How the Hays Code censored Hollywood
Looking at the Motion Picture Production Code, and why it ultimately failed
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Hollywood filmmaking was once governed by the Motion Picture Production Code, a far-reaching set of moral guidelines that was applied to most American motion pictures released from 1934 to 1968.
Also known as the Hays Code, the guidelines spelled out what was acceptable and what was unacceptable content for motion pictures produced for a public audience in the United States. Many movies fell victim to this rigid code, and censorship was rife. But the initiative ultimately failed, weakened over time by a change in moral attitudes, the advent of television, the influence of foreign films, and by stubborn directors pushing creative boundaries.
Browse this gallery and find out more about this notorious gagging order, and how some filmmakers became code-breakers.
MOVIES Then and now