To receive a 15 certificate, the UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC. These cuts included:
Later video and DVD releases had some cuts waived but were raised to an 18, whilst retaining the edits of the pier killing and repeated shooting of a villain by Riggs. The cuts were fully waived in 2010 and the certificate downgraded to a 15. The uncut version is only available on Blu-Ray, while the DVD still has an 18 certificate but is missing the killing of the two thugs on the pier and of the guards on the container.
- Reduced violence in the scene where Murtaugh kills two thugs with a nail gun (a shot showing blood on a thug's head was shortened and another showing nails embedded in the other thug's chest was optically darkened).
- Most of the sex scene between Riggs and his girlfriend was cut.
- Riggs' vengeful killing of the villains who killed his girlfriend on the pier was entirely cut.
- Riggs' repeated shooting of a villain during the final shootout was reduced.
- Kicks to Riggs' face by villain in climax were reduced.
The newly released Director's Cut has over 3 minutes of extra footage - Riggs gets attention from some women at a hotel spa; the exploding toilet sequence is lengthened and Murtaugh sees it hit his car; Murtaugh gets information about bodywork on his car from a auto repairman; Leo recalls a suspects address in a very unusual, humorous way.