The original "Battlestar Galactica" feature film was actually the pilot of the original TV-series. In order to get the pilot ready for the theatres, some minor changes have been made to the three-part TV-version. Firstly, the movie was shortened by 12 minutes to attain a duration for the cinemas which was about two hours. Additionally, a few scenes were rearranged.
Despite these cuts in the theatrical version, some scenes can be found in the cinema versions which are not there in the TV-version, e.g. the death of Baltar.
For the TV-version, the format 4:3 has been extended by black bars both on the top and on the bottom of the screen, hence constructing the 1.85:1 format out of it.
Comparison of the screen-formats of the cinema- and TV-version
What needs to be mentioned still is that the TV-version has the brighter image while the image of the cinema version is distinctly sharper.
The comparison is based on the German Universal DVD of the theatrical version and the Universal DVD of the series' box.
The Galactica and the three Battlestars in the background fly a little longer towards the camera than they do in the cinema version. Then a sideward shot of the Galactica follows.
The pilots are taken to their Vipers on rail wagons. In a close-up view, Starbuck is visible beneath them.
Being in their Vipers, the pilots watch the Galactica suddenly turning away during the Battle. They wonder why Adama would do anything like that. Starbuck reckons that the Commander certainly has got a good reason for it. Here, one sees the brief shot of the Galactica flying away which was used at an earlier point already in the cinema version. Eventually, the scene fades from the Viper-pilots to the Galactica. At the conning bridge, Adams notices that their home planet has not been attacked by the Cyclones yet. The Galactica receives a TV-signal from the planet Caprican. On Caprican, the reporter Serina tells about the peace negotiations with the Cyclones. As she is reporting that due to electronic interferences there were unfortunately no pictures of the peace conference, a sound makes her suddenly look upwards.
As the Cyclones start to attack Caprican, Serina describes her impressions of the destruction. People run around horrified.
Athena undresses herself. All of a sudden, Starbuck enters the room. She hides behind a lockerís door and he turns ashamedly away. Then he tells her that he is here to apologize for his behaviour towards her. He says he only had to wreak his anger on somebody because he had lost many friends in battle. He feels guilty for the death of her brother and wants to spend more time talking with her. Finally, she dismisses him for she does not want to worry about a hot-spur like him.
Adams talks to his son Apollo about how he was able to volunteer for such a mission. They argue about Sire Uri and the corruption within the afresh elected council of the twelve. Eventually, Apollo angrily leaves the room.
Athena speaks to her father and tries to psych him up again. He talks about all the distress he has seen at their destroyed home planet. It was a burden for him to select among the Individuals who could and who could not come with them since the space ship had only space for a restricted number of persons.
When the cyclone wants to draw his sword in order to decapitate Baltar, his commander gives him the order not to kill him right away. Baltar is supposed to be imprisoned until he is going to be executed publically.
Apollo tells Boxey about the Cyclones. He tells him that the Cyclones were made by reptile-like creatures. Since they considered the humans to be the most practical form in the Universe, they adapted their form for the machines. When the reptile-like creatures, who were first known as Cyclones, died a million years ago, they left a race of super-machines still known as Cyclones today.
Epilog: Baltar is dragged to the Commander of the Cyclones. He is told that if he wants to live, he will have to destroy the human race for the Cyclones. He obtains a Basic-Star to be under his orders from now on. A robot called Lucifer is supposed to accompany in order to observe him at accomplishing his task.