Censuring The Censors


Rod W coordinates and maintains these entries. He also maintains The Chopping List, a comprehensive guide to movies which have been censored in Australia.



Into the West

    It has been brought to our attention that there are reports of two small, but significant cuts being made to the US broadcast version of the series for the Region 1 DVD release. There are no obvious cuts or jumps in the narrative of the episodes, so viewers will not realise they are missing anything unless they are specifically looking for it. The producers have given no clear reasoning for the cuts, and speculation has been rife that they were made to make the series more attractive to a classroom audience. Suggestions of revisionist history are rife (somewhat embarassingly for a series that has otherwise genuinely strived for historical accuracy).

    The most significant difference being the use of machine guns during the Wounded Knee Massacre. The original broadcast version depicted the fleeing Natives being cut down by machine gun fire as well as conventional cavalry fire (as is widely recognised as the accurate version of events). Only the regular cavalry fire is visible in the DVD version.

    The second cut was the removal of a Sun Dance performed by Sitting Bull prior to Little Bighorn Massacre. A Sun Dance is a tradional ceremony involving self-mutilation used by men to ellicit visions and prove their manlihood (read more here). This cut beggs the question as to whether it was indeed for the gore depicted, as an earlier episode of the series features a rather graphic depiction of a Sun Dance.

    The Region 4 version appears to be identical to the Region 1 edition in missing these shots. Interestingly, the Australian Foxtel broadcast was identical to the two DVD editions earlier (thanks to a keen reader for confirming this for us).