How the Catholic Church censored Hollywood's Golden Age

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  • Published on:  Wednesday, April 11, 2018
  • For decades Hollywood studios needed to follow a strict set of moral guidelines if they wanted their movies to get made.

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    From 1934 to 1954 every Hollywood movie needed to follow a strict set of guidelines laid out by the Catholic church. They included such things as barring excessive drinking, on screen nudity, and even sexual relationships between races. Enforcement was overseen by the Production Code administration, which was led by Joseph Breen. In order to ensure that the production code was followed the Catholic Church founded the Legion of Decency, a group with millions of members that threatened to boycott any movie that didn’t adhere to the guidelines. For decades every line of dialogue needed to be approved by Breen and his administration, making him one of the most powerful people in the history of cinema. is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

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  • Vox
    Vox  5 months ago +204

    The Hays Code left its mark on cinema, but the invention of technicolor revolutionized it. The Wizard of Oz was a prime example. Watch our video here:

    • Lori K
      Lori K  1 months ago

      Matt Tobin Then why did all of the "sexy" scenes disappear if not for the code being abided by?

    • penguins forall
      penguins forall  5 months ago

      Hey Vox, 2001 A Space Odessy was released in 1968 a year after the Production Code faded out even having an MPAA rating. However this film seemed to have some pretty heavy handed Catholic Church influences. Whats up with that?

      JMNTLPY  5 months ago +1

      The video was dishonest, not that I expect much better from you people. Here's a quote I pulled off of 4chan that explains it in greater depth:
      "The National Legion of Decency was only one of a number of groups that were instrumental in getting the Hays Code enforced, and many of the rules in the code were not even supported by Church authorities. The ban on racial miscegenation, for instance, is not a Catholic issue, but in fact something pushed by the staunchly anti-Catholic KKK and a number of Protestant groups.
      Also, technically speaking, the Legion's assessment of whether a film was immoral or not was never binding on anyone: it was only advisory. Even Catholics who took the Legion Pledge (which, again, no one was actually required to do, although it was strongly encouraged) only involved a general pledge to avoid morally dangerous films (which Catholics are supposed to do, anyway) and avoid theaters that were in the habit of showing them. There was no mention of adhering to the Legion's assessment of whether a particular film fell into that category.
      But yes, various Church leaders were involved in film censorship and that, by itself, was a good thing. One can take issue with the implementation and many of the specific rules in the Code, but those were as much the fault of the MPPDA/MPAA for resisting a rating system, as anything. The Legion at least assigned ratings on a scale that acknowledged the difference between films appropriate only for adults (perhaps with reservations), and those appropriate for all audiences. The MPAA wouldn't do itself that until 1968."

    • X-Raym
      X-Raym  5 months ago

      Vox Hays isnt mentioned in the video. Too bad, as this code took its name !

    • Marcus Vachon
      Marcus Vachon  5 months ago

      Matt Tobin
      Okay, thank you for the clarification.

  • City of Niles
    City of Niles  2 days ago

    Too bad the Church didn't succeed.

  • B Zandaz
    B Zandaz  2 days ago

    So we’re just going to ignore the fact that that lady jumped out the window to her death and no one tried to stop her.

  • Gonzalo Bernal
    Gonzalo Bernal  10 days ago

    You think it was the church? Lol You Think Public Opinion didn't matter? You think normal senators and congressmen weren't extremely formal? Was only at the Victorian age I mean you think I didn't have anything to do with it?
    lol... you know prohibition was around and you want to blame the Catholic Church? Get the f*** over yourself

  • Ruth Fitzwater
    Ruth Fitzwater  11 days ago

    Thank you, Catholic Church for the best movies ever produced by Hollywood.

  • René Alberto Ortega Minakata

    In Mexico, we still use a movie rating system based on the ABC system.

  • Tippersnore
    Tippersnore  17 days ago +1

    Meanwhile, those "holy" men were blowing the altar boys.

  • Kitty Watson
    Kitty Watson  17 days ago

    But LOOK....Hollywood successfully established this present DEMONIC age anyway!

    TOP ONE BUILDERS  18 days ago

    So when the devil came into the picture, all hell broke loose. And we just take it as it is.

  • Razordreamz
    Razordreamz  23 days ago

    Makes me happy I'm an Atheist.

  • n blagojevic
    n blagojevic  23 days ago

    The I wish we had that today.

  • Lee Jennifer Corlew Ayres

    Hollywood is full of devils. Bring the Catholic Church back and shut Satan's den down!

  • Ben -
    Ben -  27 days ago

    The Catholic church is hypocritical and disgusting.

  • Rahe Salem
    Rahe Salem  1 months ago

    They had control of movies when they needed to control their priest abusing kids! Sickkkk

  • First Last
    First Last  1 months ago

    vaticancatholic dot com for the truth

  • Emanuel Andrade
    Emanuel Andrade  1 months ago

    No wonder why the movies today is all about, sex, violence, blasphemy. Catholics be aware! Watching any media content that promotes blasphemy or any type of sinful activities, it is a SIN. By censoring Hollywood movies, the Church was doing His duty which is to guide the sheep. But if you want to enjoy those pleasures and put your souls in risk, it's up to you! God bless!

  • ADerpyReality
    ADerpyReality  1 months ago

    So the Catholic church knew about and believed about white slavery at the time. Star Trek was the first mixed race kiss.

  • redranger2013
    redranger2013  1 months ago

    What I would like to point out that the Catholic Church didn’t actually do this!!! Catholics back then did this! Not the church if the church did this it would have to go through the pope!

  • The Ugly Dumplings
    The Ugly Dumplings  1 months ago

    Ah Vox, anti-Catholic, as usual.

  • For Him
    For Him  1 months ago

    I love how all the comments call out the discrepancies...haha