10 Film Director's Cuts That Actually Made The Movie Shorter

9. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

Alexander Colin Farrell
Columbia Pictures

Shorter by: 3 minutes

Another 70s sci-fi that was embraced as an instant classic, but which nevertheless ended up with a director's cut, Close Encounters was at first put out before director Steven Spielberg was entirely happy with it.

Spielberg wanted a further six months to nail down his vision for the movie, but studio Columbia were struggling financially and needed a big immediate win. When the movie did turn out to be a massive money spinner for Columbia, though, the studio were only too happy to give him some extra funding to finish Close Encounters to his standards and then reissue it as a special edition.

For that 1980 Close Encounters Special Edition, Spielberg added a bunch of character moments and, most famously, a shot inside the mothership. In all there was seven minutes of additional material to the new cut. At the same time, though, the director also cut whole scenes and trimmed plenty of others for a tighter edit. Even with the additional material, the finished version came in three minutes shorter than the one seen by audiences in 1977.

For years this shorter Special Edition was the only version of Close Encounters that was widely available. Eventually, however, Spielberg came to regret some of the decisions he had made on the second cut. This led to the 1998 Collector's Edition, which is longer than both theatrical and Special Edition cuts.

Close Encounters fans today, then, can watch either a shorter or longer director's cut depending on their mood.


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