Reissue prints included a two-and-a-half minute written prologue about historical interpretations and contemporary studies of "misshapen misfits." These same prints remove the MGM Lion (the studio having disowned the film for many years).
Original preview version of "Freaks" allegedly ran 90 minutes. After a disastrous reaction from the audience, MGM executive Irving Thalberg deemed the film "too horrific" and had it cut to its present length of 64 minutes. The cut footage is not known to exist.
Two of the "graphic" sequences removed involved the freaks castrating and mutilating Hercules, and his subsequent appearance as one of the freaks at the film's end, singing high pitched notes.
Although most prints end with the revelation of what happened to Cleopatra, Turner Classic Movies shows a version which follows that scene with a happy-ending epilogue in which Hans and Frieda are reunited. This epilogue itself exists in two different versions, one with dialogue, one without. All three alternate endings are included on the Warner DVD.