I know that some directors insist on having the final cut privilege. But taking it further, have any directors (or studios for that matter, however unlikely it is) insisted on a "no cuts, no dubs, no censorship" (or similar) policy? Such a clause would ensure that the movie is always watched as the director meant it to be watched. But it would also impact distribution.

  • 1
    I was going to say 'A clockwork Orange' but it turns out (via IMDB) that it wasn't released because : "One of Kubrick's reasons for withdrawing the movie in the UK was that, according to his wife Christiane Kubrick, he and his family received several death threats because of the film" These days, however, the 'no-cuts' version is usually saved for the 'super special edition' version . . .
    – Pat Dobson
    Dec 10, 2013 at 20:29
  • I read an article once that stated the only two Hollywood directors with absolute final cut are Clint Eastwood and Woody Allen. Both gained this by never having lost money on a film, and by always completing under time and budget. Indeed on September in 1987, Allen was so unhappy he reshot the entire film with a new cast and still met time and budget. Jul 17, 2016 at 19:02

1 Answer 1


I'm going to try and answer this, but my first problem is identifying exactly what you mean by "no cuts, no dubs, no censorship". As you rightly point out, some directors insist on having final cut privilege (and I'll list a few in a moment), but to my understanding if they insist on that, the rest will automatically follow. What I mean is that even if only one version of the movie is released, the theatrical version, it will in essence be the director's cut and we mightn't know about it.

Some famous films that were released straight out as director's cut include:


Scott noted that he was very pleased with the original theatrical cut of Alien, saying that "For all intents and purposes, I felt that the original cut of Alien was perfect. I still feel that way", and that the original 1979 theatrical version "remains my version of choice". He has since stated that he considers both versions "director's cuts", as he feels that the 1979 version was the best he could possibly have made it at the time.

There are more quotes in the link, but ultimately it shows that the original Alien was considered to be the Director's Cut, but Ridley Scott effectively ended up creating two director's cut, showing that he was happy with it to be watched in different ways.

Variety Magazine did an online article on this in 2010 (found here). Some of the highlights from that article include:

“It’s being asked for less frequently,” says one studio chief. “In the current climate, movie stars and star directors are taking a bit of a backseat. Back in the day, agents would fight to get a first-time director who had done nothing an ‘A Film By’ credit. Remember that? Now, as the financials of the deals have become so much more challenging, creative rights are an afterthought.”

...Warner Bros. gave the Wachowski brothers final cut for its “Speed Racer” redo. The siblings brought the kid pic in at 2 hours and 15 minutes (studio execs would have preferred 90 minutes). What had been hyped as the next breakout franchise became a box office disaster, earning $44 million domestically.

...Stephen Sommers negotiated for final cut on “G.I. Joe,” a decision that won’t likely be repeated by Paramount for the planned sequel.

And though Par publicly backed final-cut director Fincher on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Zodiac,” privately top executives were pulling their hair out over Fincher’s unyielding stance on key creative issues.

Sony recently ventured into the final-cut business for the first time when it hired Fincher to direct “The Social Network.” However, the move was hardly a gamble on the order of the $150 million “Benjamin Button.” “Social Network” is being made for $40 million. “Studios are negotiating tough on director salaries,” the studio chief adds. “Still, they aren’t giving away final cut as a consolation. It’s too big a bone to throw.”

This shows a bunch of movies where the directors got final cut (most of which only have one "version" too, suggesting the movies are exactly what the director wanted).

So in summary - it appears in the early days of film the director had much more power over final cut and would quite often be given this and the film released would be his vision.

Nowadays, it is much less likely, but still does happen, particularly with well known and box-office successful directors. However, as Ridley Scott demonstrated, it appears many directors would be quite happy to have a range of interpretations of their work (which isn't surprising, given their feelings/emotions will changes over months, years and decades).


After an extended discussion (see comments below), I feel I need to amend my answer. I think there are examples of director's who insisted on a no cuts policy. That seems clean cut.

The no censorship policy seems pretty clear cut too. Whilst one might think of grotesque films that have been banned for years, it appears obvious that most director's with final cut privileges are able to include whatever scenes they want.

The no dubbing issue is the most difficult though. I haven't found any examples yet of director's who have insisted on this. But as this point, I feel that it's an impossible question to answer.

A director wants to create a film for any number of films, but ultimately the publishers want to make money from the film. Publishers agree to give people like Spielberg final cut privileges because they are trusting that, given his track record and fame, his movies have even more likelihood to be money-earners if he is given such assurances. If he then decide that the films shouldn't be dubbed, that will drastically reduce the circulation of the movie and lose money - so it's difficult to imagine ANY large Hollywood publisher agreeing to this sort of deal. Additionally, it's difficult to imagine any large-scale Hollywood director wanting this type of deal. Ultimately, they want to reach as many people as possible. This deal would completely go against that notion.

There may well be many small-time directors out there who have released films that they've refused to allow to be dubbed (the sort that are circulating around YouTube, for example). But ultimately, as soon as a film is large enough to gain international fame and thus bring in a sizeable amount of money, it runs contrary to this aim to reduce its circulation by refusing to dub it.

I'll continue my search for any major director who has requested this, but I suspect it will be in vain. So perhaps a better answer to the question would be:

Many directors have insisted on a no cuts, no censorship policy. It's difficult to find any documented evidence of directors insisting on a no dubs policy, not least because it runs contrary to the entire point of movie creation (to reach an audience).

  • While giving some interesting insights, I don't think this adresses the actual question so much, other than maybe saing that is isn't so likely that anyone evr requested a "no cuts, no dubs, no censorship" policy. The OP isn't after final cut at all, which he has himself mentioned.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Mar 9, 2014 at 0:19
  • I think my issue is I'm not sure I understand the actual question. If it implies a director has total control over a film and only his version is ever released, I think my answer shows that in the old days that used to happen. But, for example, define what a cut is. Every movie has hours upon hours of footage. It's not all used, so technically cuts are being made - except I don't think that's really what the OP meant... Mar 9, 2014 at 0:21
  • Still, I take your comments on board. I'll do a little more research, but for now I think this is the best I can do Mar 9, 2014 at 0:21
  • What he is after (as far as I understood it, though) is a much stricter control of the final movie, disallowing any kind of censorship or cutting (as usually done on TV) or redubbing (as usually done for foreign releases) for any kind of release (be it cinema, DVD, TV, ...).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Mar 9, 2014 at 0:23
  • I feel my answer shows some examples of that, but I'll try and find more concrete answers. Mar 9, 2014 at 0:24

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