1970s American movies that have been cut or banned in Australia.
Saturday Night Fever
Directed by John Badham / 1977 / USA / IMDb
In February 1978, a 3319.03-meter (120:59) print of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER was twice submitted and passed with an R-rating.
The Film Censorship Board later referred to this as the ‘hard version’.
In August 1978, a 3127.00-meter (113:59) ‘soft version’ was submitted and passed with an M-rating.
United International Pictures released both versions theatrically.
Presumably the M-rated ‘soft version’ was the same as the American PG-rated release, and the R-rated ‘hard version’ the same as their R-rated release.
Movie-Censorship has a comparison between the two American ratings.
R & PG video releases
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER was released on tape in the early-1980s by CIC Video. It was reviewed by the Film Censorship Board in February 1984 and awarded an R-rating.
TrickyMario7654 reports that this was the uncut ‘hard version’ of the film. Including both Paramount logos, it runs 113:56 (PAL).
A second tape was submitted by Cinema International Corporation (CIC) in November 1990. It received PG (Occasional low-level violence, Adult concepts) from the OFLC.
The rating and 104-minute running time indicate that it to be the ‘soft version’. It was released by CIC Video.
MA15+ DVD & Blu-ray releases
In June 2002, an uncut 115-minute (PAL) version was passed with an MA (Adult themes, Medium level coarse language). The MA-rating was introduced in May 1993, so was not available for previous submissions. Paramount Home Entertainment (Australasia) was the applicant. Despite being submitted on VHS, this was actually for a DVD release.
It was submitted again for DVD in July 2007, this time as the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER 30TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Once more it received an MA15+ rating, but with the consumer advice changed to ‘Strong themes, Strong coarse language’. Paramount Home Entertainment was the applicant.
The Blu-ray release that followed reverted to the 2002 consumer advice of ‘Adult themes, Medium level coarse language’.
In August 2017, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER [40TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION] was passed with an MA15+ rating. The consumer advice was changed once more, this time to ‘Strong themes, sexual violence, coarse language and sex’.
Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment was the applicant. The cover identifies it as the ‘Director’s Cut’.
One for the trivia fans
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER appears to be unique in that it has held four separate Australian classifications.
It has so far gone from R to M to R to PG and finally MA15+. In the space of six years, 1984 to 1990, it dropped from R to PG.
No other title has been classified in so many categories.
Australian Cinema Pioneer reports.
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977) was finally released in Australia on 13 April 1978 in the original R-rated uncut version, which was later withdrawn by the distributor, so that the freshly approved M cut version could be shown in cinemas. For the Australian M-rating, there was voice overdub of all the coarse language and a total of about five minutes of footage (including the sex scenes – the rape scene – the car sex – the stripper’s breasts – the blowjob) were all eliminated by the distributor.
Around 82 F words, six uses of cunt, three uses of pussy, several uses of ass, one use of tits, four uses of goddamn and other religious profanities, two uses of dick, three uses of cock, two uses of nigger, several uses of spic, four uses of fag, plus one hand gesture, a woman flips off a man.
For almost thirty years, it only existed in its PG rerelease version that was shown on Australian Television endlessly, and usually as a double feature with GREASE (1978) through all of the 1970s to the 1990s.
In September 2007, it was shown after 9:30pm on free to air Australian TV in the original R18+ version but now with the MA15+ rating as applied/chosen by the station. Australian television networks are all authorised to self-censor, and their ratings are not the responsibility of the Classification Board.