Time and again, there has been so much said about cinematic censorship in our country, given that it has always been a subject of discussion. Some of us have even assumed that it is only our country that censors, and countries like America don't. Because America is an epitome of free artistic expression, right? Well, that is not exactly true.
As a matter of fact, there are many well known movies that have been censored in order to fit the standards of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association). Actually, some of our favorite movies would have never have made it to the theatres at all if they hadn’t been censored.
Here is a list of five movies you did not know were censored in America:
Universal Studios' 1931 film, Frankenstein, is an adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic novel of the same name. The film had to face vocal criticism from several state censor boards and interest groups. Apparently, the kind of claims levied against it ranged from general depravity to blasphemy. Before it could be exhibited within state lines, there were about 30 cuts requested.
Set in a Nazi-occupied Morocco, Casablanca is perhaps one of the most iconic films in the history of cinema. Wondering why this could have been censored? Reports say that the screenplay contained a fair share of references to infidelity because of which it was deemed to be too racy for the American audience by the MPAA, at the time.
All the explicit references to sexual relations between characters were omitted. Only implications of a vague romantic history between them remained.
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Saturday Night Fever brought about the disco revolution that took America by storm. In 1977, the film was R-rated, but was only for a limited audience. About two years later, the producers wished to get a PG rating, for which they were asked to make about a hundred changes.
The R-rated version of the film only made it to television in the 1990s. Even then, so many networks actually deleted explicit language and nudity before airing it.
American Psycho (2000)
Bret Easton Ellis, the author of the book on which American Psycho is based, received death threats upon the book's release. It is said that the book was censored in multiple countries like Germany and New Zealand.
While Ellis was not judgemental in his book, Mary Harron draws absurdist, but critical parallels between 1980s Wall Street and the world of a serial killer in the cinematic adaptation. The film initially received an MPAA rating of NC-17 solely for depicting Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) having a threesome with two prostitutes. However, about 20 seconds of that scene had to be deleted for the film to get an R-rating, which it eventually did.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Instances of drug abuse, sex scenes and variations of the F-word – all of these led to Martin Scorsese's film being cut by a quarter of its original duration for audiences in many countries.
However, this is not all. The Wolf of Wall Street had to be altered even for the domestic audience. The film was initially given an NC-17 rating. Scorsese, in an attempt to get an R-rating and a wider release, altered the film.