In 1966, mostly as a response to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Jack Valenti, President of the Motion Picture Association of America at the time, helped institute a movie rating system to warn those viewers who might find certain content of a movie to be inappropriate. Most people are familiar with the decades-old rating system – “G” means the film is safe for general audiences, while “R” is reserved for films restricted to the under-eighteen crowd.
Many R-rated films make their way to network or basic cable TV, but not without first being heavily edited for content. Movies such as The Departed, Commando, Die Hard and Snakes on a Plane have so much cursing in them that the overdubs of the curse words make the movie unintentionally hilarious – but the edits don’t stop there. Many scenes of nudity, sex, drug use, and violence are simply cut from the film, often leaving out important information that interrupts the flow of the story.
However, there are certain times when cutting whole scenes from a film to make it “family-friendly” just isn’t possible. That’s when SFX wizards work their magic by adding props and changing graphics that, while bringing the film up to broadcasting standards, make those edited scenes pretty funny to watch. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most Hilarious Visual TV Edits of R-Rated Movies we could find.
NOTE: The scenes in this list are strictly graphic edits and not dialog overdubs like “Yippie Ki-yay Mister Falcon” (Die Hard 2) or “I’ve had it with these monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday to Friday plane!” (Snakes on a Plane)
“Party Wagon” – Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
Even though Quentin Tarantino doesn’t include much nudity in his films, having to edit one of his films for a television broadcast (even on cable) has to be one nightmarish chore for the person doing the work. The director is known for his liberal use of curse words and his revenge flick Kill Bill Vol. 1 is no different. The TV version of the film had plenty of cursing removed and needed one special graphic change for a now-iconic movie prop.
In the scene where the Bride (Uma Thurman) is being sexually assaulted by a hospital orderly named Buck, she quickly dispatches the would-be rapist, changes her clothes, grabs a set of keys from his pockets and searches the parking garage for his vehicle – that’s where the funny graphic appears. In the theatrical version of the movie, the tailgate says “P*SSY WAGON” but the censors had it changed to “PARTY WAGON,” even though the license plate remains unchanged.
“Kitty Twister” – From Dusk Till Dawn (1995)
With From Dusk Till Dawn, director Robert Rodriguez created a fun, over-the-top vampire flick with equally fun performances and many noteworthy scenes. The Gecko Brothers, Seth (George Clooney) and Richard (Quentin Tarantino), are dangerous bank-robbing killers on the run from the law in south Texas. Needing to get across the border into Mexico, they enlist the “help” of a family on vacation (read: they kidnap ’em).
They’re supposed to meet their contact, Carlos (Cheech Marin), at a sleazy, out-of-the-way strip club for truck drivers called the Titty Twister. In the theatrical version of the film, there’s a big neon sign reading “Titty Twister” complete with a large breasted neon woman having her nipple…ehem…twisted. However, the censors took exception to the name, so for TV version of the film the word “Titty” was changed to “Kitty,” but the act of neon nipple-twisting was left unchanged.
“Digital Bra” – Showgirls (1995)
Elizabeth Berkley wanted to break out of the good girl persona she acquired as Jessie Spano on Saved by the Bell by starring in something that would make people take her more serious as an actress. Unfortunately for her career, she chose Showgirls to be that project. Sometimes, a movie is so terrible it manages to fall into the “it’s so bad, it’s good” category – Showgirls is not one of those films. The cursing in the film isn’t absurdly abundant, but since Berkley’s character becomes a stripper in Las Vegas, there is nudity in just about every scene.
After first glance, it would appear Showgirls could have never made it to air, because Nomi’s (Elizabeth Berkley) and Cristal’s (Gina Gershon) breasts are on display for a large chunk of the running time. However, someone at VH-1 had the (not so) brilliant idea to make the the movie broadcast-friendly – adding what look like Microsoft Paint bras to all of the exposed breasts in the film. The strange effect turned what was already a bad film into a hilariously bad film. You can find clips of all the awful edits – HERE.
“Added Bra and Panties” – Diamonds are Forever (1971)
British superspy James Bond has been charming women out of their clothes ever since his big screen debut in 1962. Agent 007 is known for his super sleuthing, fast cars, impeccable suits, fancy gadgets and of course, bedding just about every woman he comes across. The movies, while risque, rarely show any nudity outside of a bare bottom or implied toplessness. Innuendos and double entendres are bountiful in the films – Pussy Galore, Xenia Onatopp, Holly Goodhead – but the cursing is typically light.
So why did ABC feel it was necessary to digitally alter character Plenty O’Toole’s (Lana Wood) attire in the 2002 TV version of Diamonds are Forever? Answer: They thought showing her bare back and panties would be too risque for some viewers. This is the same network that routinely showed Dennis Franz’s backside in NYPD Blue and airs the Victoria’s Secret Lingerie Fashion Show – so their reasoning is puzzling. For the scene where O’Toole is accosted by three bad guys, the network digitally added a black bra and gave her matching black panties.
“Plum across my forehead” – Crank (2006)
While directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor caught some critical heat for films such as, Jonah Hex and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, they found some success with Crank. Starring Jason Statham as professional hitman Chev Chelios, Crank is a ridiculously fun movie that never, at any point, takes itself too seriously. The movie is filled from beginning to end with gratuitous violence, sex and a hefty amount of cursing
In one scene, Chelios asks someone “Do I have the word c*nt written across my forehead?”, then, true to the movie’s anything-goes spirit, actually shows the word “C*NT” in scribbled across his forehead. Clearly, what is arguably the harshest of all curse words can’t be said, or even shown, on television, so the censors replaced it with “PLUM,” both when it comes out of the characters mouth, and when’s plastered on his big head. Why did they chose “plum” over the word “dumb”? Who knows, but it certainly makes for a hilarious visual element in the TV version of the movie.
“I hate everybody” – Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
The Die Hard franchise undeniably turned Bruce Willis from a comedic actor into an action star during the late-eighties. As detective John McClane, Willis thwarted the plans (and killed) many would-be villains, including Hans Gruber in the first Die Hard movie. In Die Hard with a Vengeance, McClane crosses paths with Hans’ brother, Simon Gruber, who makes John and the rest of police force think he simply wants revenge on the disgraced officer for killing his brother.
One of the revenge tasks Simon gives McClane to complete or “he’ll blow up the city” is to stand on the corner of a Harlem street in direct view of a group of African-American men, while wearing a sandwich board with a racist message on it that uses the “N” word. Obviously, there is a stigma associated with the “N” word, so for the TV edit version of the film, the words were changed to “I Hate Everybody” – or were they? Rumor has it, that producers actually had the sign read “Everybody” while filming the movie and altered it in post-production for the theatrical release and not the other way around.
“Extra people at the orgy” – Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Eyes Wide Shut made headlines for a few notable reasons: It starred (then) married couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, it was Kidman’s first time being nude on screen, and director Stanley Kubrick died shortly before the film was released in theaters. The erotic thriller centers around the sexual exploits of Dr. Bill Harford (Cruise) and his wife Alice (Kidman). Many scenes feature gratuitous nudity, but it’s the orgy scene at the mansion that usually gets all the attention.
Unlike other scenes on this list (which were edited for television in the usual manner), Kubrick had to digitally alter his final cut by blocking the most explicit material with addition, clothed people at the orgy before the MPAA would lower their rating from an “NC-17” (usually a box office death sentence to movies) to a “R” to even get it into theaters. However, while the unaltered version was released on DVD, the altered version aired on Australia’s Ten Network with additional blurring and edits. You can see all the differences between the altered scenes – HERE – but be warned, they are extremely NSFW.
“Non-nude skinny dipping” – Doc Hollywood (1991)
Doc Hollywood isn’t one of those films people immediately think of when discussing movies that should be edited for general television audiences. That’s because Doc Hollywood has the unique distinction of being the only PG-13 film on our list. While the film about a Hollywood doctor being forced to do community service in a small town takes a generally light-hearted, comedic tone (like most of Michael J. Fox’s movies), it also features a very topless Julie Warner during one specific skinny-dipping scene.
Instead of simply cutting the entire scene, which is typically how this of nudity scene is handled, the network chose instead to remove Warner’s breasts with panning and zooming techniques. The results are a digital, slightly pixelated mess that surely frustrated every teen boy hoping to catch a glance of Ms. Warner’s assets. However, thanks to the internet, the NSFW version can be found – HERE – and the full edited sequence can be found – HERE.
“The wicker chair” – Two Moon Junction (1988)
Chances are you’ve never heard of the erotic drama Two Moon Junction or its lead actress Sherilyn Fenn – though you’ve heard of Milla Jovovich, who made her debut playing Fenn’s onscreen sister. The movie is essentially a softcore porno trying to be 9 1/2 Weeks but unlike the Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke sex-romp, Two Moon Junction failed to find any sort of critical or financial success. April (Fenn) is a married, uptight Southern Belle who falls in lust with a Perry (Richard Tyson), a carnival hunk who has a hard time finding a shirt to wear for 90 percent of his screen time.
The two strike up an affair and of course that includes ample amount of nudity, including a full frontal nude scene of Fenn. How anyone thought this movie would be OK for a regular TV broadcast is baffling but not as strange as how they decided to cover up Ms. Fenn’s womanhood. During the scene in question, a wicker chair was strategically placed in post to cover her in all the right (or wrong) places. Since this movie aired in the early-nineties, finding the exact edited version is near impossible but you can read about Trespass Magazine’s Brad Hills’ experience with the movie – HERE. Or you can watch the EXTREMELY NSFW clip – HERE.
“Give you a flipper” – The Matrix (1999)
The Wachowski’s sci-fi movie set in a dystopian future, The Matrix, is highly regarded as their best film to date. The 1999 movie is often quoted by characters in other films and TV shows – “There is no spoon” – and many scenes remain relevant in pop culture today, with Laurence Fishburne reviving his character Morpheus for a Kia car commercial as recently as the 2014 Super Bowl. The R-rated movie contained no nudity to speak of, but was filled with lots of violence and plenty of cursing.
There were plenty of funny overdubs made to the movie’s dialog, allowing it to be broadcast friendly, but none were as humorous as the interrogation scene. During this particular scene, Thomas Anderson/Neo (Keanu Reeves) is being questioned by Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) about his involvement with a group of hackers. At one point Anderson answers Smith’s question by saying “How about I give you a flipper” (apparently “finger” is a no-no word now), then proceeds to show him a fist which, thanks to horrible digital manipulation, resembles a flipper.
“(No) middle fingers” – 8 Mile (2002)
By the early 2000s, rapper Eminem was having a great musical career, so it wasn’t shocking that he would delve into the movie market. The story for 8 Mile is loosely based on the rapper’s real life growing up in the lower income section of Detroit and is considered to be one of the best rap-based movies ever made. “Lose Yourself” even managed to secure Eminem an Oscar that year for Best Original Song. When the movie first aired on MTV, there was plenty of cursing edited out the TV version.
The movie isn’t on this list simply because it blurs out the middle finger while a character is flipping someone off, but for the sheer number of times the action is performed on screen. The use of middle finger to show disrespect (or even endearment) to another character is thrown around more liberally than curse words in a Quentin Tarantino film but because of all the blurring, characters appears as if they’re just showing everyone a weird fist pump motion.
As long as viewers continue to want to watch Rated R films on television you can be sure the networks will find ridiculous ways to remove, hide, or change everything about those movies that viewers could find offensive. That means there will surely be more entries to add to this list in the future.
What are some crazy TV edits of Rated R movies that you remember watching? Share them with us in the comments below.