For the theatrical release, two completely different versions were edited. First, the version that according to imdb was prefered by Fredkin. This version has a running time of 118 minutes and was edited for the US-market. And secondly, the European version and as far as I know also the Australian version, which both have been heavily cropped. Without Fredkin's consent the movie was taken apart and put together in haphazard fashion. The main differences, as described in the link, are the prologues. While the US-version tells the background stories of the four main characters one after another at the beginning of the movie, the European version integrates those in abbreviated form at different, often inappropriate points in the story. Furthermore, the ending was altered. The American version ends on a pessimistic note, whereas the European one has a more optimistic outlook. The music was also changed, which in my opinion took away from the atmosphere. Interesting are several scenes that actually add to the story and were removed from the US-version. (Details are given in the censorship report)
The US-version shows nothing but a logo and the title, whereas the beginning of the German version is totally different. First, an oil well is show from far away. Then a helicopter flies into the picture, one of the passengers is speaking. He explains to the informant of the local president that the drilling plant and the pipeline to the refinery clearly invite sabotage and that therefore more money has to be invested into security measures. After that, the opening credits begin. During the credits inobtrusive background music, which is not there in the US-version, is played.
In the US-version 105 sec. are missing.
A shot of some crabs is missing.
A pig is eating something on the street.
Nilo runs across the screen. Kassem is on the street, too. Eventually, Victor, together with a boy, runs across the street as well.
Only Kassem is shown (In a different shot). The two Germans talk about Kassem. Eventually, one of them walks over to Kassem. The following conversation between them is shown in the US-version at 33:44 min..
In the US-version 20,5 sec. are missing.
Shot of the oil well.
The workers are shown longer. They are watched by some terrorists.
12,5 sec. are missing from the US-version.
Again, a shot of the terrorists is missing.
The man in charge of the drilling is driving away in a jeep.
Some soldiers are looking for the terrorist, but they have already left.
In the US-version 20,5 sec. are missing.
The interior of the helicopter is shown.
The helicopter is shown from the outside. One of the men says that the street which leads to the drilling tower should be destroyed. The fire expert mentions that the fire is nothing special.
23 sec. are missing from the US-version.
Shot from the inside of the helicopter.
Shot from the outside.
In the US-version 4,5 sec. are missing.
Shot from the inside of the helicopter. The fire expert says that he has seen worse situations before.
Shot from the outside of the helicopter. The fire expert says that he has seen worse situations before. The helicopter passes the column of fire. The men talk about something in the helicopter. The fire expert says that such a fire can only be extinguished with nitroglycerin. Several inter-cuts to the burning oil-well are missing.
50 sec. are missing from the US-version.
Moreover, the music is different in each version.
The scene where the men fly to the nitroglycerine storage depot and find that it was emptied by the terrorists is not shown. The guy from the oil company asks where the old nitro is stored. Then they head to the old depot.
Close up of a map. Jackie says that if the map is correct, it is approximately 218 miles to the old depot.
Jackie resets the millage.
Victor and Jackie wish each other luck.
A short shot of their freight is missing.
Jackie orders Nilo to adjust the rear-view mirror. Afterwards he asks him why he has killed Marquez. Nilo says that he had made his decision by tossing a coin and that Jackie should have been the one to die, but that since he has a weakness for guys like him, he decided to kill Marquez instead.
A difficult passage lies ahead for Jackie and Nilo. Jackie wants Nilo to drive through that passage and tells him to stay below 10 mph. Eventually they arrive at the passage and face a bumpy ride. During that ride, Jackie shouts at Nilo several times to make him drive faster. After that, they stop in exhaustion. Jackie checks their freight and asks Nilo to get off the truck. Now a small part of Victor's and Kassem's journey is missing. Victor asks himself how far they are behind. In that scene the title "rain forest" is played. "Rain forest" is on the soundtrack CD but was omitted in the US-version.
The Indian is shown longer in a different shot. Afterwards a big chunk of the movie was cut out. Jackie and Nilo arrive at a flooded part of the street. Nilo is sent ahead to check the depth of the water. He starts walking and after a short time falls down. Jackie laughs at him. Eventually he has crossed the ditch and asks Jackie to follow him with the truck.
Almost identical versions of these two scenes are also in the first adaption by Cluzot from 1953.
In the GV another shot of their freight was integrated into the scene on the bridge.
While Jackie is talking enthusiastically about the money they have earned, the GV inter-cuts to the foggy street, whereas the US-version crossfades to Nilo.
In the US-version 7 sec. are missing.
Surprisingly, a shot of the truck on the bridge was inserted into the GV here, although the truck has already left the bridge at this point.
Shot from the driving cab: Kassem asks Victor to drive on.
Victor drives the truck off the bridge. Kessem is still shouting at him and the rope continues to unravel.
The bridge falls into the water. Victor drives through an extremely foggy rain forest.
The shot of the sitting Kassem is different in each version. In addition to that, some scenes in which Victor and Jackie drive away with their trucks are missing from the GV.
The US-version is 19 sec. shorter.
The GV shows how Victor passes a wooden log.
The GV shows a map and the millage of the truck. Furthermore, the scorcerer's theme is played in the German version, whereas there is no music in the US-version.
Since the GV contained music in the last scene, the beginning of the conversation between Victor and Kassem was put over a shot that is not in the US-version.
Here, a shot of Victor's watch from the US prologue was inserted. The music is different once again.
no time difference
A shot of the breaking front wheel is missing.
The truck is speeding down the hill longer.
Jack wishes Serrano luck.
Jackie wanders around the plain longer.
Nilo shouts in a different shot. While the US-version continues to show a shot of the outside of the truck, the GV inter-cuts to Jackie several times.
In the US-version 19,5 sec. are missing.
Alternative footage/alternative sequencing:
Jackie continues to laugh. Nilo says that he wants to go to the best prostitute in Managua and Jackie replies that he even wants to go to three prostitutes. This is followed by a shot of Nilo, who is lying motionlessly on the ground. He says that Jackie should do it, but Jackie tries to cheer him up by saying that they would go to the prostitutes together.
Shot of the truck. Jackie says that he would join if Nilo wanted to go to a prostitute. Shot of Nilo. He says he wants to go to the best prostitute in Managua. Shot of Jackie. He wants to go to two prostitutes,but only to the best two. Shot of the truck.Shot of Jackie. Then Nilo encourages him to do it and Jackie promises that to him.
37 sec. are missing from the US-version.
Jackie is going crazy and shouts several times, "What do you mean you don't know?", which makes Nilo laugh. Then Jackie reminisces about the last conversation he had with his buddy in the US. Reality and fiction start to blend. Disoriented he gazes into the landscape and asks himself where they are going.
Jackie also asks himself in the GV where they are going. Then an inter-cut to the dead Nilo follows. After that he wonders why he doesn't know about it and tries to cheer himself up by reminding himself that his share would be bigger now.
The scenes are so dark that almost nothing is visible.
The US-version is 41,5 sec. shorter.
One shot of Jackie is missing here.
The tachometer is shown in one additional shot. Inter-cut to Jackie.
One shot of the burning oil well is missing.
Furthermore, the music begins earlier in the German version
When Jackie finally arrives at the oil well he is completely exhausted. Here, the two versions are again different from each other. Several shots are included in both versions. Therefore, I will not devide the scenes into different parts. The US-version is significantly longer.
Jackie is completely exhausted and falls down to the ground. Shot of the dawn. Then the buzzing South American village is shown. Jackie arrives at the airport in a helicopter and then enters a jeep to continue his trip. He and his business partners drive to a cafe where Jackie is supposed to get his check. Afterwards Jackie looks at his new passport.
Shot of the burning oil well. The explosion that rescues them is shown several times. In between inter-cuts to Jackie, who sitting in the jeep, are shown.
Till the part where Jackie has his check signed, the length of GV is 37 sec.
The US-version shows a close up of Jackie, whereas the GV shows a long shot of the whole group.
no time difference
The last part of the conversation between Jackie and the oil executive is different.
In the US-version the oil executive tells Jackie when and where a certain person will fetch him to help him leave the country and how Jackie can get his money. In the background the corrupt police officers are shown walking by. The oil executive offers Jackie a job as a driver but Jackie turns the offer down. After the executive has ordered something to drink, he and his partner continue to try to talk Jackie into accepting the offer but Jackie seems very removed. Jackie looks around and spots a cleaning lady. The oil executive hands over the letter which he accepted on Victor's behalf.
In the GV he hands over the passport to Jackie. (In the US-version he arleady has it at this point) and expresses gratitude in the name of his company and himself.
The GV runs 20 sec. here.
Jackie is shown significantly longer. He asks the oil executive whether he would still have time. Then he walks over to the cleaning lady and asks her for a dance. They start to dance, but suddenly a car stops in front of the cafe. One of the killers that were hired in the US to assasinate Jackie and his old buddy leave the car. The sorcerer's theme begins to play and the two walk into the cafe. That's the ending of the US-version.
After the shot of Roy Scheider, the helicoper flies away. That's it. On "Das Vierte" the fade out begins very early. I guess in the original version the helicopter is shown slightly longer.
15 sec. are missing from the US-version.
Since "Das Vierte" did not show any credits, I don't know whether there are any differences concerning them.