Comparison between the censored UK-VHS from Polygram Video / 4 Front Video (BBFC 18) and the uncensored US-DVD from 20th Century Fox / Fortune Star (from the "Ultimate Collection")
UK-VHS: 92:01 min in PAL
UK-DVD: 100:11 min in NTSC (= 96:05 min in PAL)
- 11 additional cuts, incl. 6x alternative editing
- time difference: 240,8 sec (= 4:01 min)
Additional time differences result from alternative logos, the bad quality of the masters and early fade-outs on the VHS
In the time of VHS all Bruce Lee classics were only released as more or less censored versions in the UK. As one can imagine, the nunchakus used by Bruce Lee weren't popular with the censors of the BBFC and in Game of Death the fighting sequence on the first floor at the end of the movie had to be removed. This combined with the already very few appearances of the real Bruce Lee make the VHS-release a complete dealbreaker. Besides that, some other short scenes that contain easily imitable fighting moves, such as blows against one's temple, headbutts or testicle squeezing also had to be removed. Worth noting are several scenes from the opening and closing credits where such shots have been replaced with "freeze-frame" images to bridge the time difference. By the way, the tapes are not recommendable anyway. Not only because of the missing scenes but also because of the heavily zoomed in picture of the VHS.
The DVD releases from the former DVD-label Hong Kong Legends were all uncensored, since the censorship guidelines have become more lenient. To every fan, the "Platinum Edition" can be recommended. The good image quality and the substantial bonus material make it one of the best editions so far.
Time references are given according to the following scheme:
UK-VHS in PAL / UK-DVD in PAL
00:17-00:25 / 00:17
After the well-known Golden Harvest logo with its four stars, only the VHS shows additional company logos.
+ 8,3 sec
00:31-00:38 / 00:24-00:31
Right at the beginning of the opening credits Bruce Lee's silhouette has been frozen - in order to cover up the original material from Way Of The Dragon where he swirls around his nunchakus.
01:46-01:54 / 01:44-01:52
This time the freeze frame which is in the upper part of the picture is very small and hardly noticeable, but nevertheless it is there when Pasqual / Dan Inosanto takes out his nunchakus (while Chen is showing off his hair below)
77:57 / 81:11-85:02
After Billy has walked through the room on the lowest floor, the UK-tape was changed significantly. A complete fight with a whip and nunchakus was removed.
Billy walks up the stairs and takes the dangling whip and the wrapped nunchakus. At the end of the stairs Pasqual is waiting with two sticks - which doesn't seem to impress Billy at all. One of them he whips out of his hand after a short time. Then Pasqual puts his hand to his nunchaku. Billy does the same. During the whole scene Pasqual seems inferior. He manages to land some blows but still looks like a fool and eventually is kicked down to the ground by Billy. At last Billy breaks his neck with the nunchakus and then walks up the stairs to the next floor.
78:13-78:18 / 85:18-85:20
For some reason a different shot of Billy is shown here after Ji Han Jae has made one step to the side.
The tape again (?) shows the close up of his face. The normal version on DVD shows a shorter shot from further away.
VHS is 3,4 sec longer
80:18-80:19 / 87:26
Probably flawed editing. Billy walks longer.
+ 1 sec
82:38 / 89:50-89:58
A short part of the fight between Billy and Hakim. Billy grabs the giant between his leg from the back. Hakim then falls down to the ground and holds his hurt testicles. The following shot was robbed of its beginning where Hakim stands up.
The closing credits are also slightly different. See the comparative pictures between the censored images and the freeze-frames.
90:12 / 97:52-97:53
During the look back at Fist of Fury the close ups of the blows to Petrovs head had to be removed.
90:16 / 97:57-97:59
Shortly afterwards a close up of a blow to Petrov's throat, which makes him collapse has been removed.
90:39-90:42 / 98:23-98:26
The tapes freezes Lee's jump. The normal versions shows how Suzuki is hit and thrown through the cardboard wall.
no time difference
90:47-90:55 / 98:31-98:39
On the tape a scene from The Big Boss was inserted as free-frame in the lower part of the picture. The original version shows several fighting scenes from said movie in a circle that is moving downward. The attackers are equipped with wooden sticks and at first Buce throws sand at them.
The tape version continues when the fighter who is dressed in red goes down to the ground and is attacked by Bruce Lee there.
no time difference
91:07 / 98:51-99:03
The look back to Way of the Dragon, where Bruce attacks his enemies with his nunchakus is missing completely.
91:09-91:16 / 99:05-99:12
The scene from the The Big Boss ends in a freeze-frame very early in the tape version. In the normal version the camera zooms out and shows where Lee hit his opponent. He throws him forward into another fighter. (bad headbutt!)
no time difference