Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a 1966 film adaptation of the play of the same name by Edward Albee. It was directed by Mike Nichols and starred Elizabeth Taylor as Martha and Richard Burton as George. When the film was ready for release, the MPAA wanted to censor the film's explicit language but a compromise was negotiated: The word "screw" was removed, but other language remained, including the phrase "hump the hostess." The film received Production Code approval despite this prohibited language.

Censorship controversy

The film was considered groundbreaking for having a level of profanity and sexual implication unheard of at that time. Jack Valenti, who had just become president of the Motion Picture Association of America in 1966, had abolished the old Production Code. In order for the film to be released with MPAA approval, Warner Bros. agreed to minor deletions of certain profanities and to have a special warning placed on all advertisements for the film, indicating adult content. It was this film and another groundbreaking film, Michaelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966), that led Jack Valenti to begin work on the MPAA film rating system that went into effect on November 1, 1968.

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