From: Up the Nung river past Do Lung bridge...
Apocalypse Now (just like Blade Runner and, in another way, any film made recently by Peter Jackson) really proves that the studio execs who relentlessly cut down movies to make them audience-friendly knew what they were doing. There is just no excuse for films being longer than two and a half hours.
The BR dilemma is an interesting one. The theatrical cut of BR is really burdened with Harrison Ford's crappy narration element, which was included to add a film noir element. Ford purposely hammed it up because he didn't want to do it. The ending is a bit of a mess as the end cut scene of Deckard and Rachael driving away in the mountains is actually left-over stock from the intro drive seen to the Overlook Hotel from Kubrick's The Shining.
The BR director's cut, gets rid of the narration, which I think is good, while also tweaking the ending. Instead of Deckard and Rachael driving away the movie ends when they leave the apartment and the elevator doors close. I like this ending better as it really fits better with the broader themes of the movie - the future, after the elevator closes, is wide-open for Deckard and Rachael...and Rachael doesn't have an "expiration date" like the other replicants.
I don't like the aspects introduced in the director or final cuts hinting (or as Scott claims now) that Deckard is a replicant. The movie works better with Deckard as a human, as it creates the broad contrast necessary with the other replicants - Ray Batty, Leon, Rachael, etc. The bigger point for me is that the humans - Deckard included - are living a miserable human experience and are hollowed out of any emotional core due to their circumstances. It is the replicants - who are not human - who are striving to live and squeeze ever last precious second of their existence. This "doesn't" work if Deckard is a replicant.
Ford has stated that Deckard is human, and Scott - only after the fact - started to tweak this in the multiple follow-up cuts. Personally have no issue with creating the ambiguity but I think Scott really is stretching things in the follow-up versions. Ultimately it is his movie and he can tweak it to fit his vision, but I think you are spot on that sometimes these directors need push back from the producers and editors to get the best product.