Legendary deleted scenes that almost nobody has seen

Virtually every Hollywood production includes scenes that end up on the cutting room floor for one reason or another, be it pacing, continuity, or just because they didn't fit into the final cut quite right. Many of your favorite films probably have deleted scenes that you may have heard of, but never seen; perhaps they were buried too deep in the DVD extras, or were never made available to the public at all.

Most people have never seen these scenes, but they aren't just urban myths — they were actually shot, and many of these legendary deleted scenes offer a bit of insight into the creative process (and, sometimes, course correcting) behind these movies.


For Adam and Barbara Maitland, the hapless protagonists of Tim Burton's breakout hit Beetlejuice, the severity of their situation doesn't become clear until the first time Adam tries to leave their house after their unfortunate (and deadly) accident. As the newest members of the recently deceased, they're confined to their home — all that lies beyond for them is a hellish limbo, a swirling, surreal desert landscape populated by extremely Burton-esque giant sand worms. This part of the afterlife must have been conceived fairly late in production, however. The original scene — found in an old workprint of the film — was a bit more straightforward, and completely different from the one we're familiar with.

In this version, Adam finds himself in a stark black void, with huge sprockets and gears of indeterminate purpose rolling menacingly around. Adam narrowly avoids being crushed by one — which hardly seems like a genuine threat, since he's dead anyway — before being pulled out by Barbara. While the scene has a certain Twilight Zone-y aesthetic, it was a bit lacking in that Burton flair, and it was said to have confused the few test audiences who viewed the film's workprint before its release. It's not clear why Burton thought a freaky desert with monstrous worms would be any less confusing, but the scene we got is certainly more in step with the director's signature style.

Saturday Night Fever

It's tough to overstate the impact Saturday Night Fever had on popular culture when it was released in late 1977. In channeling the public's burgeoning obsession with disco into a tight, gritty working-class narrative featuring hot young TV star John Travolta, the filmmakers may well have had a hit on their hands if they had only cherry-picked current hit songs for their soundtrack — but instead, they enlisted the Bee Gees, who were smack in the middle of their ascent to the pinnacle of pop stardom, to contribute several songs which would become instant classics. Saturday Night Fever the soundtrack sold a staggering 15 million copies, and it would remain the highest-selling soundtrack album for the next 15 years.

When you think of Travolta's big dance scene — which you probably have a passing familiarity with even if you've never seen it — chances are that the song that pops into your head is "Staying Alive," which was the soundtrack's biggest hit. But the song used in the scene was actually "Night Fever," trimmed down to a couple minutes to fit the scene's length. Here we have the original, extended version of the scene, which features the entire song in all its uncut glory. The added length doesn't seem to cause any pacing problems, so it's not clear why it was re-edited — but the other cut scene that recently emerged, a silly dance sequence set to the ridiculous novelty hit "Disco Duck," definitely got the fate it deserved. 

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

If ever there was a filmmaker who benefits from editing, it's George Lucas. Case in point: his proposed title for his breakthrough film was Adventures of Luke Starkiller, As Taken From the Journal of the Whills, Saga 1: The Star Wars, which you may remember was eventually cut down to the last two words. Lucas' wife, Marcia, shared the 1977 Academy Award for Best Editing for her work on the film, and with good reason; if he had cut and arranged the film according to his vision, it would have been a confusing mess, bogged down in endless amounts of boring dialogue. 

As an example, look no further than this extended version of the "I find your lack of faith disturbing" scene, which was captured by an audience member at a convention screening. The underling whom Vader ends up Force-choking into submission has an extended, dry, and ultimately pointless conversation with Grand Moff Tarkin about how to deal with the Rebels and political maneuverings in the Imperial Senate before Vader finally joins the conversation. The scene is noteworthy for two reasons: the mention of the word "Sith," which never actually happens in the final cut, and the absence of James Earl Jones' vocal performance. David Prowse may have cut an imposing figure, but he did not have the most intimidating voice.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines may not have been the best-loved entry in the franchise, but it did have its merits — chief among them Kristianna Loken's icy performance as the T-X "Terminatrix" and Arnold Schwarzenegger's inspired variations on his signature catchphrase. Like its predecessor, it isn't afraid to interject some light comedy, but this hilarious deleted scene, which has become the stuff of legend, would have been pushing it a little too far.

A group of government officials watch a Skynet presentation which reveals who the T-101 was modeled after — "Chief Master Sergeant William Candy," which is just Schwarzenegger with a crazily buffoonish Southern drawl. When one official expresses misgivings about the accent, another reassures him that they can fix the problem — and in doing so, deliver's the clip's punchline. While it is undeniably hysterical to hear that voice coming out of Arnie, and the scene at least offers a little interesting history of some of Skynet's early products, it's essentially a comedic set piece that would've been tough to shoehorn into the finished film.

Revenge of the Nerds

The '80s comedy classic Revenge of the Nerds is one of those films that just hasn't aged very well, but many of us still remember it fondly. It's endlessly quotable, it helped launch the careers of the likes of Anthony Edwards and Curtis Armstrong, and if there's ever been a better gratuitous rap number in a comedy film, we'd like to know what it is. 

This brief clip is a rare example of a scene that was intact in the theatrical cut, but was cut for the home video release for a simple reason: the phone number on the "For Rent" sign, which was a real working number. You've probably noticed that virtually all phone numbers that show up onscreen in movies or television start with "555," which is not a publicly used prefix, but this is one of the rare instances in which that detail was overlooked. It's safe to assume that during the film's run in theaters, some unfortunate soul was briefly bombarded with calls from guys claiming to represent the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity and asking if the house was still for rent. 

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America

In the '90s, few things riled up parents more than the mere mention of Beavis and Butt-Head, MTV and Mike Judge's landmark animated series. The pair debuted with a short titled Frog Baseball, which is exactly what it sounds like, and such character quirks as Beavis' obsession with fire outraged parents who didn't yet live in a world where it's widely understood that some cartoons aren't for kids. Their 1996 big-screen debut Beavis and Butt-Head Do America went even bigger in terms of sheer offensiveness, but Judge apparently thought better of this cut scene, only shown after the film's airing on MTV in 1999.

During their visit to the Pentagon, Beavis is dismayed to find that the public restroom is out of toilet paper. Wandering out of the restroom in search of more, he grabs the closest thing handy — the Declaration of Independence, which he takes back to his toilet stall as clueless guards rush past. Beavis and Butt-Head weren't known for their subtle humor — just look at their movie's title — but Judge had been provoking the ire of his critics for years at this point, and probably figured that having one of his teenage buffoons literally crap all over our country's founding document just wasn't the best idea.

The Shawshank Redemption

Shawshank Redemption has always been among the most well-received Stephen King adaptations, even if it is notably not a horror film. It's the movie that made us all realize just how damn amazing Morgan Freeman's voice is, and it's pretty heartwarming for a story about a platonic friendship between two convicts, but its tone is largely dour and humorless — which is doubtless the reason why these incredibly tonally inappropriate scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.

The scenes are featured in a documentary about the film, and are both focused on Freeman's character, Red, in the days after his release from prison. Rather, they're focused on a specific part of Red's anatomy. As he strolls down the street, Freeman's inimitable narration waxes poetic about Red's pent-up sexual urges, slowing for emphasis in one passage as he describes all of the women he encounters in public: "not… a… brassiere… to… be… seen." 

This awkwardness segues into a scene of Red bagging groceries at work, a task he has to interrupt for an emergency bathroom break — and it's strongly implied that it's not because he drank too much coffee. In addition to destroying the pacing of the film's final act, the scenes simply would have felt wildly out of place, and director Frank Darabont admitted in the documentary that it was an easy decision to cut them.


Quite a few deleted scenes have surfaced (no pun intended) from Steven Spielberg's 1975 breakthrough smash Jaws, but the opening scene — in which skinny dipper Chrissie (Susan Backlinie) is killed by the shark — was altered significantly before the film hit theaters. It's perfectly understandable why: if it hadn't been, it almost certainly would have cost the film its PG rating.

The scene as presented in the theatrical cut appears to take place at night, but it was actually shot during the day. The contrast and brightness were toned down in order to make Backlinie's nudity less visible; it was probably a wise move on the part of Spielberg to tone it down, since an R rating would have excluded a lot of the audience that made the film the first-ever summer blockbuster. The original (and more NSFW) version of the scene is said to exist on some early home video releases, and has recently shown up on YouTube.

Step Brothers

Adam McKay shoots twice as much film as he uses, so lots of scenes tend to get lost in the shuffle. He famously shot so much footage for Anchorman that he was able to assemble a complete quasi-sequel out of it, and since he so strongly encourages improvisation, much of what ends up cut does so with good reason. This hilarious alternate take of the scene from Step Brothers when Brendan (Will Ferrell) is assigned the Catalina Wine Mixer is an improv master class, with Ferrell slipping into a rare straight man role.

As Randy (Rob Riggle) and Derek (Adam Scott) grill Brendan about whether he can nail the event's planning, Randy quite obviously suffers and somehow recovers from a heart attack in the middle of the meeting. Riggle and Scott's riffing and Ferrell's deadpan reactions are all comedy gold, but playing it straight isn't exactly what we've come to expect from Brendan — and Riggle straight up breaks character, cracking himself up for a brief moment. It wouldn't have flown in the finished cut, but it's hysterical on its own, even totally removed from context.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

The original Superman film series famously imploded with this final entry, which was the only one to be produced by notorious schlockmeisters Cannon Films. On a crusade to rid the world of nuclear weapons, Supes comes up against Lex Luthor's latest creation — Nuclear Man, a stern blond guy in a ridiculous suit who takes on the Man of Steel in some of the most appallingly staged and shot fight scenes in the entirety of the superhero genre. This deleted scene, however, shows us that it could have been even worse.

It features an excised character, a "first draft" of Nuclear Man who somehow manages to be infinitely more silly-looking than the finished version, getting into a hilariously phony brawl with Supes outside a nightclub. This ridiculous man proceeds to toss around Christopher Reeve's Superman like a rag doll throughout the course of the absolute worst fight scene you will ever see, before finally being dispatched by the most awkward combat maneuver ever put to film. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace had plenty going against it from the beginning — co-star Jon Cryer has said that Cannon ran out of money during its production and ultimately released an unfinished movie — but at least the producers had the good sense to cut this textbook example of unintentional comedy.