Hollywood would do itself and America a service if it went back to the Code of Decency that led to what has been called Hollywood’s Golden Era from 1933 to 1966. In the 1930s, the film industry formed a group to improve their image and they introduced the Production Code, “to help the industry regulate itself by following certain moral principles and guidelines.” During the years that it was enforced, most movies had noble themes, such as honor, duty, valor, and pride in our national heritage. Not only that, there was a clear distinction between right and wrong. Jack Warner of Warner Brothers Studio said all of his movies had to have a moral to the story with a noble hero and an immoral scoundrel, both sides sharply defined.
When the Codes of Decency were abandoned in 1968, and superseded by the new ratings systems which are still in use today, movies quickly changed (and not for the better). Movies made up until 1968 directed the movie watcher toward towering ideals and truths, like the classic Westerns. But then began the downhill slide. By the ‘70s, moral absolutes began to disappear from the movies. Think: “The Graduate.”
President Reagan detested how movies had changed in the ‘60s and ‘70s and wrote in a letter while governor of California, “[T]hose pictures with no four letter words, no nude scenes, no blatant sex, no vulgarity were better theatre than today’s realism.” Reagan’s words still hold true today and we couldn’t have said it better.
Let’s hope Hollywood finally listens and gets the message by making more quality movies that Americans want to buy a ticket to see. Americans want to leave the theater feeling good, not wishing we hadn’t just shelled out our money on garbage. Give us movies with real heroes and stories that are uplifting, inspiring and good clean fun. Money talks. Are you listening, Hollywood?