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U.S. Film and Television Censorship History

An introductory guide for researchers studying film and television censorship history in the United States, including books, articles, archives, and online resources.


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Diana King

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Black and White film grab with the Production Code Seal of Approval

Production Code Administration Seal (1934)

Film Still from The World Moves On (dir. John Ford, 1934) which was the first Hollywood film to receive the Production Code Administration (PCA) Seal of Approval. 

Image from The Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center

Color Lobby Card of Barbara Stanywck and Douglass Dumbrille looking at each other.

Lobby Card for Baby Face (dir. Alfred E. Green, 1933)

Baby Face (1933) was a Pre-Code film that sparked controversy and led to a stricter enforcement of the Production Code. 

Image from IMDB. 

Promotional Poster with Jack Johnson and James Jeffries in a boxing ring.

Promotional Poster for the Johnson Vs. Jeffries Boxing Fight (1910)

The popularity of the Johnson vs. Jeffries Boxing Fight (1910) was one of the precursors to the Prizefighting Film Ban, one of the earliest instances of widespread film censorship in the United States. 

Via IMDb 

Welcome and Introduction

This guide was created in 2023-2024 by UCLA Arts Library Research Assistant Diana Cardenas, in collaboration with Diana King. It explores resources on censorship within the United States, particularly with an emphasis on self-regulation in the motion picture and television industries. 

Here are some additional resources to understand censorship as it pertains to motion pictures:

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