After its disastrous premiere engagement, the film was heavily edited to 149 minutes for wide release in 1981. Full-length version (228 minutes) later restored for home video and syndicated television.
There are slight differences between the 'uncut' version on DVD and video and the original 70mm prints, most notably the ending. While the 70mm prints end with a freeze frame of an indecisive Averill in the doorway of his cabin, the DVD and video version ends with him standing on the deck of his yacht.
All UK versions are cut by 1 min 14 secs to remove all scenes of cockfighting as well as editing footage of cruel horse-falls.
Writer-director Michael Cimino was coaxed to revisit his film for a 2012 video release via The Criterion Collection and supervised a 2K transfer from the YCM separation negatives from which he noticeably changed the original look of the film from a subdued sepia to a more rich "Technicolor" appearance. He also made a number of revisions, including the removal of the intermission thus creating a straight cut, reversed a "pull out" shot to a "pull in" and made a number of other tweaks as well as a re-tweak of the soundtrack.