For decades Hollywood studios needed to follow a strict set of moral guidelines if they wanted their movies to get made.
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From 1934 to 1954 every Hollywood movie needed to follow a strict set of guidelines laid out by the Catholic church. They included such things as barring excessive drinking, on screen nudity, and even sexual relationships between races. Enforcement was overseen by the Production Code administration, which was led by Joseph Breen. In order to ensure that the production code was followed the Catholic Church founded the Legion of Decency, a group with millions of members that threatened to boycott any movie that didn’t adhere to the guidelines. For decades every line of dialogue needed to be approved by Breen and his administration, making him one of the most powerful people in the history of cinema.
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