The different versions:
In the US the film was released in a version that is, compared with the European versions, cut differently because some plot scenes were cut out, presumably to tighten the film. For some reason the European Version isn't uncut either, that's why the French (FR) Version isn't entitled as "Unrated".
As far as I know the FR Version is equal to the releases in other European countries. I once checked a Danish DVD and it was euqal, so I suppose that all European releases contain the same version.
A few words to the comparison:
Some unimportant scenes (all available in the German Version) are mentioned but the focus is on the more important stuff. That's why only these scenes have pictures.
Running time US Version (credits incl.): 104:57 min (NTSC) ~ 100:45 min (PAL)
Running time FR Version (credits incl.): 103:52 min (PAL)
The US Version contains 25 cuts compared with the FR DVD.
The FR DVD contains 4 cuts compared with the US Version.
5 scenes contain alternate footage.
If nothing else is mentioned, the time index refers to the US Version.
The duration of the cuts are rounded and in PAL.
The logos at the beginning are different:
The US DVD is 9,5 sec longer till here.
The opening credits are different. The US Version shows a freeze frame, the FR Version shows the credits with a tracking shot which also appears in the R-Rated Version afterwards. Furthermore the credits aren't in English but in French. In the R-Rated Version the credits are finished in the scene at the hospital, in the FR Version the credits are finished at the first tracking shot.
The US-DVD is 38 sec longer.
When Leon's brother burns, the beginning of the shot's missing.
Alternate footage / censorship:
US Version: 2:44 min
FR Version: 1:51 min
The scene with Leon's burning brother hitting the wall is shown from a different angle, both versions are a bit different here. The US Version only shows one shot from the distance, the FR Version shows more explicit close ups and Leon's brother's rolling from one side to the other's longer as well.
The FR Version is 5,5 sec longer.
The shot of Leon's brother's shorter.
The shot of the legionaire is shorter.
Cut in the FR Version:
FR Version: 4:20 min
The shot of the camp is shorter.
- 1,5 sec
Leon's superior appears earlier.
After the sentence "I think you need two weeks hard labour..." in the FR Version the sccene continues with: "...starting tomorrow. You want something to cry about legionaire, I can arrange it."Then he orders another legionaire to take Leon along.
An unimportant shot of the fight between Leon and the legionaire is missing.
Leon in the jeep, driving in the camp.
A shot of Leon and the legionaire is missing.
The legionaire "falls" out of the car und tries to run alongside.
Leon keeps on driving, the legionaire's after him.
A shot of one the legionaires , they're looking for Leon at the harbor, is cut.
FR DVD: 12:00 min
US DVD: 12:39 min
The shot of Leon's ship is different:
Leon shows his hands to the captain and says: "I paid for the trip." The captain replies: "I'm being generous man."
Cut in the FR Version:
FR Version: 13:53 min
Leons reappears after he jumped into the sea.
- 3 sec
Leon gets out of the sea. Some shots of a bum who seems to be confused.
A shot of the slums is shortened.
Cut in the FR Version:
FR Version: 21:05 min
A shot of driving cars in NY is missing.
- 4 sec
Leon talks to the doctor who's in charge: "He is my brother. I want to see Francoise now."
Doc: "I understand but we still need to see some identification."
Leon: "I want to see my brother! What's going on?"
Doc: "Please come with me."
FR Version.: 35:28 min
US Version: 36:20 min
After Leon's asked if the cops arrested his brother's murderers both versions continue differently.
Shot of Van Damme. The doc says offscreen: "Yes Mr. Gaultier, I believe the police have them in custody."
Shot of the doc who says: "The guys who set him on fire might have been rival drug dealers. They might have been customers, that he sold some bad stuff to. They might have been kids playing a sick prank. We may never know." Shot of Van Damme. The doc keeps on talking: "He was too delirious to tell the police much of anything."
In both versions the last sentence "And if I were you, I'd be a little more concerned about his wife and his child." is shown from a different angle.
The FR Version runs 13 sec longer.
Leon and Joshua cross the road, Joshua babbles s.th.
A shot of Leon's niece is missing.
The landlord asks Leon: "You live here?"
Leon: "I came to visit."
Landlord: "Well, excuse me."
Helene speaks French.
FR Version: 42:34 min
US Version: 43:09 min
The US Version shows a tracking shot of the bar, the FR Version shows a steady cam shot. Together it's one longer shot.
Cut in the FR Version:
FR Version: 48:18 min
After Leon's saying that he doesn't like the clothes, the scene where Cynthia tries to hit on him is extended. "No?" She touches him. "How about this? Any better?" The salesman coughs slightly and asks: "Everything okay in there?"
Leon: "Everything is fine."
- 22 sec
Cynthia reams Leon because he denied her again. "Are you sure it isn't because you found something a little softer, a little easier out on the street today? That's my business. My business! I'm sick of this shit! Get out! Get the fuck out and take that goddamn cripple with you! In the morning you call Russell. And you tell him where you're staying. From now on you'll deal with Russell, and only with Russell! Our relationship is strictly business. The way it should have been from the beginning. You got that? And you owe me for these" (she's talking about the clothes).
Leon: "I'll call Russell in the morning. Don't forget to call your accountant."
Cynthia: "I'll think about it."
Leon: "Yeah, think about it."
Police horns in the background, Russell says: : "You hear that? Either you take a ride with the cops, or you take a ride with me. Now what's it gonna be stud?"
Leon: "What about them?"
Russell: "If I was you I wouldn't be so concerned about their health. It doesn't look like they were doing you any big favors today."
Leon walks across the corridor in the hospital. In the background Cynthia can be heard, she asks for Leon. She walks straight to him after having him recognized. "I rushed over as soon as I heard what happened." she says and checks out his wound. "Oh my god, you're staying here tonight aren't you?"
Leon: "When did you start to care?"
Cynthia: "Get off it Leon. I know I said some things that I probably shouldn't have. But if I had known the truth about your situation... Why didn't you tell me? I could have helped you with your family."
Leon: "You want to help?"
Leon: "I need your help."
Cynthia: "Whatever you want."
The shot of one of the legionaires is shortened. He also says: "I say..."
When Joshua's in Leon's house he also says "Yeah".
The two business men that intend to place a bet on Leon have a longer conversation.
The final credits are slightly different...
No (significant) difference in running time