When actress Evan Rachel Wood took to Twitter yesterday to call out the MPAA over some deleted scenes from her film Charlie Countryman, it reminded us that the topic of censorship is and always has been a thorny issue. It's easy to make snap judgements on either side of the aisle, especially if the history of censorship is largely unknown to you, but John P. Hess from Filmmaker IQ discusses the pivotal moments in Hollywood censorship, from the Hays Code to the MPAA, and how social progressivism and the Internet have changed and continue to change cinema.
Everybody has their own opinions regarding censorship in film. Some believe that there should be strict rules and guidelines when it comes to rating a film, some believe films should only be loosely regulated, and some believe there shouldn't be any regulation at all.
The interesting thing about film regulation is that filmmakers aren't necessarily forced to abide by any kind of censorship -- at least not legally. American cinema is self-regulated. Filmmakers self-censor themselves through the discernment of the MPAA and the ratings system, and any deviation can have serious financial implications further down the road -- for instance, films with an NC-17 rating don't get screened by certain theater chains, or carried by certain retailers, or advertised by certain media outlets.
Take a look at Filmmaker IQ's video on American film censorship below -- and then feel free to get into a lively and inappropriately loud debate with your uncle during Thanksgiving dinner until one of you tosses the gravy boat at the other's head. Happy Thanksgiving!
What do you think about the history of film censorship in America? Let us know in the comments.