Going To The Pictures

The cinema and morality

are they safe1

From the early days of cinema and film production right through to today, concerns have always been raised about how what people see on the screen can affect attitudes and behaviors. Moralists and educationalist have put forward many concerns about cinema, the films and their effects.

Many of the moral issues raised came from the glamorization of Hollywood and how its actors and actresses were portrayed both on and off the screen.

The British Board of Film Censors was set up in 1913 as a form of self regulation for the industry and as a way for films to be assessed and given a censorship or category rating.

After a series of scandals in 1930’s Hollywood, coupled with the church and educationalists views on the perils of cinema on society, helped bring about several new codes of conduct for film makers to follow – The Hayes Code was introduced in 1930’s America . The introduction of this and subsequent forms of censorship of film over the years have given way in some cases for a less sensational view of the effects of the cinema.

Film classifications can be seen as an historical and cultural basis for what is going on in society a given point in time. Many films which would have carried an ‘A’ ‘X’ or ‘H’ rating during the 1930′s to the 60′s are often classified as a PG or even U rating today and would be seen as quite tame in content compared to todays films.