own family. Taken together, the scenes add depth to the Ripley/Newt relationship.


Before engrossing myself in the written word, I spent several years in the TV and film industry. During this time I became proficient at picking things up, moving things and putting things down again.