Some network broadcasts are noticably truncated. In particular, the scene where Kruge destroys the female mercenary for looking at the Genesis information is cut. The scene ends instead with the two characters expressing love for each other! The scene where McCoy refers to "that green-blooded son-of-a-bitch" is also censored.
The German version has overdubbed all of the Klingon spoken scenes with normal German. Therefore subtitles aren't necessary. The Klingon language with subtitles was restored for the German Special Edition DVD.
DVD and Blu-ray releases are missing a loud, high-pitched "cracking" sound effect as the Genesis planet breaks apart and the Bird of Prey flies away (though it can be heard under the Nimoy/Bennett/Correll/Curtis commentary track).
An early ABC-TV broadcast had the flashbacks of Spock's Death and the opening scene of Captain Kirk on the Enterprise bridge cut for time constraints. Instead the opening fades in on Spock's tube being loaded for launch and then after the opening credits, it switches straight to the scenes between the freighter and the Klingon ship followed by the Enterprise's arrival at Earth.
On pan and scan VHS releases, the opening credits are "chyroned" in, looking compressed. This is done so the background picture would not be compressed.