Edited for television: Best and worst

[sub]and here’s hoping this hasn’t been asked before…[/sub]

What, in your opinion, have been the most memorable things censors have changed when movies are aired on the small screen? I always try to remember what swear words came where, to see what they’ll do to them on television. For instance:

In Lethal Weapon, Danny Glover’s signature line was, “I’m getting too old for this shit!” I wondered what they’d do to that, and the answer was, they simply dropped off the “shit”. An elegant enough solution.

RoboCop had a perp holding up a corner store. When RoboCop, imperturbable in the face of a salvo of machine-gun fire, came after this guy, he was shouting, “FUCK ME! FUCK ME! FUCK ME!” In the TV version it was, hilariously, “WHY ME? WHY ME? WHY ME?”

I couldn’t wait to see Die Hard 3 televised. If you remember, Bruce Willis had to stand in the middle of Harlem wearing a sign that said, “I HATE NIGGERS”. I thought they might not show the sign at all, but lo! technology to the rescue. It now read, “I HATE EVERYBODY”!
“A misanthropist! Get him!”

Any others?

The worst hatchet job I’ve seen on a movie on network TV waswhen John Carpenter’s version of “The Thing” ran on (I believe) CBS. The editors had a field day! The movie was chopped up and re-arranged, with scenes from the beginning showing up at the end. They cut out almost EVERY SINGLE SHOT of the alien, except for a few brief clips and the lingering shot at the end. I can understand cutting things out if they are violent, gory, or suggestive, but The Thing was none of these – it was just gross. I think this is the first time that TV cut something out simply because they didn’t like the way it looked.

When The Thing was later aired on secondary networks it was aired almost as in the theaters, with maybe a little bit of violence cut. Oddly enough when it ran on those networks they actually ADDED some shots that had been cut from the original.

Nevertheless, the original airing on CBS was the most radical I’ve ever seen (even more so than the re-editing of DUNE for broadcast). They changed the story and the ending.

We were watching Lethal Weapon II on TNT (I think) Sunday night, and they changed “Yippee-kai-aye, motherfucker!” to “Yippee-kai-aye, Mr. Falcon


WGN had a print of Blazing Saddles that I swear had every single joke cut. It became a drama about race relations. In the campfire scene the cowboys stood up and the fire blazed, but the fart noises were cut.

The irony was that they kept broadcasting that version after uncut reruns of sitcoms like Night Court and Cheers, shows not known for their good taste.

Rosebud, you’re thinking of anyone of the Die Hard trilogy, not Lethal Weapon.

The one that sticks out in my mind for some reason is in Smokey and the Bandit. There were many, but the most memorable is Buford’s “Sumbitch” changed to “Scum-bum” in a voice that sounded nothing like Jackie Gleason.

Ha! There I was trying to make sure I got the sequel number right, and I screw up the actual title!

Sheesh… thanks, Jack :slight_smile:

One weird one I saw last night was Dirty Dancing. They cut out the scene when Baby and Johnny are in the lake practicing the lift. HUH?

Wanna see a chopped up movie? Watch when they show Basic Instinct?

“Body Heat” - obviously they cut out all the sweaty sex, but they also cut a couple of key scenes towards the end that let you know what the hell was going on. SPOILER ALERT: Specifically, they cut the scene where Mickey Rourke’s character tells Ned (William Hurt) that Matty (Kathleen Turner) came to see him about making a bomb, and they cut the scene where Ned runs into his lawyer friend in the bar who tells him he gave Matty his name, making it obvious she’d planned everything from day one.

The USA network cut all the drug references out of “Dazed and Confused.” There wasn’t anything worth watching left, really. That whole movie WAS drug references! Oy vey.

Before it even got to TV, “Galaxy Quest” edited Sigourney Weaver saying “Fuck this!” to “Screw this!” when they were about to go through the chompers. But it’s so obvious that she’s saying “Fuck…”

If you notice next time Blazing Saddles comes on, watch for this line:

Bart: “Good mornin’ ma’am. And isn’t it a lo-ovely mornin’?”
Old Lady: “Up yours, Nigger!”

(edited for TV)
Bart: “Good mornin’ ma’am. And isn’t it a lo-ovely mornin’?”
Old Lady: “Get lost, Nigger!”

Apparently, “Up yours” is offensive, while “nigger” is just fine. :rolleyes:

my favorite would have to be the job they did on “Do the Right Thing.”

not that i know what they could have done with 137 uses of the word “motherfucker,” but these substitutes were strange:


and the all-time best:

“D, micky-ficky, D!!”

When Midnight Cowboy was first shown on network TV (some years ago), so much was cut out that the critics called it “11:35 Cowboy.”

The edited-for-TV version of Porky’s is a lot more of a hoot than the original, especially the shower scene where the girls are wearing swimsuits. I mean, couldn’t they have just cut that scene entirely?

Then again, if they had cut out all the adolescent sex references, the movie would be about 15 minutes long.

Can anyone confirm the stories i’ve heard about some network actually trying to show Clerks?

“37! My girlfriend kissed 37 guys!”

In the action/cop movie “Nighthawks,” there’s a scene in which terrorist Rutger Hauer has taken a bunch of hostages on a cablecar, and is talking on the radio to a police negotiator played by Billy Dee Williams. Hauer has a grudge against a cop played by Sylvester Stallone. The actual dialogue goes:

Hauer: “I want that BASTARD!”

Williams: “What bastard?”

Stallone: (Deadpan) “Me.”

On television, it was absolutely (and, I think, unintentionally) hilarious. It was changed to

Hauer: “I want that <buzzard>.” (it sounded like the voice of the guy who used to say “butter” in the old PArkay margarine commercials).

Williams: “What <buzzard>?” (Again, sounding like the “butter” guy from Parkay commericals.)

Stallone: “Me.”

Animal House usually gets butchered. However, the local FOX affiliate, before FOX even existed and they were just a new independent, showed the movie with NO editing.

10 was a good example (the earliest?) of a director shooting made-for-TV scenes to replace the naughty bits.

The police line-up scene from The Usual Suspects:

“Give me the keys, you fucking cocksucker”
“Give me the keys, you fairy godmother!”

I think it was Pulp Fiction in which “motherfucker” became “melon farmer”.

My favorite cut is from Animal House.

  • Spoiler Alert * (Though if you haven’t seen the movie by now, it probably won’t spoil much)

At the end of the movie, when the Deltas have destroyed the reviewing stand for the dignataries watching the Homecoming parade, Mrs. Wormer (from the ruins) says to the Mayor:

{original) “You can take your thumb out of my ass any time now, Carmine.”

(TV edit) “You can move your hand any time now, Carmine.”


Over here in the UK they are not too bad for editing films, it depends on what time they are shown. After the “watershed” (9pm) most swearing gets through,and violence, sex, nudity. they tend to cut little bits out, but not so much as to damamge the whole story.

There was one bit in True Lies where they cut quite a bit out of a fight scene. One moment there were loads of guys around, then he beats two up and the rest are suddenly sprawled all over the floor.

One thing that does pis me off though is the way they edit tv shows. The put them on at times which are not suited to the show’s content, then proceed to rip them to bits. The main one is Angel, which is shown at 6pm, waaay to early, IMHO. More shots of people just miraculously falling over unconscious.