So this has been irritating me for a while now. Believe it or not, films do get censored in the United States of all fucking places (God forbid you happen to live in the UK or Australia). There are more instances than what is on this list, and for all I know there might be films with a history of censorship worse than what I’ve put on here, but this is at least a good start.
Before getting started, it’s worth pointing out some instances of censorship that are bad in their own way, but I’m keeping them separate from the list mainly because they’re censored for the same reason, and censoring the same things.
Music changes on official video releases.
* Where The Buffalo Roam
* Animal House
* Love at First Bite
* Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
In all of the above cases, the films had some amount of music altered on the DVD/Blu-Ray versions. Where the Buffalo Roam had it’s entire soundtrack replaced, and Gone in 60 Seconds also had the sound effects replaced on top of the music, which is especially bad when the film-maker was a car aficionado who wanted it to be as real and authentic as possible, from the sounds of the car engines and everything else. It’s usually because they are either unable to obtain the rights to the music, or they choose not to re-obtain the rights to the music because it costs too much. Everything is too fucking expensive nowadays.
Yep, they deserve their own fucking category, even though I’m still going to include a couple films from them on the main list. They don’t want to be reminded that they use to endorse smoking, or racist stereotypes.
* Song of the South (Good luck finding this movie).
* Make Mine Music (no comic gunplay))
* The Three Caballeros (no smoking, at least for Goofy)
* Melody Time (no smoking)
* The Rescuers (they removed nudie images from this film)
Basically they altered several scenes during one musical act, the Greek mythology one, The Pastoral Symphony. No racist black centaur slaves. The film was originally released in 1940, and the redone version was made and released in 1969. Someone did a pretty good comparison video, as seen below.
19.) Hard Target
Made some cuts to the violence upon initial US release and upon initial DVD/Blu-Ray releases, but there’s now a blu-ray release with all the unrated footage intact now. But the main reason this is on the list is because there is a workprint version that changes scenes and makes it more John-Woo-esque than the current cut. Also gets more violent, of course.
18.) Executive Decision
Only one bit is cut here, the scene with the Middle-Eastern guy in the restaurant. In the main cut, he speaks some foreign gibberish. In the original pre-screen cut, he spoke English dialogue before blowing himself and the restaurant to bits. Might be more edited clips done as well. Basically they all downplay the religious aspect of the fanatical terrorists.
The below clip is the altered and official clip. The unaltered clip has him speaking more English, and he’s holding a Quran (digitally altered out here).
17.) Cobra and Night Hawks
Grouping these 2 together because they’re both Stallone films, both cut for violence. But what makes Nighthawks stand out is that Stallone demanded cuts to some of Rutger Hauer’s scenes because, well, he was pretty much out-acting Stallone and making the film his own. Stallone’s ego was too big to handle that. I must confess, I haven’t seen either of these movies, mainly because I know they are altered, and I want to see the workprint cuts first.
16.) The Black Cauldron
Disney strikes again. They removed much of the darker/violent scenes from this film. That’s all I really know.
15.) The Last of the Mohicans
So there’s 3 versions of this movie. The theatrical cut, where the main protagonist played by Daniel Day Lewis has more lighthearted dialogue thrown in. The Director’s Expanded Edition on DVD, where all that lighthearted dialogue is removed, some violence is cut down, some battle scenes are extended, and a dramatic epic speech is inserted at the end, a speech which I believe is mandatory viewing, that should’ve been included in the film in the first place. Then there’s the Director’s Definitive Cut on blu-ray, which pretty much is like the Expanded Edition but with more violence thrown in, some alternate camera angles, and removes the expanded speech at the end. This is problematic because the theatrical edition is nearly impossible to get a hold of, except on television. The expanded edition is only available on an out of print DVD, and the Definitive Edition is pretty much the only one the majority of consumers has access to.
For the record, Michael Mann has done similar things to Heat, just nowhere near as bad as in this film.
Warning, spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie (which you should).
14.) Phase IV
So they cut out the last 5 minutes of the movie upon initial release. The actual ending was considered to be lost forever, until a few years ago where some people got to see a private screening of the lost ending. Which has been put up on youtube. Again, spoilers.
13.) The Crow
Workprint version adds so much to the film. If you can get past the bad quality of some scenes (assuming you can track the workprint version down), the film flows better, some more lore is introduced that improves the film, and violence is added in. To be fair though, considering some of the violence inflicted upon Brandon Lee’s character in a couple sequences, I can understand why they cut those bits out. Too similar to how he actually died. As for the rest, blame the MPAA.
12.) Star Wars (original trilogy)
I don’t think I need to explain why this is on the fucking list. Fucking George Lucas making Special Editions and altering his work and having the balls to say that this is the only version people should ever see, that they should forget about the original theatrical versions. Fuck you!
11.) The Hobbit (1977)
In all versions available on DVD, they don’t have the original fucking sound effects! Do you realize how fucking irritating that is for people like me who grew up on this film and just want to relive the same goddamn thing again!? Not to mention how awkward some of these scenes come off without those sounds. They lose their power.
If you’ve seen this movie, you might’ve thought some scene transitions felt awkward and too fast. Some plot holes here and there. Well that’s because they decided to cut out 40 minutes of footage for the theatrical release. The director stated that he might be able to do a director’s cut with the restored footage if it did well enough in theaters. Well, it didn’t do well enough in theaters, there is no official director’s cut, and the video releases don’t have all the deleted scenes as a special feature.
9.) Event Horizon
MPAA forced them to remove all the really violent stuff. It would’ve made the movie a truly unique nightmarish experience. Now we’re probably never going to get it. Some bullshit.
8.) The Thief and the Cobbler
Disney really fucked with this movie. Thankfully, there’s a recobbled edition to show the director’s intended vision.
7.) The Magnificent Ambersons
Again, studio interference cut down on a lot of footage from this movie, and forced an alternate ending to be shot.
So there was originally an 8 hour cut which only 12 people got to see back in the day. Nowadays the best you can get is a 4 hour cut. Which is better than a cut that is half that runtime.
5.) December 7th
So this was initially going to be released as a documentary film showcasing how Japanese immigrated to Hawaii, making up a good portion of its population, and successfully running businesses there. Then the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, and they were forced to close their businesses and go to camps, something the U.S. government forced them to do. And the film’s message is that they are U.S. citizens too, they shouldn’t be treated this way, and they are willing to fight for this country and join the army. The film was propoganda humanizing the Japanese citizens. But the higher ups decided that humanizing Japanese citizens humanized “the enemy”, so they removed much of that footage, fired the director, and hired John Ford to finish the film and release an altered cut that pretty much ends up being pure war propoganda. Thankfully the original cut can be viewed, after 40 FUCKING YEARS!
4.) White Dog
So if you thought Disney was bad, and if you thought the MPAA was a bunch of cocksuckers, they are. But now you can throw in the NAACP into the mix. Back in 1981 when they were filming this film, everything was going fine and dandy until an NAACP cunt visited the set (he was invited I believe) to see how the film was going. After he left, he basically told Hollywood to prevent the film from being released. Why? Because he claimed the film promotes racism, even though the film preaches an anti-racism message. Then the entire NAACP organization (or at least a branch of it) takes this stance (as do some other small time organizations). And like the pussy Hollywood is (as we’ve seen from that incident with that Seth Rogan film The Interview), they backed down. The film got shelved for a decade, and it wasn’t seen until the early 90s when it got a limited “art house” release. Then it got a little more well known, up until Criterion got a hold of it (God bless them) and finally helped give it the recognition it deserves.
“We’re against the whole thrust of the film and what it says about racism, especially with the rise of the Klan, which always occurs during bad economic times.” — Collette Wood, NAACP spokesperson, 1981
3.) Don’s Plum
Leonardo DiCaprio is doing everything in his power to prevent this film from getting an official release in the U.S., mainly because, from what I understand, the film depicts how he was back then too accurately. That he was an asshole, along with Tobey MaGuire. Well, that doesn’t stop it from getting put on youtube apparently.
2.) The Day the Clown Cried
This is the only movie I know of where the director is so ashamed of it, for whatever reason, that he has prevented it from ever being released. That’s right, this film is completed, has been since the 70s, but it’s never getting released.
1.) The Path to 9/11
If you want to know the details on this film, I made 3 separate posts on this film in a 3-part series, for a 2-part miniseries. Let’s just say this film is unofficially banned in America, has only aired once on television in an edited format, and will never air again, nor be released on video. This was made by ABC, which is a child company of, you guessed it, Disney.
So there’s my top 20 list of censored films. This is by no means definitive, there are a lot of others out there, such as the majority of the Friday the 13th films, The Land Before Time, among others. But these are the main films which I believe have gotten unfair treatment, either by studios, ratings oversight committees such as the MPAA, political organizations, or the director’s themselves. If you know of others that should be on this list, in that they are so bad they should replace one or more of the film I put on this list, let me know.