Hollywood is a tough town. Just ask a movie director. Whether it is for budgetary reasons, running time or commercial appeal, movie studio executives often take films away from the directors and edit them the way they see fit. This often ends up causing huge rifts between the directors and the studios. Lawsuits are filed, names are removed from the credits and the end product is known for being compromised. That is until a “director’s cut” of the movie surfaces. More and more, director’s cut of movies are surfacing these days, and with them, we get to see the moviemaker’s vision fully realized. Various movies are restored to their original version. Although not always successful (some times the studio is proven right to exercise “final cut” over a movie), often times a director’s cut improves upon a film. Here are 10 of the best director’s cut versions of movies ever salvaged from the cutting room floor.
10. Superman II (1980)
The first two Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve were shot back-to-back at the same time. This was meant to give the General Zod storyline continuity. It was also meant to save the studio bankrolling the films, Warner Bros., a lot of money. But when director Richard Donner went over budget and clashed with studio executives, they took the movie away from the acclaimed director and turned the duties of finishing the second film over to Richard Lester, who was best known for directing the Beatles movie A Hard Day’s Night. The majority of footage for Superman II had been shot when Richard Lester took over, but the director added a more comedic and campy tone in post production and while editing the film. The end result wasn’t a disaster. But Richard Donner, who went on to direct Lethal Weapon, always let it be known that Superman II didn’t meet his expectations. Fortunately, in 2006, Richard Donner was able to re-edit it and released a new version of the movie known as “The Richard Donner Cut.” It includes more action shots, including some taken from screen tests, as well as a darker, edgier tone that works really well.