When the audio track is censored for a TV audience, the "inappropriate" dialogue is sometimes dubbed over with more appropriate words. I'm just curious how this is done exactly. Do movie studios anticipate this ahead of time and produce "censor-friendly" dialogue? Do TV studios ask the actors to dub over their parts? How are these censored dub-overs made?

  • What the? Haha wow, never seen that! U.S. TV at its best, I guess. But it really sounds like Samuel Jackson's voice. Now I wonder how they do this, too.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jan 29, 2014 at 23:12
  • Yet on the site linked from this Youtube clip, you can hear some more examples where there's a clear difference in the voice, I think.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jan 29, 2014 at 23:19
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    You censor TV in the US? I'm shocked. It bought only commies did that. ;-)
    – matt_black
    Jan 30, 2014 at 0:06
  • The best example of this IMO, is The Big Lebowski's "This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!" instead of "f*** a stranger in the ass." It was obviously done by the Coen brothers and Goodman. Jan 30, 2014 at 1:10
  • The BBC also used to show censored versions of movies in the 1980s and 1990s, e.g. Beverly Hills Cop with Eddy Murphy's four letter words replaced by a soundalike saying "fudge" etc. They also edited some violence from Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes when it was broadcast around 19h and showed an uncensored version on Friday around midnight. Angel was heavily edited on the commercial UK channel that showed that series around 18h.
    – BCdotWEB
    Jun 18, 2016 at 15:09

2 Answers 2


Most of the time, they are not done by producers or the directors. Generally basic broadcast TV channels do this. They use a person to re-voice some part whose voice sounds like the original actor or actress.

But sometimes, procucer or director shot an alternative scene as the the censored version. Like in Ghostbusters:

Original Line: "We came, we saw, we kicked it's ass!"

Edited Version: "What a knockabout of pure fun that was."

Perhaps the worst example of Bowdlerisation ever – particularly insulting because the cast actually recorded this alternate version.

In fact there are a bunch of movies which got censorship. I guess the most important one is Snakes on a Plane; Original version and TV censored version

Also there is a collection of some famuos moive censors and a list of 50 strangest censored movie lines

So generally TV channels choose to re-sound the scene with a person who has a similar sound as the original actor/actress. That happens if the producer or director do not make an alternative shot and the TV channel do not want to spend much money for censorship.

Wikipedia have a section about that:

Some films have content deemed "objectionable" to "family audiences": sexual content, obscene language, graphic violence, and perceived racial insensitivities. To make these films suitable for younger or more typical audiences, or to appeal to advertisers when a film is shown on basic cable or broadcast TV, alternative versions are created with such content removed or replaced. Often, profanities are replaced with minced oaths. For example, in the edited version of Pulp Fiction, Samuel L. Jackson uses the minced oath "screw", "little sucker", and "my friend". The editing of these versions is performed by a censor and not the producer or director of the work.

Two other examples would be in the edited version of Mrs. Doubtfire, when Daniel Hillard's mask is run over, he screams "Oh!", whereas in the original version, he screams, "Oh shit!" and in the 1987 comedy film, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, where Neal Page is at the Car Rental Agency, and says the "f-word" 18 times and the car rental agent says to him something which is muted out on TV airings.

Also, in the edited version of Walt Disney Pictures' Atlantis: The Lost Empire, all parts with Packard smoking cigars were erased, and in the edited version of Walt Disney Pictures' The Parent Trap, the part with Hallie pierces Annie's ears is shorter, whereas in the regular version, the "ear piercing" part is longer. Annie's lines, "Marriage is supposed to be based on something more than just sex, right?" and "Oh my God!" are muted out. Plus, a part in An Extremely Goofy Movie, in which main characters Goofy and Max, as well as Tank, are trapped inside a flaming papier-mache x (symbol of the X-games), was erased when it was shown on the Disney Channel and Toon Disney (now Disney XD).

These films are typically preceded by the disclaimer, "This film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit this screen and edited for content."

So it depends, sometimes alternative shots, sometimes low-budget TV works.

  • 1
    Also, Spaceballs filmed an alternate of the "Major Asshole" scene using "Major Moron", and Die Hard With a Vengeance filmed an alternate scene of the sign McClane was forced to wear at the beginning of the film. Sometimes these techniques also double as insurance if the movie can't get the rating it wants. In the theatrical version of Galaxy Quest, if you watch Sigourney Weaver's lips, it's obvious she's not saying "Screw this!" in the scene with the Chompers. Jun 19, 2016 at 15:50
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    @JohnSensebe the Die Hard movies were usually censored quite a bit in the UK, with John McClane's famous "Yippie Ki Yay" line censored in the cinema release of Die Hard 4 to "Yippie Ki Yay Mother", with the rest being drowned out by an explosion, and on TV for other Die Hard movies becoming "Yippie Ki Yay Mr Falcon".
    – user25730
    Oct 1, 2019 at 22:29

Dubbing is done exactly how you'd imagine. A voice actor is put in a sound booth and asked to read clean versions of lines while audio editors watch the scene to line it up. Usually this is done by impressionists because it's cheaper than having the actual actor do it.

There's an AMA on reddit with a guy who oversees these for a living.

These are done by the studio that owns the movie. They'll either get the original actor or an impersonator to do a voice over session. It an expensive process. Usually, the movie has been on TV a few times by the time I get it, so I haven't had to worry about it.

  • So, TV networks who buy the rights to air the movies hire these people to dub them before airing?
    – Paul
    Jan 30, 2014 at 0:07
  • No, it's the studios who own the movie who do it. Jan 30, 2014 at 0:09

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