20 Deleted Movie Scenes That Will Completely Change How You See Your Favorite Flicks

Filmmaking is a long, drawn-out process, with a lot of changes often taking place between the script’s final draft and what actually ends up being shown on the big screen. Furthermore, sometimes the removal of just one small scene can drastically change the tone of a movie – or even its story. Check out the major cases in point right here. And whether they improve on what was already there or, conversely, detract from it, these 20 deleted scenes have all had profound effects on the works from which they were cut.

20. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – The Boromir Flashback

The extended editions of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy are considered by many to be the definitive versions, because a great deal had to be left out of the theatrical cuts. Perhaps most significantly, 2002’s The Two Towers extended edition features a flashback scene that goes some way to explaining the desire of Boromir to take the ring from Frodo in the previous film. Plus, it gives us a glimpse into Boromir’s relationship with his father, Denethor, which is only ever talked about in the theatrical cut.

19. Thelma & Louise – The Cliff Jump

The final shot of 1991 road movie Thelma & Louise is truly iconic – the heroines’ car suspended in mid-air, about to plummet into the gaping chasm beneath. But, fascinatingly, had the full version of this scene been left in, it potentially wouldn’t ever have earned such status. Why? Because in the original version, we see the car complete its descent as detective Hal Slocumb looks on in horror. So while the earlier cut of the scene is only 25 seconds longer, it’s a heck of a bum note to end on.

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18. First Blood – Rambo’s Suicide

Far from being just a mindless action movie, First Blood is a powerful commentary on the hardships that were faced by veterans on their return to America. And while Sylvester Stallone’s closing speech is striking enough by itself, the 1982 movie initially took an even darker turn. In the original ending, Rambo begged his superior officer to kill him, putting the gun in the officer’s hand and forcing him to pull the trigger. The ending was changed, however, after it was found that test audiences simply couldn’t get on board with it.

17. Back to the Future II – Biff Fades Away

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Biff is most certainly the antagonist of Back to the Future II, but one rather tragic aspect of his story was omitted from the original cut. You see, when the bully boy makes off in the DeLorean and travels back to give the sports almanac to his younger self, he somehow wounds himself. And in a deleted scene, we see him hiding from Doc and succumbing to his injury before simply ceasing to exist. It certainly offers a different perspective on the character.

16. Spider-Man 2 – J. Jonah Jameson Rocks the Spidey Costume

The 2004 sequel Spider-Man 2 features an iconic storyline based on the comics: Peter Parker loses his powers and gives up his superhero role. Then, afterwards, he leaves his costume at The Daily Bugle. And in the next deleted scene we see the extent of J. Jonah Jameson’s obsession with the web-head: the editor-in-chief dons the outfit and jumps around the office. Amusingly, the scene was apparently cut because the actor J.K. Simmons just looked too darn good in the outfit.

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15. I Am Legend – The More Faithful Ending

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I Am Legend is the most direct filmic adaptation of the novel of the same name by Richard Matheson. The movie’s ending, however, is drastically different. In the book, the seemingly monstrous vampires form a new, civilized society, and hero Robert Neville becomes the monster. The film’s alternate ending hints at this, mind you – by having Will Smith’s Neville make peace with the creatures, allowing him to escape with the cure to the virus.

14. King Kong (1933) – The Spider Pit

Far from being a one-monster affair, King Kong actually features a veritable menagerie of creatures. Not all of them, though, made the final cut. For instance, animator Willis O’Brien devised a scene in which some of the sailors fall into a crater – only to be overwhelmed by a swarm of super-sized spiders. When this scene was shown at a test screening, however, it freaked the audience out, so it had to be cut.

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13. Aliens – Ripley’s Daughter

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Ripley’s bond with the orphaned child Newt is one of the most compelling elements of the sci-fi sequel Aliens, but there’s more to it than what appears in the film. A deleted scene that would have come towards the beginning of the 1986 film shows Paul Reiser’s slimy corporate rep Carter Burke informing Ripley that during her 57 years in hypersleep, her daughter has grown old and died. It’s a potent scene, and it plays a significant role in defining Ripley’s character. In fact, Newt even calls her “Mommy” at the culmination of the film.

12. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – Draco Sides with Harry

Of all the character arcs in the Harry Potter series, Draco Malfoy’s is possibly the most, well, muddled. He starts out as a cowardly bully – before eventually siding with Voldemort. However, originally, after Harry reveals that he’s still alive at the end of Deathly Hallows – Part 2, we would have seen Draco running back over and throwing his wand to Harry, thereby redeeming himself.

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11. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Chewie Rips an Arm Off

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This next deleted scene is particularly interesting because it affects the way you see not only The Force Awakens, but also the whole Star Wars saga. One of the first things we learn about Wookiees in A New Hope is that they’ve been known to tear the odd human’s arm off. And yet surely the lovable Chewbacca wouldn’t commit such an act… Well, as a cut scene from The Force Awakens establishes, he most certainly would. Yes, in the scene in question, we see the angry side of Chewbacca – as he defends Rey from her enraged former employer, Unkar Plutt, in supremely brutal fashion.

10. Almost Famous – William Introduces His Mom to Led Zep

One of the more confusing plot points in Almost Famous concerns how exactly aspiring rock journalist William Miller ever convinced his overbearing mother to let him go on tour with Stillwater. But in this telling deleted scene, Miller plays her “Stairway to Heaven,” explaining that it was inspired by the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. And the fact that she lets him go makes a great deal more sense with this moment taken into account.

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9. The Butterfly Effect – Evan Strangles Himself in Utero

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In The Butterfly Effect, Ashton Kutcher’s Evan Treborn is able to journey back through time to take up residence in his former self. Long story short: he screws everything up – but just about manages to fix it. This wasn’t always the case, however. In a shocking and rather ridiculous alternate ending, Treborn sends himself all the way back to the womb and throttles himself with his own umbilical cord.

8. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – Yoda’s Confession

When the first Star Wars film went into production, Obi-Wan wasn’t lying about Luke’s father being dead. You see, the revelation that Vader is the hero’s father was added later, arguably leaving Obi-Wan looking like a bit of a jackass. That said, he is – partially – redeemed in a deleted scene from Return of the Jedi in which a dying Yoda admits that he forbade Obi-Wan from telling Luke that Vader is his dad.

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7. The Shining – Ullman Knew About the Overlook Curse

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The ending of The Shining is a brilliantly haunting final note: famously, we see Jack Torrance posing in a picture that was taken before he was ever even born – but there’s more. A scene was shot in which Wendy and Danny are visited in hospital by the Overlook Hotel’s owner, Ullman, suggesting that he knew all about the location’s creepy curse. In the cut scene, the proprietor insists that nothing suspicious was found at the hotel and then throws Danny a tennis ball – the same ball that lured him to room 237.

6. 28 Days Later – Jim Doesn’t Make It

28 Days Later has a surprisingly happy ending for such a relentlessly bleak film, but it wasn’t always so. Danny Boyle actually shot a finale in which Jim is still taken to the hospital but doesn’t survive. In this alternate conclusion, Selena and Hannah also simply walk away, their fates unknown. And, interestingly, Boyle and writer Alex Garland still regard this to be the true ending; it was even added to the theatrical version as a post-credits scene with the caption “what if… ”

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5. Fatal Attraction – Alex Frames Dan

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The obsessive, deranged Alex Forrest arguably remains the role for which Glen Close is best remembered. And while the ending of Fatal Attraction is crazy enough as it is, it was originally even darker. How so? Because instead of being killed by Michael Douglas’ Dan in self-defense, Alex slits her own throat in front of him using a kitchen knife with his fingerprints on it – effectively framing him for her murder.

4. Knocked Up – The Brokeback Mountain Rant

Sometimes a deleted scene, while not adding much to the plot, can add something to the tone and depth of a film. And this is precisely the case with a short dialogue exchange that was cut from 2007 rom-com Knocked Up. In it, Jonah Hill’s character goes on a lengthy rant about how Brokeback Mountain should have shown more overt gay sex – and how it’s almost worse than doing nothing to make an ostensibly pro-gay film with virtually no gay sex in it. It’s certainly an interesting argument that goes against the kind of humor usually present in films like Knocked Up.

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3. Little Shop of Horrors – Audrey 2 Wins

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Little Shop of Horrors was a musical before it was a movie, and in the musical, the hapless Seymour and his love interest, Audrey, are both devoured by space-plant Audrey 2, who then takes over the world. Now interestingly, this very ending was in fact shot, on a rather grand scale, for the film. Test audiences, however, couldn’t get on board with said finale, and so a happier one was used instead. Yet $5 million – a fifth of the film’s full budget – was actually spent on the ending, making it one of the most expensive deleted sequences of all time.

2. Terminator 2 – Arnie Gets Rebooted

It was a stroke of genius to realign Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator from evil to good for James Cameron’s second – and arguably superior – Terminator film. During Terminator 2, Arnie forges an emotional relationship with the young John Connor, but it’s never made clear exactly how this happens. A deleted scene, however, shows John and his mother removing the machine’s CPU chip, allowing it to learn freely. Schwarzenegger himself reportedly fought to keep the scene in the movie.

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1. Blade Runner – The Unicorn Dream

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These days, the director’s cut of Blade Runner is arguably more well known than its theatrical counterpart, but what’s certain – to us, at least – is that it’s vastly superior. One of the main reasons for this is the “unicorn dream,” which seals one of the film’s biggest points of debate. At the film’s conclusion, Harrison Ford’s Deckard discovers an origami unicorn that’s been intentionally discarded by Gaff (Edward James Olmos). And through the inclusion of a scene in which Deckard dreams about a unicorn in the forest, it becomes clear that Gaff had access to his memories. This also means that the film’s protagonist is actually not human – but a replicant after all.

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