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Cliffhanger (1993) Poster

(1993)

Alternate Versions

British cinema and video versions were edited for violence to achieve a 15 certificate with the video/DVD versions being more extensively cut by the BBFC (losing 1 minute 24 secs in total). Most of the cuts were made to punches and kicks during the fight scenes although the underwater shooting scene was also considerably altered (the uncut version shows Travers being hit by Stallone's pitons). The complete version has been broadcast on Sky's movie channels. The cuts were fully restored in the 2008 Optimum DVD release.
The U.S. theatrical release was cut to get an R rating. Almost every violent scene was edited. A bootleg workprint copy is in circulation within fan networks and features around 20 minutes of extra dialogue and violent footage.
In the UK there are five versions of Cliffhanger, all rated 15, which are the following...
  • Cinema Release: One minute and eight seconds are cut.


  • First Video Release: An extra 16 seconds are cut.


  • Current Video Release: Same as above


  • First DVD Release: Missing same footage but edited differently


  • Second DVD Release/Blu-ray release: Original R-rated version


The following was edited for an R rating:
  • On the plane shootout an agent is shot twice in the chest, in the NC-17 work print it shows a second or so more of him feeling the impacts in slow-motion.


  • Another agent is shot in the head, blood and brain matter splats on the wall behind him but in the R rated version you only briefly see the aftermath of him falling back.


  • When the co-pilot is shot in the NC-17 work print you see a different angle of blood and brains splattering on the window with him slumping back in the chair in slow-motion in the R rated version the scene is considerably shorter and just shows the pistol put to his head and fired.


  • When the co-pilot is shot in the R rated version you see him wriggling about and then falling backwards out of the plane with some bloody wounds on his back, in the work print you can clearly see multiple bloody bullet holes appearing in slow-motion as he is being shot by the agent.


  • When Brett is shot in the R rated version you see two bloody bullet hits on his back before he falls to the ground. In the work print he takes two bloody bullet hits in the back and then there is another shot of 3 more coming out of his chest and as he falls to the ground you can see another shot of him from behind taking another 3 hits before hitting the ground.


  • In the R rated version Evan is fired upon and doesn't appear to be hit until Frank finds him later. In the work print Kynette forces Travers shoot at Evan you then see Evan take a bullet through the shoulder in slow-motion which explains why he appears to have been shot when Frank finds him later on.


  • The fight between Gabe and Kynette has been shortened for the R rated version which misses shots of Gabe and Jessie being beaten further after Kynette asks for the *third* time where the money is (this is missing in the R rated version which leads to a continuity error as he said he would ask three times)The impaling of Kynette has been shortened, in the work print there is more focus on Kynette's eyes going back into his head and Gabe gritting his teeth holding Kynette up on the stalagmite as he is dying before finally dropping him.


  • When Hal and Delmar fight the R rated version has removed a shot of Delmar kicking Hal hard in the kidneys and saying "Tell me how are we feeling so far?" as opposed to the R rated version "Tell me do you like soccer" they have been edited together and this now explains why Delmar appears out of breath when he asks the soccer question.


  • When Hal shoots Delmar with the shotgun in the work print you see Craig Fairbrass get shot with a large splatter of blood behind him and a bloody shotgun wound to his chest as he dives off the mountain. The R rated version shows a different angle with a stuntman falling off the mountain. Additionally the work print shows Delmar's body slamming into the rocks below where as the R rated version cuts away just before.


  • When Qualen shoots Kristel in the work print all three bloody bullet impacts are shown, in the R rated version it cuts away after the first shot to show Traver's reaction.


  • The Gabe and Travers fight has been edited (this might not be censorship, apparently the filmmakers decided it would be better to have Gabe shoot Traver's with his piton gun before falling under the ice as per the R rated version) in the work print Gabe shoots Traver's once with the piton gun and Traver's gets up and tries to shoot Gabe through the ice and is then shot by Hal three times with a shotgun before falling under the ice (this explains why Hal appears with a shotgun in the R rated version).


  • The ending fight with Gabe and Qualen has been shortened so kidney punches, an arm break and a longer shot of a terrified Qualen crashing to his death in the helicopter were taken out.


Laserdisc release features two additional scenes not included in theatrical version.
Special Edition DVD features two deleted scenes with introduction by Renny Harlin:
  • The first deleted scene is called "Ice Climb" and falls right after the part when Stallone survives the avalanche as he's retrieving the first money case. In this scene, he climbs up a frozen waterfall. The scene which would have followed this was the one in the theatrical version where Stallone reaches the top of the mountain and runs to the lodge to meet Jessie. According to Renny Harlin, the scene was cut because it didn't look real enough...the waterfall was a fiberglass wall and the background was optically inserted. Also, they didn't want Stallone's character to appear invincible and be able to do anything, like in Rambo.


  • The second deleted scene is called "King's Leap" and occurs right after the scene where the bridge which connects the two mountain faces is destroyed. In this scene, Stallone does a running jump between the two mountain faces, and safely lands on the wall of the opposing cliff. According to Renny Harlin, this was also cut because while climbers actually jump between mountain faces, the jump they had Stallone doing was a little to far to be believable. They then got around the part of how Gabe & Jessie got around the mountain by having them backtrack and go all the way around. Some audio was also re-recorded for that after the "King's Leap" was cut..


  • Portions of both deleted scenes can be seen in the trailer for the movie


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