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10 Deleted Scenes That Explain Major Movie Plot Holes

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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.

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10 Filling Facts About A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video

Though it may not be as widely known as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving has been a beloved holiday tradition for many families for more than 40 years now. Even if you've seen it 100 times, there’s still probably a lot you don’t know about this Turkey Day special.

1. IT’S THE FIRST PEANUTS SPECIAL TO FEATURE AN ADULT VOICE.

We all know the trombone “wah wah wah” sound that Charlie Brown’s teacher makes when speaking in a Peanuts special. But A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, which was released in 1973, made history as the first Peanuts special to feature a real, live, human adult voice. But it’s not a speaking voice—it’s heard in the song “Little Birdie.”

2. IT WASN’T JUST ANY ADULT WHO LENT HIS VOICE TO THE SPECIAL.

Being the first adult to lend his or her voice to a Peanuts special was kind of a big deal, so it makes sense that the honor wasn’t bestowed on just any old singer or voice actor. The song was performed by composer Vince Guardaldi, whose memorable compositions have become synonymous with Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang.

“Guaraldi was one of the main reasons our shows got off to such a great start,” Lee Mendelson, the Emmy-winning producer who worked on many of the Peanuts specials—including A Charlie Brown Thanksgivingwrote for The Huffington Post in 2013. “His ‘Linus and Lucy,’ introduced in A Charlie Brown Christmas, set the bar for the first 16 shows for which he created all the music. For our Thanksgiving show, he told me he wanted to sing a new song he had written for Woodstock. I agreed with much trepidation as I had never heard him sing a note. His singing of ‘Little Birdie’ became a hit."

3. DESPITE THE VOICE, THERE ARE NO ADULTS FEATURED IN THE SPECIAL.

While Peanuts specials are largely populated by children, there’s usually at least an adult or two seen or heard somewhere. That’s not the case with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. “Charlie Brown Thanksgiving may be the only Thanksgiving special (live or animated) that does not include adults,” Mendelson wrote for HuffPo. “Our first 25 specials honored the convention of the comic strip where no adults ever appeared. (Ironically, our Mayflower special does include adults for the first time.)”

4. LUCY IS MOSTLY M.I.A., TOO.

Though early on in the special, viewers get that staple scene of Lucy pulling a football away from Charlie Brown at the last minute, that’s all we see of Chuck’s nemesis in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. (Lucy's brother, Linus, however, is still a main character.)

5. CHARLIE BROWN AND LUCY STILL KEEP IN TOUCH.

Though they only had a single scene together, Todd Barbee, who voiced Charlie Brown, told Noblemania that he and Robin Kohn, who voiced Lucy in the Thanksgiving special, still keep in touch. “We actually went to high school together,” Barbee said. “We still live in Marin County, are Facebook friends, and occasionally see each other.”

6. CHARLIE BROWN HAD SOME TROUBLE WITH HIS SIGNATURE “AAARRRGG.”

One unique aspect of the Peanuts specials is that the bulk of the characters are voiced by real kids. In the case of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, 10-year-old newcomer Todd Barbee was tasked with giving a voice to Charlie Brown—and it wasn’t always easy.

“One time they wanted me to voice that ‘AAAAAAARRRRRGGGGG’ when Charlie Brown goes to kick the football and Lucy yanks it away,” Barbee recalled to Noblemania in 2014. “Try as I might, I just couldn’t generate [it as] long [as] they were looking for … so after something like 25 takes, we moved on. I was sweating the whole time. I think they eventually got an adult or a kid with an older voice to do that one take."

7. LINUS STILL GETS AN ENTHUSIASTIC RESPONSE.

While Barbee got a crash course in the downside of celebrity at a very early age—“seeing my name printed in TV Guide made everyone around me go bananas … everybody … just thought I was some big movie star or something,” he told Noblemania—Stephen Shea, who voiced Linus, still gets a pretty big reaction.

"I don't walk around saying 'I'm the voice of Linus,'" Shea told the Los Angeles Times in 2013. "But when people find out one way or another, they scream 'I love Linus. That is my favorite character!'"

8. THANKS TO LINUS, THE THANKSGIVING SPECIAL GOT A SPINOFF.

As is often the case in a Peanuts special, Linus gets to play the role of philosopher in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and remind his friends (and the viewers) about the history and true meaning of whatever holiday they’re celebrating. His speech about the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving eventually led to This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers, a kind of spinoff adapted from that Thanksgiving Day prayer, which sees the Peanuts gang becoming a part of history.

9. LEE MENDELSON HAD AN ISSUE WITH BIRD CANNIBALISM.

In writing for HuffPo for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’s 40th anniversary, Mendelson admitted that one particular scene in the special led to “a rare, minor dispute during the creation of the show. Mr. Schulz insisted that Woodstock join Snoopy in carving and eating a turkey. For some reason I was bothered that Woodstock would eat a turkey. I voiced my concern, which was immediately overruled.”

10. MENDELSON EVENTUALLY GOT HIS WAY ... THOUGH NOT FOR LONG.

Though Mendelson lost his original argument against seeing Woodstock eating another bird, he was eventually able to right that wrong. “Years later, when CBS cut the show from its original 25 minutes to 22 minutes, I sneakily edited out the scene of Woodstock eating,” he wrote. “But when we moved to ABC in 2001, the network (happily) elected to restore all the holiday shows to the original 25 minutes, so I finally have given up.”

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13 Great Facts About Bad Lieutenant
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Bad Lieutenant can be accused of many things, but one charge you can't level against it is false advertising. Harvey Keitel's title character, whose name is never given, is indeed a bad, bad lieutenant: corrupt, sleazy, drug-addled, irresponsible, and lascivious, all while he's on the job. (Imagine what his weekends must be like!)

Abel Ferrara's nightmarish character study was controversial when it was released 25 years ago today, and rated NC-17 for its graphic nudity (including a famous glimpse at Lil’ Harvey), unsettling sexual violence, and frank depiction of drug use. The film packs a wallop, no doubt. Here's some behind-the-scenes info to help you cope with it.

1. THE PLACID WOMAN WHO HELPS THE LIEUTENANT FREEBASE HEROIN WROTE THE MOVIE.

That's Zoë Tamerlis Lund, who starred in Abel Ferrara's revenge-exploitation thriller Ms. 45 (1981) more than a decade earlier, when she was 17 years old. She and Ferrara are credited together for writing Bad Lieutenant, though she always insisted that wasn't the case. "I wrote this alone," she said. "Abel is a wonderful director, but he's not a screenwriter." She said elsewhere that she "wrote every word of that screenplay," though everyone agrees the finished movie included a lot of improvisation. Lund was a fascinating, tragic character herself—a musical prodigy who became an enthusiastic and unapologetic user of heroin before switching to cocaine in the mid-1990s. She died of heart failure in 1999 at age 37.

2. CHRISTOPHER WALKEN WAS SUPPOSED TO STAR IN IT.

Christopher Walken had starred in Ferrara's previous film, King of New York (1990), and was set to play the lead in Bad Lieutenant before pulling out at almost the last minute. Ferrara was shocked. "[Walken] says, 'You know, I don't think I'm right for it.' Which is, you know, a fine thing to say, unless it's three weeks from when you're supposed to start shooting," Ferrara said. "It definitely caught me by surprise. It put me in terminal shock, actually." Harvey Keitel replaced him (though not without difficulty; see below), and the film's editor, Anthony Redman, thought Keitel was a better choice anyway. "Chris is too elegant for the part," he said. "Harvey is not elegant." 

3. HARVEY KEITEL'S INITIAL REACTION TO THE SCRIPT WAS NOT PROMISING.

"When we gave [Keitel] the script the first time, he read about five pages and threw it in the garbage," Ferrara said. Keitel's recollection was a little more diplomatic. As he told Roger Ebert, "I read a certain amount of pages and I put it down. I said, 'There's no way I'm gonna make this movie.' And then I asked myself, 'How often am I a lead in a movie? Read it, maybe I can salvage something from it …' When I read the part about the nun, I understood why Abel wanted to make it."

4. IT WAS ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO BE FUNNY.


Lionsgate Home Entertainment

"It was always, in my mind, a comedy," Ferrara said. He cited the scene where the Lieutenant pulls the teenage girls over as a specific example of how Christopher Walken would have played it, and how Harvey Keitel changed it. "The lieutenant was going to end up dancing in the streets with the girls as the sun came up. They'd be wearing his gun belt and hat, and they'd have the radio on, you know what I mean? But oh my God, Harvey, he turned it into this whole other thing." Boy, did he. 

5. THAT SCENE WITH THE TEENAGE GIRLS HAD A REAL-LIFE ELEMENT THAT MADE IT EVEN CREEPIER.

One of the young women was Keitel's nanny. Ferrara: "I said, 'You sure you want to do this with your babysitter?' He says, 'Yeah, I want to try something.'"

6. MUCH OF IT WAS FILMED GUERRILLA-STYLE.

Like many indie-minded directors of low-budget films, Ferrara didn't bother with permits most of the time. "We weren't permitted on any of this stuff," editor Anthony Redman admitted. "We just walked on and started shooting." For the scene where a strung-out Lieutenant walks through a bumpin' nightclub, they sent Keitel through an actual, functioning club during peak operating hours.

7. A GREAT DEAL OF THE DIALOGUE AND ACTION WERE MADE UP ON THE FLY.

The script was only about 65 pages at first, which would have made for about a 65-minute movie. "It left a lot of room for improvisation," producer Randy Sabusawa said, "but the ideas were pretty distilled. They were there."

Script supervisor Karen Kelsall said supervising the script was a challenge. "Abel didn't stick to a script," she said. "Abel used a script as a way to get the money to make a movie, and then the script was kind of—we called it the daily news. It changed every day. It changed in the middle of scenes." Ferrara was unapologetic about the script's brevity. "The idea of wanting 90 pages ... is ridiculous."

8. AND THERE WERE EVEN MORE IDEAS THAT THEY DIDN'T USE.

Ferrara said a scene that epitomized the movie for him—even though he never got around to filming it—was one where the Lieutenant robs an electronics store, leaves, then gets a call about a robbery at the electronics store. He responds in an official capacity (they don't recognize him), takes a statement, walks out, and throws the statement in the garbage. "And that to me is the Bad Lieutenant, you know?" Ferrara said. 

9. THE BASEBALL PLAYOFF SERIES IS FICTIONAL.

The Mets have battled the Dodgers for the National League championship once, in 1988. (The Dodgers beat 'em and went on to win the World Series.) For the narrative Ferrara wanted—the Mets coming back from a 3-0 deficit to win the pennant—he had to make it up. He used footage from real Mets-Dodgers games (including Darryl Strawberry's three-run homer from a game in July 1991) and added fictional play-by-play. But the statistics were accurate: No team had ever been down by three in a best-of-seven series and then come back to win. (It's happened once since then, when the 2004 Red Sox did it.)

10. THEY HAD HELP FROM THE COP WHO SOLVED A SIMILAR CASE.

The disgusting crime at the center of the film (we won't dwell on it) was inspired by a real-life incident from 1981, which mayor Ed Koch called "the most heinous crime in the history of New York City." The street cop who solved it, Bo Dietl, advised Ferrara on the film and had an on-screen role as one of the detectives in our Lieutenant's circle of friends.

11. THEY DESECRATED THE CHURCH AS RESPECTFULLY AS THEY COULD.

Production designer Charles Lagola had his team cover the church’s altar and other surfaces with plastic wrap, then painted the graffiti and other defacements on the plastic.

12. IT WAS RATED NC-17 IN THEATERS, WITH AN R-RATED VERSION FOR HOME VIDEO.

Blockbuster and some of the other retail chains wouldn't carry NC-17 or unrated films, so sometimes studios would produce edited versions. (See also: Requiem for a Dream.) The tamer version of Bad Lieutenant was five minutes and 19 seconds shorter, with parts of the rape scene, the drug-injecting scene, and much of the car interrogation scene excised.

13. THE "SEQUEL" HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, NOR DID FERRARA APPROVE OF IT.


First Look International

Movie buffs were baffled in 2009, when Werner Herzog directed Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, starring Nicolas Cage. It sounds like a sequel (or a remake), but in fact had no connection at all to the earlier film except that both were produced by Edward R. Pressman. Herzog said he'd never seen Ferrara's movie and wanted to change the title (Pressman wouldn't let him); Ferrara, outspoken as always, initially wished fiery death on everyone involved. Ferrara and Herzog finally met at the 2013 Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, where Herzog initiated a conversation about the whole affair and Ferrara expressed his frustration cordially. 

Additional sources:
DVD interviews with Abel Ferrara, Anthony Redman, Randy Sabusawa, and Karen Kelsall.

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