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Filmography - Censorship: Home

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of November 2015


Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of November 2015.

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the library catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible.  All DVDs listed below are located in Media Services on the Lower Level of Bender Library.

Censorship Filmography
This filmography includes titles on the topic of censorship as well as movies which at one time or another have run afoul of censorship efforts.


Baby doll. 1956, 1 videodisc (114 min.).  Tennessee Williams film collection. Cotton-mill owner Archie Meighan, married to nineteen-year-old "Baby Doll", looks forward to the day his wife turns twenty and will finally allow him to sleep with her. But he has competition in the form of sly business competitor Silva Vacarro, who covets both Archie's cotton mill AND his young and beautiful wife.  A film that ran into trouble with the Production Code censors for sexual content. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 7752

Barbershop punk net neutrality, media consolidation and you. 2010, 1 videodisc (77 min.). When Robb Topolski set out to share his collection of rare, turn-of-the-century barbershop quartet recordings over the internet, he found his uploads were blocked by his service provider, the nation's largest cable company, Comcast.  From this seemingly innocuous beginning, the surprising events of BARBERSHOP PUNK unfold as Topolski's findings go public, casting him as a wry David against a corporate Goliath in a battle over how the First Amendment should function in the internet age.  Inter-woven with the struggles of the Topolski family are FCC hearings on net neutrality, and discussions with politicians, musicians, critics and open Internet advocates-from the Christian Coalition to NARAL-who are striving to keep the Internet accessible to everyone.  DVD 9245 and Streaming video.

Betty Boop, the definitive collection Pre-code [and] Jazzy guest stars. 2014, 1 videodisc (108 min.).  A collection of fourteen original Betty Boop cartoons. The first seven are films released before the Hays Code was enacted and the final group features performances by Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Rudy Vallee and Ethel Merman.  DVD 6435

The birth of a nation. 1930, 1 online resource (39 min.).  Silent film online. 1930 Re-Release Title Sequence: This is the 1930 re-release title sequence for The Birth of a Nation. Intermission Sequence: This is an intermission sequence from the re-release of the film featuring D.W. Griffith and Walter Huston. New York vs. The Birth of a Nation: The Censor Cuts: This documentary features the archival documents pertaining to the censorship battles over the film's 1922 re-release. Prelude: This is a prelude from the re-release of the film featuring D.W. Griffith and Walter Huston. The Making of The Birth of a Nation: This documentary is about the making of The Birth of a Nation.  Streaming video.;2066536

The birth of a nation. 2005, 1 videodisc (192 min.).  Alpha Video classics. Recounts the events leading up to and immediately fter the Civil War. Ben Cameron, a brave yet disillusioned Confederate soldier, creates a covert group of impassioned Southerners called the Ku Klux Klan as an answer to the supposed problem of the rise and rule of blacks and carpetbaggers. Bent on revenge, Ben leads his KKK followers in a war to suppress the black threat to white society, ultimately restoring "order" to his beloved South.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 640* and Streaming video.;1824754

Bloody cartoons freedom of expression and the clash of cultures. 2007, 1 streaming video file (54 min.).  In 2005, a handful of Danish cartoons sparked a worldwide debate over freedom of expression-and the freedom to express religious outrage. Was a violent Islamic backlash against caricatures of the prophet Mohammed justified? Can democracy and fundamentalism coexist in the global community? This program travels to Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Qatar, and Turkey, as well as to France and Denmark, in search of answers. Viewers will encounter a wide array of perspectives from influential figures-such as Raed Hlayhel, the Danish Imam who moved to Lebanon to spearhead protests; Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi, the al-Jazeera Islamic televangelist who called for a "day of anger" against the cartoons; and leading staff members of newspapers that published them.  Streaming video.

Bloody cartoons Freedom of expression & the clash of cultures. 2007, 1 videodisc (52 min.).  Why democracy? "In 2005, a handful of Danish cartoons sparked a worldwide debate over freedom of expression--and the freedom to express religious outrage. Was a violent Islamic backlash against caricatures of the prophet Mohammed justified? Can democracy and fundamentalism coexist in the global community? This program travels to Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Qatar, and Turkey, as well as to France and Denmark, in search of answers. Viewers will encounter a wide array of perspectives from influential figures, such as Raed Hlayhel,  the Danish Imam who moved to Lebanon to spearhead protests; Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi, the al-Jazeera Islamic televangelist who called for a 'day of anger' against the cartoons; and leading staff members of newspapers that published them."--Container.  DVD 5700

Books under fire. 1982, 1 videodisc (58 min.).  Crisis to crisis with Barbara Jordan: Crisis to crisis. Pivoting on the case of Sheck vs. the Woodland, Me., School Committee, in which several students and parents challenged the schools' banning of Dr. Ronald Glasser's book entitled 365 days, broadens into a national perspective on the increasing incidences of book censorship in U.S. public schools. Includes insights of noted journalist Nat Hentoff and focuses on the censorship efforts of Mel and Norma Gabler in Woodland, Me.  DVD 10733

The celluloid closet. 1996, 1 videodisc (101 min.).  Sony Pictures classics. Assembles footage from over 120 films showing the changing face of cinema homosexuality from cruel stereotypes to covert love to the activist cinema of the 1990s. Many actors, writers and commentators provide anecdotes regarding the history of the role of gay men and lesbians on the silver screen.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 5696

Citizen Kane. 1941, 2 videodiscs (119 min.).  Citizen Kane: The story of Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper tycoon whose life is investigated by a magazine reporter trying to discover the meaning of Kane's dying word: "Rosebud". The battle over Citizen Kane: Examines the lives of William Randolph Hearst, the powerful newspaper magnate, and director/actor, Orson Welles as they clashed over Welles first film: "Citizen Kane". Hearst's reaction upon learning about the film, which portrayed him unfavorably, was to work to suppress it and destroy Welles. Major movie theater chains refused to show "Citizen Kane", and Welles' masterpiece virtually disappeared for almost 25 years. Never again would Orson Welles gain control of a major Hollywood production.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 434

Cleanflix. 2009, 1 videodisc (93 min.).  Dozens of Utah DVD retailers attracted unwanted attention from Hollywood heavyweights when, in the name of conservative family values, they began sanitizing films of sex, nudity, profanity, and violence. Outraged over the unauthorized editing of their work, prominent filmmakers began to speak out, thrusting the two groups into an intense legal, theoretical, and moral battle that would last six years before coming to a shocking conclusion.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10528

Cradle will rock. 1999, 1 videodisc (134 min.).  From high society to life on the streets, Depression-era New York City is brought to vivid life. A time when da Vincis are given to millionaires who help fund the Mussolini war effort and Nelson Rockefeller commissions Mexican artist Diego Rivera to paint the lobby of Rockefeller Center. A time when a young Orson Welles and a troupe of passionate actors risk everything to perform the infamous musical "The Cradle Will Rock." As threats to their freedom and livelihood loom larger, they refuse to give in to censorship. Based on actual events.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 140*

Die Blechtrommel The tin drum. 1979, 2 videodiscs (142 min.).  Criterion Collection: Criterion collection (DVD videodiscs). "Danzig, 1924. Oskar Matzerath is born with an intellect beyond his infancy. As he witnesses the hypocrisy of adulthood and the irresponsibility of society, Oskar rejects both, and, on his third birthday, refuses to grow. Caught in a baffling state of perpetual childhood, Oskar lashes out at all he surveys with piercing screams and frantic poundings on his tin drum, while the unheeding, chaotic world marches onward to the madness and folly of World War II." -- Container.  Includes Banned in Oklahoma, a documentary about a censorship case involving The Tin Drum. DVD 40

Dirty pictures. 2000, 1 videodisc (104 min.).  A Showtime original picture. A Cincinnati museum director goes on trial in 1990 to protect the right of freedom of expression. A dramatized account of the Robert Mapplethorpe show at the Contemporary Art Center. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 9183

Fahrenheit 451. 1966, 1 videodisc (113 min.).  Montag, a regimented fireman in charge of burning the forbidden volumes, meets a revolutionary school teacher who dares to read. Suddenly he finds himself a hunted fugitive, forced to choose not only between two women, but between personal safety and intellectual freedom.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 5837

Forbidden Hollywood collection. 1931-1933. The library owns many titles in this series.
Disc 1-6 DVD 9791-9796
Forbidden Hollywood collection. vol. 1 DVD 2477
Forbidden Hollywood collection. vol. 2 DVD 3965
Forbidden Hollywood collection. vol. 3 DVD 5791-5794

Howl. 2010, 1 videodisc (84 min.).  Allen Ginsberg recounts the road trips, love affairs, and search for personal liberation that led to the most timeless, electrifying, and controversial work of his career. Pushing the limits and challenging the mainstream, the passionate and provocative Howl and its publisher find themselves on trial for obscenity, with prosecutor Ralph McIntosh setting out to have the book banned, while defense attorney Jake Ehrlich fervently argues for freedom of speech and creative expression.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 10417

The interview. 2015, 1 videodisc (approximately 112 min.).  Two amateur TV hosts land an interview with the North Korean dictator Kim Jung-un, and are recruited by the CIA to assassinate him. Threats by online hackers prevented this film from being released initially. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 11865

Julian Assange a modern day hero? : inside the world of Wikileaks. 2011, 1 videodisc (175 min.).  Julian Paul Assange, is an Australian journalist, publisher and Internet activist, who is best known as the spokesperson and editor in chief for WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website. He has lived in several countries and is constantly on the move as he makes irregular public appearances to speak about freedom of the press and censorship. Assange has won three journalism awards for his work with WikiLeaks. However, does one really know who Julian Assange is, or what he stands for.  DVD 8669

Larry Flynt the right to be left alone. 2008, 1 videodisc (74 min.).  A sensational portrait of America's most famous smut peddler and his many First Amendment court battles over the last 30 years.  DVD 9219

Lenny Bruce. 1966, 1 videodisc (60 min.).  Nightclub performance footage of Lenny Bruce.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 6747

Lenny Bruce without tears. 2005, 1 videodisc (70 min.).  Documentary about comedian Lenny Bruce, who died in 1966. In his personal life he was a tortured soul, and his humor was ahead of the times, but his influence was enormous. He attacked hypocrisy, racism, war and organized religion, and was rewarded by being hounded by the police.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 7867

The Man with the Golden Arm. 1955, 1 streaming video file (120 min.).  Based on a novel by Nelson Algren, this classic 1955 film tells of a musician (played by Frank Sinatra) who escapes his heroin addiction in prison only to be dragged back to his old life of drug abuse and unsavory living. The performance is generally considered the highlight of Sinatra's acting career.  Streaming video.

The man with the golden arm. 1955, 1 videodisc (119 min.).  Frank Sinatra collection: Frank Sinatra. The golden years: Frank Sinatra collection (Turner Entertainment Co.): Frank Sinatra. In this Hollywood landmark, Frank Sinatra gives a searing, Oscar-nominated performance as an aspiring drummer struggling to break free of his drug habit.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 11704

Obscene a portrait of Barney Rosset and Grove Press. 2008, 1 videodisc (90 min.).  Chronicles the life and work of Barney Rosset, the influential head of Grove Press and the Evergreen Review, who published such groundbreaking works of fiction as Lady Chatterley's Lover, Naked Lunch, and Tropic of Cancer, while fighting the U.S. government's obscenity laws along the way.  DVD 5707

The outlaw. 1943, 2 videodiscs (118 min.).  Hollywood classics. "Notorious western tells the tale of Billy the Kid and the sexy dame (Jane Russell) who loves him.".  This film ran up against Production Code censors. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 8834

The paper. 2007, 1 videodisc (78 min.).  By chronicling for a year the publication of Penn State University's Daily Collegian--one of the nation's leading student newspapers, with a 200-person staff and a circulation rivaling that of many small-town newspaper--this documentary reveals the many challenges and issues with which young journalists must contend. These range from ethical considerations, sensitizing reporters and editors to diversity issues, and dealing with circulation woes, to struggling for access to news sources and, above all, trying to determine whether they should be informing or entertaining their readers. Explores the media from the fresh perspective of tomorrow's journalists. But the young reporters' dilemmas and decisions raise complicated questions about the role of the press in society.  DVD 6557

Penn & Teller Bullshit! 2004, 1 videodisc (ca. 120 min.).  Each of these episodes includes interviews and undercover segments intertwined with Penn & Teller's comedy. Second season Disc 2 has a segment on profanity. DVD 2735

The people vs. Larry Flynt. 2003, 1 videodisc (130 min.).  Notorious "Hustler" publisher who was sued by the religious Right and paralyzed by a fanatic's bullet. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 2211*

Pink flamingos. 1972, 1 videodisc (108 min.).  This underground epic, which breaks every rule of good filmmaking and good taste, set a benchmark for the bizarre that has never been equaled. Babs Johnson, a trailer park bon vivant proudly claims the title of the filthiest person alive. The envy of every neighborhood degenerate, it isn't long before another couple set their sites on Divine's legacy, and in the proud American tradition, competition forces each contender to outdo the other.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 2951-2958

Pinky. 1949, 1 videodisc (101 min.).  The film, itself the subject of a Supreme Court film censorship case, concerns the fate of a mulatto nurse who passes for white and becomes engaged to a white man in Boston. When she returns to Mississippi, however, she is subjected to race discrimination and to a court challenge to her inheritance of property from her employer. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 7745

Pre-Code Hollywood collection. 1932. The library owns many titles in this series.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 6131 - 6133

Rachel. 2008, 1 videodisc (100 min.).  "A startlingly rigorous, fascinating and deeply moving investigatory documentary that examines the death of peace activist and International Solidarity Movement member Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in 2003"--Container. The film caused a ruckus at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. DVD 9237

Red Hollywood. 1995, 1 videodisc (112 min.).  A compilation of clips from over 50 Hollywood films by blacklisted screenwriters & directors, with expert commentary and other period footage. The film includes clips of many films that drew the attention of Hollywood censors because of their social commentary. DVD 3398

The Richard Pryor show. 1977, 3 videodiscs (246 min.).  The only four episodes of Richard Pryor's short-lived television show from 1977, plus additional outtakes and footage that network censors would not allow to appear on television.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 8060

RKO 281 The battle over Citizen Kane. 2000, 1 videodisc (87 min.).  The battle between Orson Welles and Wm. Randolf Hearst over Citizen Kane is the stuff of legend, rich with tales of sexual blackmail, money and threats behind closed doors.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 3547

Save and burn. 2004, 1 online resource (81 min.).  Filmakers library online. Save and Burn builds from The Library in Crisis by deepening an understanding of the history of civilization through the phenomenon of the library. From ancient China, India, Islam, and the Graeco Roman world, we see how the library radiated knowledge and spiritual values, and facilitated the cross fertilization of ideas from one culture to another. Save and Burn puts the institution of the library within a startling political context. Generally considered a preserver of culture, the documentary points out how libraries are subject to the ideologies of their time and place, and not above them, as may have been assumed. The film assays the commercialization of libraries, the irresponsible weeding and closing of libraries, the excesses of copyright law, but most of all, the fact that the West has not recognized the Orient for much of its cultural heritage. The film is packed with provocative ideas. Historically, libraries have been used to promote or inhibit democratic debate, with a nod to the Patriot Act. The filmmaker combines exquisite footage of the Alexandrian Library, the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, and Bromley House in Nottingham. Interviews include Tom Twiss, Government Information Librarian, University of Pittsburgh, who describes the destruction of Palestinian libraries by Israeli soldiers, as well as the fate of Iraqi libraries during the "liberation.".  Streaming video.;1650480

Save and burn. 2004, 1 videodisc (80 min.).  The first half of the film discusses the history of libraries and how they have facilitated the cross fertilization of ideas from one culture to another throughout history. The second half switches focus towards libraries in the political realm, including a discussion of the fate of libraries and their collections during periods of social unrest. Topics in this portion include the Patriot Act, the destruction of Palestinian libraries by Israeli soldiers, and the fate of Iraqi libraries during the country's "liberation". DVD 1608

Seventeen. 1985, 1 videodisc (120 min.).  Middletown. Originally part of a documentary series updating the seminal sociological study "Middletown", by Robert and Helen Lynd, this riveting documentary records the senior year of Lynn, a white high school senior [in Muncie, Indiana] who becomes the object of neighborhood racism when she dates a black student. Never aired on PBS because of its explosive, graphic content, the film candidly uncovers the turmoil brewing beneath a seemingly placid working-class community: reckless parties, drugs, interracial relationships and tensions, apathy in the classroom and teenage pregnancy. Although it deals with life in a Midwestern town the elements depicted in the film could be said to be typical of many communities across America. Banned by from airing on some PBS affiliates for its depiction of an interracial teenage couple. DVD 7714

Smothered the censorship struggles of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. 2002, 1 videodisc (92 min.).  Clips from "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" featuring Tom and Dick Smothers and numerous celebrity performers.  This documentary also includes the story behind the show and its place in television history.  There are also interviews with the Smothers Brothers themselves, along with other celebrity writers, network honchos, and performers. DVD 812

The Smothers Brothers comedy hour the best of season 3. 1968-1969, 4 videodiscs (804 min.). Presents many segments from the series censored by CBS and never seen on network TV.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 5071

The Tarzan collection. 1932-1939, 4 videodiscs (527 min.).  Includes: Tarzan, The Ape Man (1932), Tarzan escapes (1936), Tarzan's secret treasure, Tarzan's New York adventure, Tarzan and his mate (1934), Tarzan finds a son (1939) and a documentary.  Of interest is the Production Code’s impact on Jane’s wardrobe from Tarzan and his mate to Tarzan finds a son.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 4161

United States v. American Library Association the Internet filtering case. 2010, 1 videodisc (29 min.).  First amendment in the 21st century: First amendment in the 21st century. "Even though the text of the First Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech," it has long been established that there are certain categories of expression that did not receive First Amendment protection. One of those well-established exceptions is obscenity. In particular, the government has a compelling interest in protecting minors from obscene and harmful material. In United States v. American Library Association this interest came into conflict with the library as a public forum and its First Amendment protection of speech." --from container.  DVD 10624

We steal secrets the story of Wikileaks. 2011, 1 videodisc (ca. 130 min.).  A gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller, about Julian Assange and the creation of Wikileaks, the controversial website that facilitated the largest security breach in the U.S. history. Paralleling Assange's rise and fall with that of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the troubled young soldier who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents, and multi-layered expose about transparency in the information age and our ever-elusive search for the truth.  HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 3918

Why be good? Sexuality & censorship in early cinema. 2008, 1 videodisc (70 min.).  Explores the history of sex and scandal of early Hollywood through rare footage, interviews, and more. Includes Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, Douglas Fairbanks, and Rudolph Valentino, to name a few.  DVD 6068