Ridley Scott Regrets One Of His Greatest Films For The Right Reason

By Britta DeVore | Published

Ridley Scott regret

The vastness of history sure makes for a great film, but because so many famous figures’ lives are intricate and full of depth, directors need to be sure they have the bandwidth to properly tell those stories. With Ridley Scott’s most recent film, Napoleon riding into theaters, critics are a bit up in the air about how much ground the director was able to cover during the film, which clocks in at just a little bit over 2 hours and 30 minutes. Reflecting on past projects during a press tour, Scott pointed to another time that he struggled to fit the bigger picture into a motion picture.

Ridley Scott says that his historical drama, Kingdom of Heaven shouldn’t have been cut down for its theatrical release. The 2005 feature clocked in at 194 minutes in length, with the production team slicing almost a full hour from it before it was dropped in theaters. As it would turn out, those 50 minutes were an integral part of the overall story, something that Scott has now come to understand.

Kingdom of Heaven movie
Scene from Kingdom of Heaven

When it comes down to why the theatrical release of Kingdom of Heaven was cut down so much, it comes to a matter of attention spans. While James Cameron’s classic film Titanic may be an easy sit for its over three hours of runtime, many other productions tend to drag on when they enter the dangerous territory of an over two-hour run. This was something that Ridley Scott acknowledged not only for Kingdom of Heaven but also for Napoleon, which will eventually arrive on Apple TV+ in all of its 4-hour glory.

As for the missing chunk of Kingdom of Heaven, Ridley Scott says that out of that entire 50-minute bit, there are 17 minutes that he wished he would’ve kept. The clip in question fits in between the plotline of Edward Norton’s King Baldwin IV dying, leaving the throne open for Martin Csokas’s Guy de Lusignan. As audiences will remember, Baldwin suffered from leprosy and would eventually die from the affliction, but not before asking Orlando Bloom’s Balian to marry his sister, Sibylla (Eva Green).

A man of great pride, Balian turns down the marriage proposal, and inevitably, the throne soon passes to Guy de Lusignan. The 17 cut minutes happened in this section of the movie when Ridley Scott planned to have Baldwin father a child with his sister, leaving an heir for the throne. Unfortunately, the baby is born with leprosy, and when Sibylla realizes that he has the same affliction as her deceased brother, she poisons the child, who then dies in her arms.

Orlando Bloom and Eva Green in Kingdom of Heaven

Although this scene was left on the cutting room floor, Ridley Scott thought that it had the makings of creating a “more meaty” movie. But, as the director explains, he recognized that the scenes that centered around Sibylla’s son didn’t necessarily need to be a part of the film despite adding to her character arc. 

Known for making his films as big and bold as possible, Ridley Scott has plenty of director’s cut versions out there for fans to sink their teeth into, including Kingdom of Heaven. As for Napoleon, the Joaquin Phoenix-led film is now playing in theaters. While if the story sounds up your alley, it would be best to catch the epic flick while it’s playing on the big screen, the director’s cut will, as we mentioned, eventually wind up on Apple TV+.