The first Hollywood movie to use a swear word

I did a search of the past threads, but couldn’t find anything.

But I am curious if anybody knows what was the first Hollywood movie where a character uttered a swear word?

I have heard to conflicting stories that it was either “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woof” (1966) or “MAS*H” (1970), but I don’t know either way since I have yet to see either one.

Does anybody know?

I can say for sure that it was not in 1970, thats unreasonably late.

Gone with the Wind, made in 1939, beats them both by ages, but I’m not certain if it’s the earliest or not.

Before the Production Code went into effect in 1934, several early sound films had swearing, such as “Hell’s Angels”.

“Damn” and “Hell” date well back into the silent era.

I think this is refearing to the first movie to say “fuck” in it. I believe that the backround on the movie in the MAS*H DVD claimed that it was, and the IMDB site kind of backs it up IMDB (about half way down) but take it with a grain of salt.

John Gilbert, via intertitle, shouted “goddamn it” and “b------s!” (sic) during the heat of the battle in the hugely successful The Big Parade (1925).

In the closing line of the exotic The Green Goddess (1930), George Arliss, as a Asian tyrant, dismisses a woman who escaped his clutches with the comment, “She probably would have been a damned nuisance, anyway.”

Another World War I epic, Hell’s Angels (1930), really let it rip: you could hear “It’s me, goddamit”, “What the hell”, “For Chrissake”, “Jesus!”, and “That son-of-a-bitch!” amid the aerial dogfights.

Even after the Motion Picture Production Code began to be enforced in 1934, there were pre-Gone With the Wind uses of “damn”, including Katharine Hepburn quoting Lady Macbeth’s “Out, damned spot” in Holiday (1938). The earliest Code-era “goddamn it” I know of was from Don Murray in Bus Stop (1956).

Scott Wilson was the first to say “shit” in an American feature, as one of the murderers in In Cold Blood (1967).

Glorifying the American Girl (1929) has a comedy sketch with Eddie Cantor and Louis Sorin as a pair of kvetching Jewish tailors: “Vat’s der idea uff calling me a damn fool in front uff der customers?” “So, it’s a secret?”

The first mainstream movies to use the word “fuck” were Ulysses and I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname, both from 1967, Ulysses was released first though.

The first major Hollywood film to use “bullshit” was Bullitt in 1968.

Coincidentally, I’ve been trying to find the first mainstream American movie to feature the most taboo word of all - “cunt”. I know it was in Boys In The Band from 1970, but I think there may be an earlier instance.

…heh…and you what, lip read those words?

Rip Torn in The Cincinnati Kid (1965): “Yes, for my kind of money, gut money. I wanta to see that smug old bastard gutted. Gutted!”

Actually, there are supposedly several cases from the silent era where lip-readers did complain about swearing in the dialogue.
In this vein, there’s a scene between Edmund Lowe and Victor McLaglen in What Price Glory (1926) that reputedly caused problems, as did some of Gloria Swanson’s language in Sadie Thompson (1928). Similarly, there’s the case of Douglas Fairbanks and the dirty joke in The Habit of Happiness (1916).

The links are to the relevant entries in the IMDb, but I suspect they’ve just lifted the information from older film books that have repeated these stories. For instance, I just culled these examples from the old Guinness Book of Film Facts & Feats (Guinness, 1980) by Patrick Robertson. Whether the stories are actually true or not, I don’t know.

I think it was clark gable,for saying “d----”
fined $500.00 I believe

rich in seattle

I don’t know the name of the film, and I haven’t the time at the moment to dig through the necessary imdb entries, but supposedly (I say this because I read it in an issue of Entertainment Weekly) there was a movie starring Jack Nicholson made in the 1960s or so, where he played an MP escorting a rather naive sailor to prison. In the course of the film, Nicholson and the other MP takes a liking to the sailor and proceed to show him the wilder side of life before they take him to prison. According to the EW, the movie was rife with profanity and was what led to the whole movie rating system.

The film you’re talking about is The Last Detail.

rdky1997, did you read any of the posts before yours?

Tuckerfan, the Motion Picture Association of America instituted the movie ratings system in November 1968 (G, M, R, and X). The Last Detail was released in 1973.

Yeah, I figured that EW was wrong.

I think Barbra Striesand was the first “big” movie star to say the F word in a mainstream movie “The Owl and the Pussycat” 1970.

And for what it’s worth I don’t think that the infamous dam in “Gone with the Wind” was actually swearing. I have always understood the phrase “I don’t give a dam” was a reference to a tinker’s dam which is a small relatively worthless blob of metal. But I could be wrong, dopers correct me at will.

Yes. As well as read the intertitles.
I’m thinking that there was a “hell” in Intolerance (1916).

How do you pronounce the hyphens?