One of the biggest processes of creating a fantastic film is making sure that it's being edited properly. If you let some scenes run too long, cut them too short, or in some of these cases cut them entirely, you can get left with a significantly different movie than the one you had set out to create.
These are 15 of the most interesting deleted scenes or ideas that almost made their way into Hollywood. While there are a few things that made it in here because they're hilarious, there are also some heartfelt moments and some scenes that, if they had been done, would have completely changed the landscape of cinema.
Do you know which iconic character was originally filmed dying? There are several franchises that never would have gotten off the ground if they had stayed as they were originally filmed. With movie franchises ranging from Harry Potter to Zootopia, and The Lord of the Rings, there should be something in here for everyone.
Are there any deleted scenes you would have enjoyed in the final cut or alternate endings you would have preferred over the original? Feel free to share your comments on social media and share the list with fellow film buffs.
15 Knocked Up - Brokeback Mountain
While there are definitely some movies on here that had huge changes, why not start out on a much lighter note. For Knocked Up, it was more that they left out a deleted scene that would have arguably been one of the funnier ones in the movie. That being said, as you’ll hear, given the amount of gay jokes that Jonah Hill throws out, you can imagine they felt they were better off safe than sorry.
The scene shows Hill talking to Heigl as he is watching Brokeback Mountain. When discussing the film, he mentions how he’s seen Anne Hathaway’s chest a bunch of times, but what he has not seen is Jake Gyllenhaall on all fours, taking a mouth full of Ledger, and that it's about time we start seeing some male on male action in Hollywood cinema.
Hill goes on to make the comparison between not being able to see it all on screen and going to a baseball game and cutting away right before the bat makes contact. Perhaps not shockingly, the least funny part of the deleted scene comes when Heigl terribly delivers her lines asking if Hill is gay, but it still would have left people laughing hysterically.
14 Clerks - Alternate Ending
There are a lot of deleted scenes on here that would have had an impact, but perhaps none greater than the original ending that was filmed for the 1994 film, Clerks. The film was written and directed by Kevin Smith and helped introduce the world to the View Askewniverse films that also includes some sequels to Clerks. But the original ending, which you can see on the Clerks X: 10th Anniversary Special, has the movie wrapping up with someone coming in and robbing the Quick Stop. In the process, Dante is shot and killed and the movie ends. It is also implied that the killer would have gotten away with it as in the extended version, Randal is seen disconnecting the security cameras earlier in the day.
Had this original ending stayed in, Smith admits he would have been unable to continue using these characters and the film would have been significantly less successful.
When he was asked about it, Smith admitted that he wrote it that way because he had no idea how to write a proper ending to a film.
13 Return of the Jedi - Luke's Lightsaber
Let’s be honest, ROTJ is such an iconic movie that any scene you get to see from the cutting room floor is going to be a benefit. Like how about Darth Vader making sure the commander was well aware that the Emperor was coming, and was “most displeased with [his] apparent lack of progress”? Vader warning the commander that the Emperor is not quite as forgiving as him is just classic.
The scene gets even cooler though when you then get Vader pleading out for Luke to come and join him (you know, at least mentally) on the dark side of the Force. You also get to see Luke Skywalker doing some tinkering on his lightsaber and let’s be honest, any time you get a chance to see a lightsaber get busted out, it’s probably going to be a pretty awesome time.
12 Reservoir Dogs - Background Check
There is no doubt that Tarantino has made a lot of films that are considered classics, but one of his best just happened to be one of his first. Reservoir Dogs, which came out in 1992, tells the story of an attempted bank robbery. The movie features Tim Roth, an undercover cop, who over the course of the movie starts to get closer to the criminal, ‘Mr.White’ who is played by Harvey Keitel.
While Mr.White was far from a great guy, having a seedy past, you don’t know the half of it if you haven’t watched the deleted scene above. In it, Roth’s character works his connections at the police station and is able to run a background check on White. While he had only been convicted twice, Roth is told the story about how there was an old bank job that Mr.White was supposedly involved in. There was an undercover cop on the job, and when White found out, things got a little messy.
It was the cop's birthday, meaning there were plenty of cops at his house to celebrate. So when Mr.White shows up with the cop and then opens fire on everyone, killing 3 and wounding 6, you can imagine it was not such a pleasant scene. Given that Roth’s character was in the exact same place as the unfortunate cop, you could imagine this may have changed how he interacted with Mr.White throughout the movie.
11 Dr. Strangelove - Pie Fight
There are a lot of movies on here that ended up not necessarily having a deleted scene, but rather an alternate ending to the script that would have altered the meaning of the film. One of the best things about Kubrick’s war-comedy, Dr. Strangelove (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) is the fantastic last shot of numerous mushroom clouds set to the song “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn.
In a 1969 interview, Kubrick admitted that originally the idea was to have the movie end with everyone getting into a pie fight. When talking about why he cut it, Kubrick said “I decided it was farce and not consistent with the satiric tone of the rest of the film."
It was also reported that “the cream pies were flying around so thickly that people lost definition, and you couldn't really say whom you were looking at,” which as you can imagine, is not ideal for a final scene.
10 Rambo: First Blood - Alternate Ending
One of the biggest action franchises of all time is definitely Rambo. The original, First Blood earned over $100 million and went on to spawn several sequels and marketing deals that helped turn Stallone into a huge star (though Rocky also didn’t hurt). While you may be a fan of the sequels, there was an alternate ending that would have ensured that none of them ever would have happened. The original film ends with Rambo being taken away by police and talking to his old commanding officer, Trautman, about how being in Vietnam has scarred him for life. Not the happiest ending, but at least it opened the door to more films.
The alternate ending featured a tense showdown between Trautman and Rambo, with Rambo saying “I can't spend the rest of my life in a cell. If I've got to die, I want you to do it” and he places a gun in Trautman’s hand. When he hesitates, Rambo pulls the gun at his body and it goes off, killing him.
9 X-Men: The Last Stand - Shakespeare
There are a lot of things that are really wrong about X-Men: The Last Stand, but one thing that they could have gotten right was leaving in the above scene. In it, you get to hear both Wolverine and Beast try and ‘rally the troops’ before the big battle. It might sound a little cheesy, and even a little ‘high-school special’ but I’m a sucker for hearing Kelsey Grammer belt out some Shakespeare! Especially when you consider that the character's intelligence is supposed to be one of the high points of what makes him so formidable. Because you know, Magneto coming down at you, so why not just bust out some Emily Dickinson? Definitely enough to leave your opponent baffled.
Perhaps if they had left the scene in, it would have also helped inject some energy into a climax that left many people disappointed.
8 Anchorman - Alarm Clock Robbery
Anchorman was a huge cult comedy, so much so that the film Wake Up Ron Burgundy was made, containing scenes that were cut from production. One of the absolute best scenes that made the 'sequel' but not the original, has to be the bank robbery scene that also features Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph.
You can see it above, but one of the highlights has to be Poehler absolutely ripping into the bank robbers for the awful masks that they are wearing, including a werewolf mask and the line “how many werewolves you see around here wearing a skirt?”
When Poehler spoke about the role, she said she remembers thinking “even back then, I was like, 'This movie is so long, I'm never going to make it in this.'"
The original Anchorman is chock-full of cameos, and the sequel saw the inclusion of SNL alumni, Kristin Wiig. It would have been great to see Poehler and Rudolph also get their time to shine.
7 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - The Mouth of Sauron
There are a lot of scenes that got deleted out of the original cut of the Lord of the Rings films, but thankfully the extended editions are owned and have been seen by much of the fanbase. Those who have not, are missing out on a very cool scene that takes place during The Return of the King.
Aragorn is seen calling out for the lord of the Black Land and suddenly the gates open and one of Sauron’s top men (known as The Mouth of Sauron) comes forth. One of them reveals that he is in possession of the shirt that was on Frodo and wants them to “know that he suffered greatly…who knew that someone so small could endure such pain.” As you can imagine, that is hardly what the fellowship wanted to be hearing at that point and time.
Aragorn, being the badass that he is, then proceeded to chop off the dude’s head. Jackson claimed that he originally had intended to make the character be more seductive, and was looking at Kate Winslet for the role, but eventually went with the disgusting look you see above. The scene was allegedly cut because Jackson didn’t think the scene had a big enough effect.
6 Aliens - 11th Birthday
Aliens is the 1986 sequel to the critically acclaimed film Alien and features the return of Sigourney Weaver’s character, who had been drifting in space for the previous 57 years.
The movie opens with her being rescued and talking to her employers at the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. In this discussion, she finds out that her daughter passed away 2 years ago when she was 66 years old. The original cut has the scene then cut away quickly, not allowing the audience to see much emotion register on the face of Weaver.
But if you watch the extended edition, you get an outstanding acting performance by Weaver. Weaver breaks down in tears (understandably) and explains that she promised her daughter she was going to be home for her 11th birthday. For a movie that audiences were expecting to keep them on the edge of their seat, it would have been nice to have the movie open up with some more raw emotion.
5 Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows (Part 1) - Goodbye
You can't talk about some of the biggest movies of all time and their deleted scenes, and not mention Harry Potter. The series had iconic moments cut throughout the filming of all 8 movies, but the one moment that most fans seem to point to is an exchange between Dudley and Harry. The Dursleys are getting ready to leave for safety when Dudley realizes that Harry will not be going with them.
The audience is treated to a perfectly real and human moment between the two ‘brothers’ as Dudley shakes his hand and tells Harry that he does not feel like he is just a waste of space. It’s not the biggest deleted scene in the world, but it’s one that would have further solidified the growth that Harry experienced as a character and brought home the fact that he is moving into a new phase of his life (this time with even more Voldemort fighting).
4 X-Men: First Class - Dragneto
Let’s be honest, this scene not making its way into the final film was not the end of the world, but it sure as heck has some nice humor to it. In the scene we see Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy (Magneto and Xavier, respectively) approach a fellow mutant who is played by Zoe Kravitz. In order to convince her that they are mutants, they both seem to indicate that they are going to show off their powers, but in the final movie, the audience only got to see Magneto lift a champagne bucket (hardly impressive considering what he’s capable of).
That’s because the writers could not find a better way to have Xavier show off his power than to create the image (in the mutant’s mind) of Magneto sitting beside them rocking out in a lovely blue sparkly dress, nice shoulder length hair and some boots. I’m sure Fassbender was upset the scene got cut because his shoulders are looking seriously impressive!
3 Jurassic Park - Genetic Miracles
When it comes to deleted scenes, how about the one that would have added an entirely new meaning to the classic film, Jurassic Park? One of the opening shots on the island is the group coming across a sick triceratops, and then shit starts to go down and the movie keeps progressing. The triceratops was supposed to be a crucial part of the story, as it turns out Hammond was allegedly creating all the creatures on the island for entertainment purposes, but they all had a short shelf life because their genetic make-up was not exactly ideal.
Eventually, Grant was supposed to confront Hammond.
GRANT: You created mutant forms that you further mutated to create amusement attractions. You made biological puppets with heartbeats and an early death sentence.
HAMMOND: I created genetic miracles!
2 Zootopia - Shock Collar
Zootopia was a huge hit with both critics and fans, and despite being a kids movie, it definitely has some incredibly heavy moments and deals with some of the bigger themes of society. For those unaware *tiny spoilers* the movie deals in part with trying to understand why predator animals are starting to become more aggressive.
In a deleted scene from the movie, Hopps and Nick (our two leads) find themselves at a taming party for a young bear. The scene is set similar to a bar mitzvah as the bear is becoming a "man bear."
But as a result of getting older, and thus more dangerous, he gets given a collar that shocks him if he ever gets too excited. If that isn’t sad enough, as he is given it he is told things like “with this collar, Zootopia celebrates me, with this collar, Zootopia accepts me,” because you know, nothing says acceptance like making sure you never get too happy.
The scene takes on an even bigger meaning when you realize that Nick has also been outfitted with a shock collar. Thankfully the people at Disney must have realized that this was just far too dark, and the scene never made it past the storyboard phase.
1 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Boromir
There are a lot of people who love to joke that every time Sean Bean appears, it won’t be long until he dies. Unfortunately, that rang true in The Lord of the Rings, when Boromir died at the end of the first film. While it was sad, it did look like he was starting to get a little bit obsessed with the ring. You get a lot more context as to why that was by watching The Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
In the scene, Boromir and Faramir are seen talking with their father, who is ripping into Faramir for his lack of skills. The father then pulls Boromir aside and says the ring has fallen into the hands of the elves, and that the ring must come to Gondor because Sauron is getting stronger. He tells him that if he does not deliver the ring, everyone he knows and loves will die.
The father entrusts Boromir with this task, saying that he needs to get the ring in order to defend his home, but he initially refuses. Faramir tries to take the place of Boromir, but their father refuses to allow anyone but Boromir to go.
The scene helps to further flesh out the relationship between the two brothers, and gives some great insight into the motives of Boromir. It’s a shame it was cut out.