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The Greatest Deleted Scenes Ever Filmed

While it's easy to be upset when directors chop cool-sounding scenes out of our favorite movies, the reality is that deleted scenes are a necessity. If filmmakers indulged their every whim, most movies would be boring, bloated affairs that would numb the butts of even the most ardent filmgoers.  

Every now and again, though, a deleted scene is uncovered that completely alters our perception of a film. In fact, it could be argued that some of the most legendary scenes to ever hit the cutting room floor would have actually improved the film they were removed from.

Join us as we uncover the very best deleted scenes that deserve to be pulled out of the trash and given their own time to shine in the spotlight. You may be surprised at how some of them change the way you look at your favorite films.  

Aliens (1986)

After surviving the events of Alien, Ellen Ripley wakes up in the sequel to discover that she's spent 57 years traveling in hypersleep. Audiences who saw the theatrical release of Aliens assume that Ripley shrugs this ordeal off for the most part, but a deleted scene from the 1992 special edition reveals how the psychological impact of this experience hurt our heroine far more than anyone ever realized.

Following her awakening, Ripley meets company rep Carter Burke to discuss what happened to her aboard the Nostromo. In the deleted scene, Ripley does what any mother would do and immediately asks about her daughter, insisting on answers. After some hesitation, Burke reluctantly reveals that her daughter died two years earlier, at the age of 66. Upon seeing a photograph of Amanda Ripley aged beyond recognition, Sigourney Weaver's heroine is overcome with shock and grief, revealing that she'd promised her daughter they would reunite before her 11th birthday.

In hindsight, it's hard to understand why director James Cameron chose to remove this scene in the first place. Not only does the loss of Ripley's daughter help contextualize the subsequent bond that she forms with Newt, but it also serves as a stunning showcase of Weaver's acting ability.

X-Men: First Class (2011)

X-Men: First Class rebooted the franchise, taking fans back to the origins of the X-Men while revealing how the central relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr came to be. With that in mind, it made perfect sense to see these two bitter rivals initially become friends and enjoy each other's company. However, what we didn't expect to see was Xavier telepathically alter the perceptions of a student to convince them that Magneto was dressed in women's clothing.

That's right. The Blu-ray edition of X-Men: First Class revealed a deleted scene in which Michael Fassbender actually wore a wig and dressed in drag while recruiting new students for Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. Unfortunately, this hilarious moment never made it to cinemas, but now that this deleted scene has come to light, it's easy to see why Magneto eventually turned against his old friend.

It (2017)

The most important and arguably most horrifying scene in Andrés Muschietti's adaptation of It is the debut of Pennywise, Stephen King's unforgettable "Eater of Worlds." Spawning a thousand memes and a thousand more nightmares, the moment when Pennywise lures Georgie Denbrough into the sewers below Derry is as terrifying as it is instantly memorable, and it's hard to imagine the situation could have played out differently.

However, it turns out that Muschietti directed a surprise alternate opening for IT which ends in a very different way for Pennywise. Instead of feasting on Bill Denbrough's younger brother, Bill Skarsgård's clown is shocked to see Georgie snatch his paper boat away in time and stroll away down the street, safe and unharmed.

While this was obviously filmed as a gag, Muschietti's alternate opening does raise some interesting points. If Georgie had survived Pennywise's attack, it's entirely possible that Pennywise's evil reign over the town of Derry would have continued unchallenged. It's murder of Georgie was the true beginning of the ageless evil being's demise, even if he didn't yet realize it at the time.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan remains a firm favorite among Trek enthusiasts, but one scene feels somewhat out of place when compared to the rest of the movie—when Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott weeps at the bedside of a dying cadet called Peter Preston. Sure, Scotty has every right to be saddened by the loss of a crewmember, but this wouldn't be the first time he's seen someone die while working for Starfleet. Why does this particular death resonate so painfully for him?

The truth lies in a deleted scene found in the director's cut, which reveals that the dying cadet is actually Scotty's nephew. An earlier exchange between Preston and Kirk establishes this familial connection and could have delivered a far more emotional payoff for Scotty if this had been included in the theatrical version. Instead, audiences were left wondering why this death was so important to the usually stoic Chief Engineer.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Once again, James Cameron has dropped the ball on one of his most popular movies, deleting a pivotal scene that could have improved what many already deem to be perfection. The film in question this time around is Terminator 2: Judgment Day, in which the titular machine has been reprogrammed to help save the human race instead of wiping out Earth's population.

While our heroes prepare in the desert for their next mission, John Connor takes the opportunity to ask the Terminator about his mechanical mind and discovers that his newfound protector can learn human behavior after being exposed to it for prolonged periods of time. However, a deleted scene found on the special edition of T2 reveals that Skynet limited The Terminator's processors to a "read only" function by default, preventing it from actually understanding human behavior on a personal level. Cue a visually stunning scene during which John and his mother open up the Terminator's skull to manually alter his CPU.

On one hand, this deleted scene serves as yet another reminder of how groundbreaking the visual effects were in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. But more importantly, the ramifications of what happened here hold important implications for the rest of the movie, including the Terminator's empathy in the final scene and the ongoing power play between John and his mother, Sarah Connor.

Mean Girls (2004)

Remember when Lindsay Lohan reigned supreme in teen movies like Mean Girls? One of the defining moments from that film is when Cady broke her crown at the end and threw out the pieces to the other girls who deserved the title of Spring Fling Queen—including Regina George. At the time, audiences assumed Cady and Regina hadn't yet made up following the fight that culminated in that brutal "bus" scene, but a deleted scene reveals that the pair did actually speak before the prom took place.

The moment in question takes place in the bathroom at the school dance where Regina and Cady finally catch up after the accident. Anyone expecting Regina to come down hard on Cady after she fractured her spine may be surprised to discover that the pair actually share a rather sweet exchange that finally puts aside their differences once and for all. Sure, Regina is also high on pain medication, but the story she tells about her dollhouse actually goes a long way to help humanize her behavior and also further explains Cady's subsequent act of kindness onstage. It's a shame that audiences didn't see this conversation play out in theaters, but Mean Girls remains totally fetch regardless.

Blade Runner (1982)

The question of whether Rick Deckard is a replicant has plagued film lovers for decades, and unfortunately, Blade Runner 2049 did little to clarify the situation. However, Ridley Scott himself insists that Deckard is an artificial being, and included a scene that arguably proves this in his official Director's Cut of Blade Runner.

In typically puzzling fashion, the original cut of Blade Runner includes a scene during which Deckard finds an origami unicorn during his escape with Rachael. All audiences know at this stage is that a fellow blade runner named Gaff left this behind for Deckard, but the reason why is unclear. However, in a deleted scene that Scott included in later versions of the film, Deckard dreams of a unicorn, and the suggestion here is that Gaff left this origami for him because he knows Deckard's memories and innermost thoughts. How would he know this? Because Deckard is a replicant, and these memories were implants.

Whether you agree with this may depend on which version of Blade Runner you consider as canon. Either way, enough plot threads are left open-ended to support arguments both for and against the "replicant" debate, which is one of the main reasons Blade Runner continues to mesmerize audiences decades later.

The Thing (1982)

Released on the same weekend as Blade Runner, John Carpenter's sci-fi horror classic has inspired similar debates surrounding its protagonist, and whether he can be trusted by the film's end. The Antarctic base where pilot R.J. MacReady has been sent is occupied by a shape-shifting alien that impersonates the people it kills. In the final scene of The Thing, MacReady and fellow survivor Childs are the only two who remain, leaving audiences to guess whether one of them is secretly the monster in disguise.

In the alternate ending that Carpenter shot, it's revealed that the alien does in fact survive, escaping the Antarctic base in the form of a husky dog. The implications of this deleted scene strongly suggest that MacReady definitely did die, no matter who the monster was impersonating. However, this still doesn't explain which survivor held a deadly secret in the final scene of The Thing's original theatrical cut.

Fortunately, the mystery appears to have finally been solved thanks to some eagle-eyed Reddit fans who realized that Childs doesn't appear to be breathing in that final theatrical scene. If you look closely, it becomes clear that only MacReady's icy breath can be seen in the air, suggesting that Childs isn't really human after all.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Whether you loved or hated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it's hard to deny that Zack Snyder's superhero epic crammed in huge amounts of exposition to try and turn the DCEU into a viable cinematic universe. As a result of this, some moments felt rushed, and at times, characters even seemed to possess knowledge that should have been out of their reach.

The most obvious example occurs toward the end of the movie, when an imprisoned Lex Luthor alludes to an evil force that threatens to destroy the earth. Comic book fans assumed that this ominous warning was linked to Darkseid in some way—and they were right, as his nephew Steppenwolf arrived soon after to cause havoc for our heroes in Justice League. But how did Superman's arch-nemesis know Steppenwolf would travel to Earth in the first place?

In the Ultimate Edition of Dawn of Justice, a deleted scene set on the Kryptonian ship Luthor captured reveals that the megalomaniac experienced direct contact with Steppenwolf, presumably discussing his hunt for the Mother Boxes. Sure, the character design changed dramatically between films, and the way Steppenwolf evaporates at the end of the scene is also never explained in his next appearance, but at least we finally know what Luthor was talking about while trapped in his cell.

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

For decades, audiences have argued over the existence of numerous plot holes in the Star Wars franchise, but diehard fans know some of the most widely contentious issues can actually be explained away by subtle details that even the most ardent Padawan may struggle to spot on first viewing. Out of all these plot holes, the one that arguably sticks out the most is why Luke Skywalker was never told the true identity of his father. Sure, this omission did build impressive amounts of tension between Skywalker and Darth Vader, but one has to question why Obi-Wan Kenobi didn't tell him long before the pair finally clashed in battle.

Well, it turns out that Return of the Jedi originally included another line that explains exactly why Kenobi originally withheld this vital information, and it's all because of Yoda. When Skywalker returns to his bedside one last time, the fuzzy green Jedi reveals that he forbade Kenobi from telling him the truth about Vader, and it's implied that this was because such knowledge would have clouded his mind during their inevitable confrontation. Not only does this deleted scene solve one of the most troubling plot holes in the franchise, but it also sheds new light on Kenobi's relationship with Yoda and their power dynamic.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1

Long before Voldemort reemerged to cause havoc in Harry Potter's life, the young wizard had to deal with an evil far closer to home—his abusive aunt, uncle, and cousin, who adopted him following the deaths of his parents. It's easy to picture these characters purely in terms of light and darkness, but a deleted scene removed from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 reminds us that everyone contains elements of both, including Potter's rude cousin, Dudley Dursley.

The moment in question takes place when the two bid each other farewell. Despite the bad blood between them, Potter and Dursley set aside their differences with a touching handshake that would surely have brought tears to audiences everywhere had director David Yates kept this scene in the theatrical version of the film. While it's unfortunate that this parting was cut, it's still heartening for fans of the book to see this important moment play out in live action too.

The Wizard of Oz (1939) - The Jitterbug

Few deleted scenes have captured the hearts of movie lovers quite like the "Jitterbug" musical number that was cut from The Wizard of Oz in 1939. Clocking in at six minutes, the dance sequence took five weeks to rehearse and perform, costing MGM a total of $80,000. Reports suggest that the scene was ultimately cut to reduce the film's running time, but it's also possible that the upbeat nature of the song simply didn't fit with the darker elements of the story.

Written by composer Harold Arlen and lyricist E.Y. Harburg, the scene was based around a pink and blue insect that caused its victims to dance uncontrollably once bitten. Although the Jitterbug wasn't included in the theatrical cut, a trace of its existence can be found when the Witch tells Nikko about her plans to attack Dorothy and her companions with an insect that will take the fight out of them all.

A man out of time in The Avengers

Steve Rogers is the loneliest Avenger, a man out of time. When we meet up with him in The Avengers, he's taking out all his frustration and sadness on a punching bag, as memories from World War II flash in his mind. The events of Captain America: The First Avenger took place 70 years ago, but they feel like yesterday to Steve. As he batters that bag, we get that he's mourning, but there's actually an entire deleted sequence that shows just how depressed Cap has become.

The scene opens with Steve, alone in his apartment, watching World War II propaganda films. The black-and-white footage shows Captain America leading men into battle against Hydra, but Steve can only take so much nostalgia and quickly turns off the video. After looking through government files of friends long gone, he briefly considers calling his old flame Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), but he never picks up the phone. After all, what do you say to the woman you haven't seen for 70 years?

Steve then wanders through a city of cell phones and fancy cars, completely lost in the 21st century, before winding up at a cafe. For a moment, it looks like he might actually make a human connection. A pretty waitress starts flirting with him, but despite Stan Lee's advice, Steve fails to get her number. (This poor actress would show up in the actual film for only a few seconds, as almost all her scenes were cut.) He then takes a lonely subway ride to the boxing gym where he meet him in the actual film. It's a shame this sequence was deleted, as it truly shows Steve's isolation, so when he starts finding his place in the world, it makes his arc all the more triumphant.

Some twisted family dynamics in Avengers: Infinity War

Marvel movie dads are all rotten, and Thanos is the worst of the bunch. A genocidal warlord, the Mad Titan (Josh Brolin) has a small group of adopted children, but he doesn't exactly shower them with tender loving care. Sure, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is his favorite, but she's suffered quite a bit of abuse at his big purple hands. But while their relationship is incredibly twisted, the two still feel some affection for each other, and Infinity War did a really good job of explaining their complicated dynamic in such a short amount of time.

However, there's a deleted scene that digs even deeper into their abusive relationship. It opens in Thanos' throne room, with the Titan showing his imprisoned daughter a scene from the past. It's a holographic image of a younger Gamora, back when she was Thanos' most trusted assassin and conquering planets in her father's name. But Gamora tells Thanos to cut it out with the theatrics, revealing that even when she did his bidding back in the day, she always felt like a prisoner. In fact, everything she hates about herself is because of how he raised her.

However, Gamora says her self-loathing started disappearing when she joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, as they made her realize she was worthy of love. But Thanos gets to share some thoughts too, revealing he felt completely lonely before Gamora came along (translation: was kidnapped). Thanos also tries to guilt-trip Gamora, accusing her of rejecting and abandoning him and her adoptive siblings, which is a majorly manipulative move. While the scene isn't necessary to make the movie work, it does give some extra background to a father-daughter relationship that's about to take a serious nosedive.

Quint's weird sense of humor in Jaws

Captain Quint is one of the greatest movie characters of all time. Played by the inimitable Robert Shaw, Quint is a salty sea dog who loves beer, hates sharks, and has fun antagonizing "wealthy college boys." Eventually, we realize there's a lot more going on under Quint's crazy surface —  like a lot of PTSD pain — but early in the film, Shaw plays him as a cackling coot with a strange sense of humor.

While Shaw does a fantastic job of bringing this eccentric to life, there's a deleted scene that shows just how weird Quint can be. Needing fishing line strong enough to catch sharks, he drops by the local music store to buy some piano wire. There, he spies a young boy practicing on a clarinet, and Quint starts humming along with the music. The kid is clearly unnerved by this nutty old fisherman, and as he starts to mess up the song, Quint's humming gets louder and more obnoxious, forcing the anxious kid to abruptly stop playing.

Quint looks genuinely confused when the music stops, almost as if he thought the boy might be enjoying their duet. Granted, the scene doesn't really contribute much to the film and would've slowed the pacing down, but Shaw is hilarious, and Quint is such a colorful character that we'll take as much of the guy as we can get.   

Bill brings the pain in Kill Bill Vol. II

One of Quentin Tarantino's greatest villains, Bill (David Carradine) is cold-hearted killer and a man who gets the world's greatest murderers to follow his every wish. However, while we assume Bill is skilled when it comes to swordplay — you don't become the leader of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad if you can't assassinate somebody — Kill Bill Vol. II never really establishes him as a physical threat.

Well, in a deleted scene, we actually get to see Bill bring the pain to a group of impertinent thugs. In a flashback when Bill and Beatrix wander through the streets of a sleepy Asian town, they're confronted by none other than Michael Jai White. Bill killed his master, and the man wants revenge, so he sicks his cronies on the elderly martial artist. But even though Bill has gray hair, he can still teach these young punks a lesson about kung fu. Accompanied by cheesy '70s-style music, he dispatches the sidekicks with ease before challenging White to a duel.

The two battle back and forth, using everything from swords to kicks to bare hands. Eventually, Bill gets the upper hand, slicing White's throat and leaving his enemy to bleed out in the streets. Beatrix watches the whole fight in rapt awe, and it's easy to see how the world's greatest killers would blindly obey this man. The scene is also a nice set-up for her showdown with Bill later on, as we know both are skilled swordsmen. Still, in a movie that's already over two hours long, you can't keep every scene, even if it's as awesome as this one.

Riggs goes crazy on a sniper in Lethal Weapon

Two years after his last outing as Mad Max, Mel Gibson returned to the screen as a completely different type of character in Lethal Weapon. While Max is stoic and reserved, Martin Riggs is completely mad. Riggs is a dude with a death wish, a cop who's constantly putting himself in harm's way, hoping somebody will end his lonely life. And his desire for death is more than obvious in a deleted scene showing Riggs squaring off against a schoolyard sniper.

On patrol, Riggs gets a call that there's a gunman firing at a school, trying to pick off anything that moves. SWAT isn't going to show up anytime soon, so he makes a move. Only instead of using some special forces tactics he learned in 'Nam, Riggs walks right onto the playground — and right into the gunman's line of fire — and politely calls for "Mr. Sniper, Sir" to show his face. The rattled rifleman starts firing at Riggs, but his bullets go wild, and that's when Riggs unloads his entire clip and takes out the not-so-sharpshooter.

Riggs is so steady, so utterly chill while taking fire, that he's got a cigarette hanging from his lips the entire time. Yeah, it's a badass moment, but honestly, it's a bit unnecessary. With the jumper scene and the cocaine Christmas tree bust, there were more than enough scenes showing Riggs is totally nuts, but that doesn't make this sequence any less incredible.  

Hannibal shows some sympathy in The Silence of the Lambs

Hannibal Lecter is a stone cold psychopath — a true monster who feeds on others, both emotionally and literally. But while serial killers aren't big on feelings, there's a deleted scene from The Silence of the Lambs that shows Hannibal can actually empathize... with his fellow psycho, Buffalo Bill.

Still locked in his underworld dungeon, Hannibal (Anthony Hopkins) launches into a monologue about Bill's psychology, telling Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) how she can catch this killer. But instead of speaking in his usual condescending tone, you can hear actual sympathy in his voice. Standing in the corner of his cell, Hannibal looks directly into the camera, telling Clarice that Bill was made a monster "through years of systematic abuse." As he delves deeper into Bill's tragic backstory of childhood trauma, his eyes grow moist with tears. Equally amazing, the lighting in the room turns blood red, underscoring the ghoulish drama of the scene.

Hannibal ends his impassioned speech with lines that are both chilling and strangely sad: "[Bill] wants to be reborn, you see. Our Billy wants to be reborn, Clarice. And he will be reborn." True, segments of Hannibal's speech are used in the theatrical cut, but we hear them on a tape recorder, as the slimy Dr. Chilton (Anthony Heald) spies on Hannibal's conversations with Clarice. We wish the original scene had stayed intact, not only to give us a deeper look into Bill's twisted mind, but also because it gives us a better understanding of the cannibal himself.

Cole knows a lot about Civil War history in The Sixth Sense

Played by the supernaturally talented Haley Joel Osment, Cole Sear is a kid "gifted" with the ability to see dead people, and that burden wears on him every single day. That pain was highlighted in a deleted scene from The Sixth Sense during which Cole is seen sitting outside, playing with a collection of toy Civil War soldiers. As he moves his pieces around an imaginary battlefield, child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) notices that two of the troopers are lying under a tarp. When he asks what's up with the out-of-action soldiers, Cole almost immediately begins to tear up.

That's when the kid launches into a heartbreaking and eerie monologue about the two dead "toys." According to Cole, one is Private Jenkins and the other is Private Kenny. Both were family men desperate to get home. One man had a newborn baby he badly wanted to see, and the other had a sick wife he needed to care for. But as Cole fights back the tears, he reveals both of these soldiers were killed in battle and never saw their loved ones again. As for Malcolm, he isn't really sure what's going on. These are just toys, right? So why is Cole so emotional? And how does he have such adult knowledge about a war fought so long ago?

Actually, M. Night Shyamalan was worried the audiences would be asking the same questions, as the scene comes pretty early in the film, before Cole's powers have been established. As the director put it, "It was too much information that didn't make sense too early in the movie." Still, on its own, it's a beautifully tragic scene and a testament to Osment's incredible acting abilities.

J. Jonah Jameson is secretly a fanboy in Spider-Man 2

A deleted scene doesn't need to be long to be great. Take this hilarious moment from Spider-Man 2, for example. The scene comes after Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) has given up on his web-slinging alter ego. He's sick of being Spider-Man, and he's ready to live a normal life, full of musical montages. In fact, he's so done with being a superhero that he tosses his suit in a garbage can.

Eventually, the Spidey outfit makes its way to J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmon), publisher of the Daily Bugle. The cantankerous reporter is thrilled that Spider-Man has called it quits, as Jameson harbors a major grudge toward the arachnid vigilante. But in this deleted scene, we learn that maybe Jameson is secretly jealous of the friendly neighborhood hero.

For just a few seconds, we watch as Jameson dons the Spidey suit and starts leaping around his office, shooting imaginary webs at invisible bad guys. Naturally, he's got a cigar clamped firmly in his mouth the entire time, and he's oblivious to the fact that his employees are spying on his closeted cosplay adventure. Even though this scene is incredibly brief, it's a hysterical moment that shows Jameson might be a bigger Spidey fan than he likes to admit.

David Dunne gets physical in Unbreakable

The weightlifting sequence is one of the best moments from M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable. Slowly starting to realize that he might actually be a superhero, security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) goes down into his basement and starts bench pressing an insane amount of weight. Both he and his son (Spencer Treat Clark) are wide-eyed with amazement at David's strength. No matter how much weight they add — even when they start hanging paint cans on the barbell — the man just keeps bench-pressing like it's no problem.

It's a triumphant moment for the self-doubting David, but in a deleted scene, he gets an extra bit of assurance that he's really something special. After impressing his kid, David goes to visit the weight room at the football stadium where he works. There, he racks up nearly 500 pounds, and after a bit of hesitation, he lifts that bar with ease (especially considering he's not exactly a bodybuilder). As pointed out by The Hollywood Reporter, this feat is even more impressive as David is using a "suicide grip," which means there are no thumbs involved.

Once he's done with that mighty bench press, you can see in David's eyes that he's really starting to believe in his superhero abilities. And everybody else in the room is pretty impressed as well. The victorious scene is capped off with the entire football team staring at David in disbelief. They're all burly, young athletes, and none of them can lift anywhere close to this dude. It's a nice comic sting to close the scene, but as Shyaman himself pointed out, the moment was just a bit "redundant" coming after the basement sequence. Still, we have to agree with the director that even though it's repetitive, this sequence is "a lot of fun."