The first Hollywood movie to use a swear word

The word in Margaret Mitchell’s novel is “damn”, not “dam”. And “damn” was one of the words specifically proscribed by the Motion Picture Production Code. Producer David Selznick, with dictionary in hand, was able to convince the Production Code Office that “damn” was only a vulgarism, not an obscenity, and he was allowed to keep it after paying an obligatory fine.

He’s lucky he wasn’t dealing with my MOM in the early 1940’s! :eek:

I could be wrong because I haven’t seen the film in years, but didn’t Dustin Hoffman say “fuck” or a derivative of it in Midnight Cowboy, in 1969?

It’s Morse code. He’s saying “DO!”

Homer Simpson, of course, would later popularize his own interpretation.

Gotta love the OED… (“The utterance of the word ‘damn’ as a profane imprecation.” Ah… the profane imprecation…)

The etymology section says that there were rumors that it came from the Hindi dam, meaning a small copper coin (I assume like a penny or as), which are “ingenious, but [have] no basis in fact.” No mention of tinkers, but the idea of it coming from something worthless is there, but apparently is just a folk etymology. (It’s interesting that the worthless bit of metal has changed between the ninteenth and twentieth centuries, no?)

This usage is apparently pretty old, witness “[n]ot that I care three damns what figure I may cut” in 1760 (From Goldsmith’s Cit. W., the bibliography isn’t online) and “[a] wrong system…not worth a damn” in Byron’s Diary (1817).

My personal favorite is from what is apparently a journal called Eugenics Review from 1929: See the happy moron, He doesn’t give a damn. I wish I were a moron. My God! Perhaps I am!

It reminds me a bit of Anthony deMello’s “you’re an ass” bit, but I may just being perverse.


Damn, wrong about the F___ and wrong about dam/damn. :o Time to hot tub.

It’s not a “Hollywood” film (directed probably in NY or NJ), but my vote goes for the short and snappy The Whole Damm Family and the Damm Dog (1905).

In The Graduate (1967), when Benjamin is pounding on the window in the church to disrupt the wedding, Mrs. Robinson glares up at him and shouts, “What the fuck are you doing?!” which we can only lip-read through the glass as the camera zooms in on her.

Wow. What an interesting discussion that has originated with my little old question.

I remember that scene from “The Graduate” Walloon, though I always use to thought it was just me and my dirty mind and not what she actually said. Heh. :wink:

The first move to have a swear word in it was Gone With The Wind. Rhett Butler "Frankly Scarlet I don’t give a damn. There ya go

Did you read any of the other posts in the nine-year-old thread you revived?

Thirty years later when Planet of the Apes came out Fox thwarted MPAA censorship by arguing that Taylor’s infamous final line, "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell! ", was him asking God to damn the apes to Hell and not using the Lord’s name in vain. Even today TV shows will bleep out the God part of “God damn”.

Since this old thread was answered quite well years ago, I’m closing it.

samclem moderator