10 Deleted Scenes That Explain Major Movie Plot Holes

YouTube
YouTube

While deleted scenes are usually cut out of movies because they disturb the flow, sometimes they do just the opposite. Every so often, a scene that is essential to a full understanding of a movie's plot ends up on the cutting room floor, leaving the audience feeling confused. Here are 10 of those instances.

1. BLADE RUNNER (1982)

In the original theatrical release of Blade Runner, audiences were confused when Deckard (Harrison Ford) found an origami unicorn that Gaff (Edward James Olmos) left for him during his escape with Rachael (Sean Young). For the next 20 years, this very ambiguous moment was a mystery to many viewers until Ridley Scott restored the deleted scene back into Blade Runner for its 20th anniversary in 2002. The scene featured Deckard’s daydream of a unicorn, which fleshed out the idea that he’s a replicant, and that Gaff knows his true identity.

2. THE GOONIES (1985)

At the end of The Goonies, a number of news reporters surround the titular group of teens and ask them questions about their adventure. Data (Jonathan Ke Huy Quan) tells one of the reporters that the octopus attack was “very scary and very dangerous.” But the audience never saw an octopus attack.

A deleted scene explains what Data was talking about: The group was attacked by a giant octopus before they make it onto the pirate ship. Although the scene was cut out of the movie, it appeared in its computer game tie-in.

3. BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985)

In Back to the Future, Marty (Michael J. Fox) pretends to be a visiting spaceman to scare George McFly (Crispin Glover) into asking Lorraine (Lea Thompson) to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. He wears the same radioactive fallout suit he wore to get to 1955 and uses his portable AIWA cassette player to play Van Halen to wake up his father. However, Marty also appears to be wearing a modern hairdryer on his belt, which he actually uses as a heat ray in the extended version of the scene.

Here’s where he got it: In a deleted scene, Doc from 1955 rummages through a suitcase of his future self’s personal belongings, which contains a Playboy magazine and a hairdryer. The extended scene also reveals why George overslept instead of going to school the next day.   

4. ALIENS (1986)

At the beginning of Aliens, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is rescued while in hypersleep after drifting in space for 57 years. When she’s told her daughter died while she was away, Ripley appears to shrug it off and proceeds to take an assignment with a group of space Marines on LV-426.

While Ripley finds Newt (Carrie Henn) on the planet and looks after her as if she were her daughter, a scene that was deleted from the theatrical release reveals Ripley's heartbreak over her own daughter’s death. The scene fleshes out her character and frames the entire film as a woman trying to piece together her life after fighting Xenomorphs in outer space. Although the scene is short, James Cameron reedited it back into the director’s cut, which emphasizes the family aspects of Aliens.

5. BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II (1989)

In Back to the Future Part II, old Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) steals the DeLorean time machine in 2015 to give his younger self the Grays Sports Almanac. When old Biff returns to the future, he’s visibly hunched over and in pain when he staggers out of the DeLorean—with no explanation as to what happened to him.

However, a deleted scene shows old Biff Tannen hiding behind a car and vanishing away from existence. Director Robert Zemeckis and co-writer/producer Bob Gale explained that old Biff disappeared because he no longer existed in 2015 (Lorraine shot him sometime in the 1990s). The scene was deleted because test audiences didn’t understand what was going on, so the filmmakers decided to make it ambiguous—and only slightly confusing—instead.

6. TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991)

At the end of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the T-800 sacrifices itself to save the future from more Terminators being made. Before it lowers itself into molten steel, John Connor (Edward Furlong) pleads with it not to kill itself. The T-800 tells John that it now understands why people love and why it can never return the emotion to others.

There was a deleted scene that explained how the T-800 now understands human emotions. In the scene, John and Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) reset the CPU chip in the Terminator's head to make him seem more human. Director James Cameron restored the scene in the film’s extended edition.

Fun Fact: The deleted scene also features Linda Hamilton’s twin sister Leslie as a body double in the mirror reflection. The mirror is just a hole through a wall with Linda Hamilton and a mechanical puppet on one side and her twin sister and Arnold Schwarzenegger on the other.

7. THE LION KING (1994)

In The Lion King, the grown up Nala (Moira Kelly) accidently bumps into adult Simba (Matthew Broderick) after he was exiled from the Pride Lands. But how did Nala run into Simba in the first place? Her expression suggests that she was surprised and confused to see him out in the wilderness, because she believed him to be dead.

There’s a deleted scene that featured two extra songs called “The Madness of King Scar” and an early version of “Be Prepared.” Apparently, Scar wanted Nala to be his new queen, but she refused. As a result, Scar banished Nala from her home. While the song was cut from the film, it was featured in the Broadway version.

8. INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996)

One of the biggest plot holes in Independence Day happens during its climax, when tech wiz David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) uploads a crippling computer virus with his trusty Mac PowerBook in order to disable the aliens' mothership. Since the film’s release in 1996, fans have questioned how a laptop could be compatible with advanced alien technology.

Well, there’s a deleted scene that shows how David formulated the virus when he was given access to the old alien spaceship from the Roswell crash in Area 51. Considering that he figured out the alien’s countdown clock and how they were coordinating their attack, we'll just have to trust that he’s also probably smart enough to attack their computer system directly.

9. IRON MAN (2008)

Just before Tony Stark takes Iron Man into combat for the first time, he’s watching a TV news report about potential terrorists from his home in Malibu, California. In the next scene, he’s flying to Afghanistan to stop the terrorist threat. But how does he get from Southern California to the Middle East so quickly? A deleted scene (above) explains how Stark used a party with supermodels at his Dubai house as a cover to travel to Afghanistan.

10. BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2016)

At the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, an imprisoned Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) warns Batman that “the bell cannot be unrung. He’s hungry. He’s found us and he’s coming!” Many people left the theater wondering why Luthor was in jail, and who he meant by “he.”

Three days after the superhero movie was released in theaters, Warner Bros. actually released a deleted scene on YouTube that (somewhat) explained the ending. The scene featured Luthor and who many people assumed was supervillain Steppenwolf together with three mysterious Mother Boxes, as a S.W.A.T. team advances on the young billionaire. (Some people weren't sure whether it was Steppenwolf.) To avoid confusion, director Zack Snyder added the scene back into the extended edition home video release.

15 Fascinating Facts About Schindler’s List

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

In 1993, Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List brought to the screen a story that had gone untold since the tragic events of the Holocaust. Oskar Schindler, a Nazi party member, used his pull within the party to save the lives of more than 1000 Jewish individuals by recruiting them to work in his Polish factory. Here are some facts about Spielberg’s groundbreaking film on its 25th anniversary.

1. The story was relayed to author Thomas Keneally in a Beverly Hills leather goods shop.

In October 1980, Australian novelist Thomas Keneally had stopped into a leather goods shop off of Rodeo Drive after a book tour stopover from a film festival in Sorrento, Italy, where one of his books was adapted into a movie. When the owner of the shop, Leopold Page, learned that Keneally was a writer, he began telling him “the greatest story of humanity man to man.” That story was how Page, his wife, and thousands of other Jews were saved by a Nazi factory owner named Oskar Schindler during World War II.

Page gave Keneally photocopies of documents related to Schindler, including speeches, firsthand accounts, testimonies, and the actual list of names of the people he saved. It inspired Keneally to write the book Schindler’s Ark, on which the movie is based. Page (whose real name was Poldek Pfefferberg) ended up becoming a consultant on the film.

2. Keneally wasn't the first person Leopold Page told about Oskar Schindler.

The film rights to Page’s story were actually first purchased by MGM for $50,000 in the 1960s after Page had similarly ambushed the wife of film producer Marvin Gosch at his leather shop. Mrs. Gosch told the story to her husband, who agreed to produce a film version, even going so far as hiring Casablanca co-screenwriter Howard Koch to write the script. Koch and Gosch began interviewing Schindler Jews in and around the Los Angeles area, and even Schindler himself, before the project stalled, leaving the story unknown to the public at large.

3. Schindler made more than one list.

Liam Neeson, Agnieszka Krukówna, Krzysztof Luft, Friedrich von Thun, and Marta Bizon in Schindler's List (1993)
Universal Pictures

Seven lists in all were made by Oskar Schindler and his associates during the war, while four are known to still exist. Two are at the Yad Vashem in Israel, one is at the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and one privately owned list was unsuccessfully auctioned off via eBay in 2013.

The movie refers to the first two lists created in 1944, otherwise known as “The Lists of Life.” The five subsequent lists were updates to the first two versions, which included the names of more than 1000 Jews who Schindler saved by recruiting them to work in his factory.

4. Steven Spielberg first learned of Schindler in the early 1980s.

Former MCA/Universal president Sid Sheinberg, a father figure to Spielberg, gave the director Keneally’s book when it was first published in 1982, to which Spielberg allegedly replied, “It’ll make a helluva story. Is it true?”

Eventually the studio bought the rights to the book, and when Page met with Spielberg to discuss the story, the director promised the Holocaust survivor that he would make the film adaptation within 10 years. The project languished for over a decade because Spielberg was reluctant to take on such serious subject matter. Spielberg’s hesitation actually stopped Hollywood veteran Billy Wilder from making Schindler’s List his final film. Wilder tried to buy the rights to Keneally’s book, but Spielberg and MCA/Universal scooped them up before he could.

5. Spielberg refused to accept a salary for making the movie.

Though Spielberg is already an extremely wealthy man as a result of the many big-budget movies that have made him one of Hollywood’s most successful directors, he decided that a story as important as Schindler’s List shouldn’t be made with an eye toward financial reward. The director relinquished his salary for the movie and any proceeds he would stand to make in perpetuity, calling any such personal gains “blood money.” Instead, Spielberg used the film’s profits to found the USC Shoah Foundation, which was established in 1994 to honor and remember the survivors of the Holocaust by collecting personal recollections and audio visual interviews.

6. Before Spielberg agreed to make the movie, he tried to get other directors to make it.

Part of Spielberg’s reluctance to make Schindler's List was that he didn’t feel that he was prepared or mature enough to tackle a film about the Holocaust. So he tried to recruit other directors to make the film. He first approached director Roman Polanski, a Holocaust survivor whose own mother was killed in Auschwitz. Polanski declined, but would go on to make his own film about the Holocaust, The Pianist, which earned him a Best Director Oscar in 2003. Spielberg then offered the movie to director Sydney Pollack, who also passed.

The job was then offered to legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who accepted. Scorsese was set to put the film into production when Spielberg had an epiphany on the set of the revisionist Peter Pan story Hook and realized that he was finally prepared to make Schindler’s List. To make up for the change of heart, Spielberg traded Scorsese the rights to a movie he’d been developing that Scorsese would make into his next film: the remake of Cape Fear.

7. The movie was a gamble for Universal, so they made Spielberg a dino-sized deal.

When Spielberg finally decided to make Schindler’s List, it had taken him so long that Sheinberg and Universal balked. The relatively low-budget $23 million three-hour black-and-white Holocaust movie was too much of a risk, so they asked Spielberg to make another project that had been brewing at the studio: Jurassic Park. Make the lucrative summer movie first, they said, and then he could go and make his passion project. Spielberg agreed, and both movies were released in 1993; Jurassic Park in June and Schindler’s List in December.

8. Spielberg didn't want a movie star with Hollywood clout to portray Schindler.

Kevin Costner and Mel Gibson auditioned for the role of Oskar Schindler, and actor Warren Beatty was far enough along in the process that he even made it as far as a script reading. But according to Spielberg, Beatty was dropped because, “Warren would have played it like Oskar Schindler through Warren Beatty.”

For the role, Spielberg cast then relatively unknown Irish actor Liam Neeson, whom the director had seen in a Broadway play called Anna Christie. “Liam was the closest in my experience of what Schindler was like,” Spielberg told The New York Times. “His charm, the way women love him, his strength. He actually looks a little bit like Schindler, the same height, although Schindler was a rotund man,” he said. “If I had made the movie in 1964, I would have cast Gert Frobe, the late German actor. That’s what he looked like.”

Besides having Neeson listen to recordings of Schindler, the director also told him to study the gestures of former Time Warner chairman Steven J. Ross, another of Spielberg’s mentors, and the man to whom he dedicated the film.

9. Spielberg did his own research.

In order to gain a more personal perspective on the film, Spielberg traveled to Poland before principal photography began to interview Holocaust survivors and visit the real-life locations that he planned to portray in the movie. While there, he visited the former Gestapo headquarters on Pomorska Street, Schindler’s actual apartment, and Amon Goeth’s villa.

Eventually the film shot on location for 92 days in Poland by recreating the Płaszów camp in a nearby abandoned rock quarry. The production was also allowed to shoot scenes outside the gates of Auschwitz.

10. The little girl in the red coat was real.

Promotional image for 25th anniversary rerelease of Schindler's List.
Universal Pictures

A symbol of innocence in the movie, the little girl in the red coat who appears during the liquidation of the ghetto in the movie was based on a real person. In the film, the little girl is played by actress Oliwia Dabrowska, who—at the age of three—promised Spielberg that she would not watch the film until she was 18 years old. She allegedly watched the movie when she was 11, breaking her promise, and spent years rejecting the experience. Later, she told the Daily Mail, “I realized I had been part of something I could be proud of. Spielberg was right: I had to grow up to watch the film.”

The actual girl in the red coat was named Roma Ligocka; a survivor of the Krakow ghetto, she was known amongst the Jews living there by her red winter coat. Ligocka, now a painter who lives in Germany, later wrote a biography about surviving the Holocaust called The Girl in the Red Coat.

11. The movie wasn't supposed to be in English.

For a better sense of reality, Spielberg originally wanted to shoot the movie completely in Polish and German using subtitles, but he eventually decided against it because he felt that it would take away from the urgency and importance of the images onscreen. According to Spielberg, “I wanted people to watch the images, not read the subtitles. There’s too much safety in reading. It would have been an excuse to take their eyes off the screen and watch something else.”

12. The studio didn't want the movie to be in black and white.

The only person at MCA/Universal who agreed with Spielberg and director of cinematography Janusz Kaminski’s decision to shoot the movie in black and white was Sheinberg. Everyone else lobbied against the idea, saying that it would stylize the Holocaust. Spielberg and Kaminski chose to shoot the film in a grimy, unstylish fashion and format inspired by German Expressionist and Italian Neorealist films. Also, according to Spielberg, “It’s entirely appropriate because I’ve only experienced the Holocaust through other people’s testimonies and through archival footage which is, of course, all in black and white.”

13. Spielberg's passion project paid off in Oscars.

Schindler’s List was the big winner at the 66th Academy Awards. The film won a total of seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director awards for Spielberg. Neeson and Ralph Fiennes were both nominated for their performances, and the film also received nods for Costume Design, Makeup, and Sound.

14. Schindler's List is technically a student film.

Steven Spielberg gives a speech
Nicholas Hunt, Getty Images

Thirty-three years after dropping out of college, Spielberg finally received a BA in Film and Video Production from his newly minted alma mater, Cal State Long Beach, in 2002. The director re-enrolled in secret, and gained his remaining credits by writing essays and submitting projects under a pseudonym. In order to pass a film course, he submitted Schindler’s List as his student project. Spielberg describes the time gap between leaving school and earning his degree as his “longest post-production schedule.”

15. Spielberg thinks the film may be even more important to watch today.

In honor of the film's 25th anniversary, it's currently back in theaters. But Spielberg believes that the film may be even more important for today's audiences to see. "I think this is maybe the most important time to re-release this film," the director said in a recent interview with Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News. Citing the spike in hate crimes targeting religious minorities since
2016, he said, "Hate's less parenthetical today, it's more a headline."

Additional Sources:
The Making of Schindler’s List: Behind the Scenes of an Epic Film, by Franciszek Palowski

An earlier version of this article appeared in 2015.

The Most-Searched Holiday Movie in Every State, Mapped

iStock.com/chrispecoraro
iStock.com/chrispecoraro

Do you live in a Gremlins state or a Home Alone state? StreamingObserver is here to tell you. The streaming-industry site recently used Rotten Tomatoes and other public data sources to figure out the most popular Christmas movies in each state. Spoiler: It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t quite the Christmas classic you thought it was.

The list takes some liberties with what might be considered a “Christmas” movie. Die Hard (a favorite in Missouri and Wisconsin) made the list, as did Batman Returns (California’s most-searched movie) and Edward Scissorhands (popular in Nevada and Arizona). They aren’t quite the traditional Hallmark holiday fare, but they each include at least some nod to the Christmas season.

Then there’s the more standard Yuletide entertainment, like A Christmas Carol (Tennessee’s favorite) and Frosty the Snowman (South Dakota's pick). Christmas in Connecticut, oddly enough, is Montana’s favorite (unclear whether that’s the 1945 film or the 1992 TV movie), while Connecticut’s favorite is the 1983 Eddie Murphy film Trading Places. The Apartment, The Snowman, Miracle on 34th Street, and The Best Man Holiday also make an appearance. Seven states list Gremlins as their favorite, while six chose Home Alone and three chose Scrooged.

The data is based on Google searches, rather than surveys, so it's possible that the movie at the top of each state's list isn't so much beloved as it is curiosity-inspiring. It's possible that all these people are Googling Gremlins, then deciding not to watch it. But we feel fairly confident saying a lot of people will be watching Die Hard this Christmas season. (Tip: You can't stream it on Netflix right now, but you can rent it on Amazon.)

The 2018 results are fairly different from StreamingObserver's 2016 data, which you can compare here. Do you agree with your state's preferences?

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER