Chances are, if you're here, you were probably a child when you first became aware of Ridley Scotts LEGEND. To my knowledge there are three available versions of the movie, the European release with the Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack, the U.S. release with the Tangerine Dream soundtrack and the Director's Cut also using the Jerry Goldsmith score.
Having first seen the U.S. version of Legend with the Tangerine Dream score on television in the late 80's I was disappointed to discover that the European release was distributed using the vastly inferior Goldsmith score. Not until as recently as 2011 with the REGION FREE release of the U.S. Blu-Ray (Legend [Blu-ray] [Region Free] [US Import
]) have we been able to enjoy the superior Tangerine Dream version without the use of a multi-region player and a Region 1 release.
Having invested some time recently watching all three versions of the movie currently available, I can honestly say that in my opinion there is no definitive or ultimate version of this film as all three versions have their own positive and negative attributes. What is evident after watching all three however, is that the Tangerine Dream soundtrack adds an element of fantasy to the movie that the Jerry Goldsmith score seems unable to achieve. This becomes obvious from the outset of watching the U.S. version as the prologue accompanied by the opening of Tangerine Dream's score sets the tone for the forthcoming adventure.
My own opinion is that the Director's Cut of the movie whilst being 24 minutes longer, adds very little substance to the film and on viewing, it becomes apparent as to why certain scenes were omitted from the alternative theatrical editions. In addition to this, unfortunately the Director also chose to use the Goldsmith score which further detracts from the overall presence of the movie.
The U.S. version has the same run time as the European release, although certain scenes throughout the film have been altered with the use of different camera angles, aswell as some having been deleted only to have been replaced with alternatives elswhere in the film. The major positive attribute of the U.S. release however is the use of the sublime soundtrack scored by the German electronic musical group Tangerine Dream.
Finally the European release. This for me is the finest "CUT" of all three, being let down only by the use of the Goldsmith score rather than the alternative. This edition seems able to flow easily from scene to scene never languishing on insignificant detail and hence able to maintain a constant pace throughout. If not for the inferior soundtrack included, this version would be my definitive edition.
Overall, all three editions of this movie are fantastic based upon their own individual merits, however the finest version of this movie would undoubtedly arise from merging both the European and U.S. theatrical versions. To keep the European version intact but to add the various scenes from the U.S. version currently missing from the European, and to use the Tangerine Dream soundtrack to weave the edits together in order to produce the ultimate edition.
As it stands, the three current versions are the only ones we are likely to see. Although the U.S. release lacks the pace and balance of the European edit, once you have viewed the film with the Tangerine Dream soundtrack there is simply no pleasure in returning to the Goldsmith scored version. Throughout the film there just appears to be something lacking as the Goldsmith score seems to play over the top of the movie rather than integrate and compliment the visual style of the film.
In summary, I have no doubt that each individual will have their preference with regards edition, however, if like me you initially viewed the movie with it's Tangerine Dream soundtrack don't be disappointed by ordering the wrong disc online. Only the REGION FREE U.S. IMPORT has the version accompanied by this soundtrack and can be found using THIS LINK: Legend [Blu-ray] [Region Free] [US Import