One difference between the R-rated and unrated versions occurs when Lewis and Murphy chase Clarence's gang in the van. In the R-rated version, when Murphy shoots Bobby in the leg, you witness it as though you were looking through Murphy's eyes. However, in the unrated version, the camera zooms in on the area of of Bobby's leg being shot and graphically details the impact of each bullet.
The most extensively cut sequences involves the murder of Peter Weller's character, Murphy. The director's cut is almost a full minute longer. It shows Murphy's arm being shot off (cut completely from the R-rated version), more elaborate shots of Murphy writhing in pain as the thugs shoot him, and includes an elaborate tracking shot that shows the back of his head exploding into the camera when he is finally shot by Clarence Boddicker. This shot is especially missed because it made use of a fully-mechanical prosthetic Murphy built by make-up special effect artist Rob Bottin. The unrated director's cut also includes a longer shot of Murphy's hand being shot off and the camera lingering on his reaction and his stump.
The unrated Director's Cut has an alternate shot of Boddicker's reaction to Robocop stabbing him in the throat, before he falls down into the water. The new shot is taken more up-close and shows the blood more prominently spraying from his wound.
The Swedish theatrical version was heavily cut for violence; 13 cuts were made. It's almost exactly the same version as the old Finnish videotape rated K16.
In order to release "RoboCop" in the U.S. with an R-rating, director Paul Verhoeven had to make extensive cuts to what the MPAA referred to as scenes as "excessively violent."
The director's cut of this film with the added footage is available on Criterion's laser disc and DVD releases.
The version broadcast on television features alternate footage of Clarence Boddiker driving around Emil rather than running him over with the car.
The theatrical release in Australia was an M-rated censored version of the US R-rated cut which lacked the bloodier moments. Some people commented that this doubly-censored version felt more violent than the slightly more comical longer one, due to the implied deaths. On rental and sell-through video Robocop was released in its US R-rated version with an Australian R rating (restricted to 18+).
The Swedish is also heavily cut. Most scenes involving shooting have been shortened or cut out, including the "death" shooting of Murphy by the gang, the shootout at the drug factory and the ED-209 killing a OCP employee. In addition, several scens have been omitted. The gang member who gets thrown out of the van, Emils' disintegration and death.
Finnish video release removes 10' 48" of footage. The scene where Ed-209 shoots Kinney to bits is shortened (every shot of Kinney being riddled with bullets are no more). 2. In the chase, the cops pulling aside to re-load, and the gang picking up the wounded Bobby, and throwing him at the police car's windshield, and the cops tossing the dead Bobby on the road, has been removed entirely (about 35 seconds cut in a row). 3. Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) saying Ne-NE-NE-NE.. before he blasts Murphy's palm to kingdom come (too sadistic, kids!) is shortened. 4. Boddicker blasting Murphy's palm to kingdom come. 5. The scene where the gang blast Murphy's body to shreds is very heavily shortened and re-edited (the brief aftermath of Murphy's palm-amputation is cut, Murphy crawling away from the sadistically laughing gang is no more, every shot of Murphy being riddled with bullets is cut out, the gang running out of bullets is trimmed, and the soundtrack is altered too). 6. The climax of Murphy's death, where Boddicker shoots Murphy's head (the gang leaving the spot is shortened too). 7. The whole final 55 seconds of Murphy's CPR (and flashbacks as well) are deleted. The first brief views of the Roboocp P.O.V. have also gone. 8. The whole "rape"-scene is deleted. 9. Shots of Bob Morton and two whores sniffing cocaine is no more (along with a bunch of funny dialogue). 10. The scene where Boddicker shoots Morton's legs is reduced (only one shot is left intact). 11. The shooting in the drug factory is heavily shortened; every shot of Robocop shooting thugs has been deleted. 12. Robocop strangling Boddicker, and Boddicker telling him that Dick Jones is behind the crimes (almost all of this is shown later on a small screen in Robocop's P.O.V. recordings). 13. Clarence blowing his gang buddy's car away, and he and his gang blowing cars away with their Cobra-guns. 14. All shots of the deformed Emil are deleted (also almost all material of Lewis chasing Boddicker with her car [which is inter cut with the deformed Emil footage], and Boddicker running over Emil with his car are no more). 15. The scene where the no-more-Mr-nice-guy Boddicker shoots Lewis is briefly reduced. 16. Boddicker pushing a crowbar to Robocop's chest and Robo yelling (along with the line Sayonara, Robocop). 17. All shots of Boddicker bleeding from the neck are deleted. 18. The scene where Robocop shoots Dick Jones is shortened.
The R-rated theatrical version runs 102 min. while the unrated director's cut runs 103 min.
The director's cut of Robocop was passed uncut as an 18 certificate by the BBFC in 2001
The New German DVD-Release contains the Unrated Director's Cut as well as the R-Rated-Version and is available as a boxset with the 2 other Robocop-Movies
In recent airings, a line of dialogue is cut during the Nukem board game commercial. The line cut is the little boy saying "Pakistan is threatening my border!"
The Criterion Collection DVD of the unrated version is presented in a 1.66:1 ratio; this is the preferred ratio of director Paul Verhoeven. The Orion DVD/theatrical R-rated version is presented in a 1.85:1 ratio, as is the MGM Region 2 Special Edition DVD release.
The first cuts appear in the scene where ED-209 goes beserk during the business meeting and shoots one of the young executives. The director's cut last several seconds longer. After the third close-up of ED shooting, there is a quick shot of more blood spilling out of the man and holes being riddled in him just before he is blown onto the model. There is then a couple seconds of footage showing a worker trying to rip the circuit out of the switchboard. The guy is then showed graphically being riddled with even more holes on top of the model. The scene played out in this manner achieves almost ludicrous comic effect.
German theatrical version was cut for a "Not under 18" rating. DVD release includes the uncut theatrical version and the director's cut. Original retail VHS version was heavily cut down to 78 minutes for a "Not under 16" rating (in April 2005 this version was also released on DVD).