The version released in the Soviet Union was significantly longer and featured an alternate score by composer Aleksandr Zatsepin instead of the score by Ennio Morricone used in the shorter European/American version.
In the U.S. version, after the pictorial fade-out, and at the head of the end credits there is a message that reads, "This film is inspired the the polar expedition of the airship "Italia" under the command of General Umberto Nobile which was overwhelmed by natural forces and crashed on the ice after achieving new records for Artic exploration by air." The final bars of Ennio Morricone's score play out over the Paramount logo. Some U.S. prints are missing this message and the end of Morricone's score plays out over black footage before the Paramount logo at the end. The print used for Paramount's DVD release is missing this message.
This film was released in two primary versions. The version released in Russia was presented in a Sovscope 70 70mm roadshow version running over 2 1/2 hours (prints of various running times reportedly existed). The non-Russian speaking cast members were dubbed into Russian. For the rest of the world there was created an "International Version" which was cut down to 121 minutes, had the 2.20:1 Sovscope 70 format cropped to 1.66:1 spherical widescreen, and had the original score replaced with one by noted Italian composer Ennio Morricone. This version used the original English language voice tracks of the lead actors.