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Because of explicit violence, this movie did not get an approval for American theatres at first. Almost four minutes were cut out of the movie in order to get an R rating. Many countries only had the R-rated version for a long time, and the initial VHS and laserdisc releases from RCA/Columbia Pictures were of this version. A few years later, New Line Cinema released a longer, more violent version (still missing the scene where the little girl kills one of the characters) on laserdisc and VHS as the "uncut European" version. With the rise of DVD, a new "unrated" version was released by New Line Cinema. It includes all the violence of the "uncut" version, as well as the previously excised scene with the little girl.All officially released cuts still feature a rewritten, refilmed ending made after test screenings, and are therefore considered incomplete. Because of this, the DVD is referred to as the "New Line's Unrated Version" by some. We will probably have to wait forever for a completely uncut director's cut featuring the original conclusion (although it can be seen separately, in bad condition, as an extra feature on the laserdisc and DVD editions). A detailed comparison between the R-rated and unrated versions can be found here.
So when the medium DVD became popular there was released, at first in the USA, then also in GB, a new unrated version (the R-rated version is also contained on both discs). This second unrated edition is also called "News Lines Unrated Version". When comparing the unrated first edition (US VHS / LD) with the unrated new edition (US / UK DVD) it becomes clear that the new edition is more revealing and hence is probably the best choice at the moment. Some changes were made during the hammer scene. On the unrated DVD, the little girl gets to kill Ryan with the hammer. But all shots of her in this scene are missing on the LaserDisc, which is supposed to suggest to the viewer that not she but Tex killed poor Ryan. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.
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