The small differences in length between the American and European versions of Blade Runner are caused by the conversion between the different standards that are used. The cuts themselves are the same.
Film runs through the camera/projector at 24 frames per second (fps). The system used for TV in the Americas and Japan (NTSC) runs at 30 fps, so they use a process called 2:3 pulldown which inserts repeated fields to stretch the 24 into the 30. However the UK PAL system runs at 25 fps, so rather than come up with a system to make 24 fit 25, they just do a frame by frame transfer and play it 4% faster at 25 fps. Therefore running times for PAL transferred films are 4% shorter.
(A result of this is that when you play a PAL disc on an NTSC player, it will appear slightly sped up.)
The difference in speed should not be noticeable, although some people claim the different pitch is audible when listening to music on such a converted tape.
For more detailed information about this, here is a good website to visit:
Another issue specific to DVDs is “Regional Coding” which splits the world into six regions, (for commercial purposes) and is implemented on DVDs and within DVD players that read the code off the Disc. USA/Canada is Region 1, UK/Europe is Region 2, etc. If you live in Region 1, this won’t matter much to you. If you live anywhere else then do yourself a favour and either get a region free DVD player or get it fixed to be region free. Then you can stick your finger up at the Corporate bullies. Some DVDs themselves, (like “Brazil”), are region free, but will still be one of the PAL/NTSC/SECAM video signals. Investigate before you buy.
Posted in: 1. About the Film