By David Outten
Malaysia and Nepal have banned Martin Scorsese’s hedonistic orgy, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. Meanwhile, Lebanon has censored the explicit movie while Singapore has restricted its viewing to people age 21 and over. Finally, in India, a perverted orgy and reference to “all nuns are lesbians” were cut out.
Even The Hollywood Reporter refers to WOLF as “a three-hour raunch fest featuring sex, drugs, and 506 variations of the F-word.” Their story says Scorsese himself had to trim some things to get an R-rating in the United States.
In the United States, states and cities used to have review boards that could ban or censor movies and the studios had to live with concerns about making different prints for different locations or not even being able to show some of their movies. The solution at the time was a Voluntary Motion Picture Code in which the studios agreed not to make movies with various offensive qualities. Scripts and final movies were made to receive a “Code Approved” symbol.
In the mid 1960s, the Motion Picture Association of America (the six major studios) abandoned the Motion Picture Code and instituted the MPAA Ratings system. Initially, they had an X-rating for movies like WOLF OF WALL STREET that restricted showings only to adults. That was later changed to NC-17 to make the rating sound less like a designation that a movie was pornographic.
That THE WOLF OF WALL STREET would get made by a major studio is a sad statement about standards in Hollywood. That it would receive only an R rating is a sad statement about the MPAA Rating system.
While the major studios face banning and censorship overseas, they don’t at home because the Supreme Court has created an environment where protection of “free speech” is increasingly used to justify waves of “f” words and even the public exhibition of perverted sex orgies.
What America needs is Revival with a capital “R.” It would be wonderful if the heads of the major American studios had enough decency to simply say no to such movies, but as long as millions of people buy tickets, the greater need is to change American tastes.
When seeing SAVING MR. BANKS, one Movieguide reviewer met a couple who had “snuck” into the movie after buying a ticket to THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. They left the movie after the first scene.
The lesson here is check with Movieguide® first. Look at our acceptability ratings, our warning codes, and our detailed content section. Consider what you’re in for before you buy a ticket. This way you’ll be much happier with your ticket purchase, and movie studios will make less money on offensive movies.