Lights, Camera, Action!

How Hollywood Avoided Eternal Federal Censorship

  • Renée Nakkab Brandeis University
Keywords: Legal history, American film industry, Censorship


This article captures the legal history of censorship in film. In an effort to prevent an American governmental body from regulating the movie industry, Hollywood created their own agencies to police film production companies. While this moral and ethical policing may be considered censorship, this article will explain why the industry’s approach made perfect sense. Although production companies had to abide by a code, it was only for America’s three most modest decades in the 1900s. If the government created legislation about film content requirements, it would be an incredibly difficult process to modernize the requirements with the times. This article will explain how the movie industry’s censorship evolved from the production code to the rating system, ultimately proving that America is better off for Hollywood’s creation of malleable content expectations.

Author Biography

Renée Nakkab, Brandeis University

Undergraduate at Brandeis University Class of 2022

Brandeis University Law Journal Spring 2021 Cover