Salon‘s Matt Zoller Seitz writes about four categories of director’s recuts (revisions, rescues, resuscitations, reimaginings) and doesn’t mention the exalted fifth category — i.e., unmistakable improvements? (Okay, so it doesn’t begin with an “r.”) Four expanded director’s cuts that are incontestably better than the original theatrical versions are (a) Cameron Crowe‘s “bootleg cut” of Almost Famous, (b) James Cameron‘s Aliens “special edition”, (c) Barry Levinson‘s unrated extended cut of Bugsy, and (d) Ridley Scott‘s extended Kingdom of Heaven cut.

Crowe’s bootleg is a reported 40 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Cameron’s longer Aliens runs 17 minutes longer than the original, Levinson’s heftier cut runs 149 minutes vs. a 136-minute theatrical running time, and Scott’s longer Kingdom of Heaven runs 45 minutes beyond theatrical.