Ask LH: Is Netflix Australia Showing Censored Versions Of Movies?

Ask LH: Is Netflix Australia Showing Censored Versions Of Movies?
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Dear Lifehacker, Movies and TV shows broadcast in Australia often have subtle (or not-so-subtle) cuts when compared to the overseas versions, mainly due to censorship. With Netflix now in Australia, I was wondering whether they’re streaming Australian edits, or the original version? Thanks, Cutting Edge

Picture: Getty Images

Dear CE,

The short and simple answer is “it depends”.

The slightly more complex answer: edits of movies exist for all kinds of reasons. As well as actual censorship (to meet ratings requirements), other customisations are sometimes made for individual markets. For instance, in Shark Tale the Australian release featured Tracey Grimshaw dubbed in as a newsreader, while the US original had Katie Couric.

It isn’t always true that Australia gets the shortest version. A good case in point: Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery had several scenes that were in the Australian cinema release but cut for the US (most notably the scenes featuring Rob Lowe and Christian Slater, and also many smaller sexual references). The Australian release ran for 94 minutes; the US release ran for 89 minutes.

Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery is available on Netflix Australia — but the run time is 89 minutes, so you’re getting the cut-down US version. Netflix Australia also has Shark Tale, and again it’s offering the US version, not the Grimshaw-enhanced Australian release.

As a rule of thumb, I’d assume that the edit you’re going to see on Netflix is the US one, but that won’t always be the case. It really will depend on the rights on offer, whether the title is only available on Netflix Australia, and if ratings requirements in Australia drove any edit decisions. Ultimately, if seeing a particular version of a movie matters to you, owning your own copy is always going to be the most reliable alternative.


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  • the Australian release featured Tracey Grimshaw dubbed in as a newsreader, while the US original had Katie Couric.

    That’s appalling!

    • Is it really? Assuming the script was the same and Dreamworks did the editing, what’s so appalling about it?

      • It was more a joke about how children shouldn’t be taught to associate Tracey Grimshaw with journalism.

        I was going to add “somebody pleeease think of the children”, but it seemed obvious enough.

  • I watched Austin Powers the other night and I swear the Slater orange sherbet part was missing. Now I know.

  • We often get the US title of things on Netflix as well. Scrolling through the other day I noticed “13 going on 30” and had a look, it was the same movie as we have here called “Suddenly 30”

    • Wait for the The Mighty Ducks which was called The Champions here and a lot of other countries.
      D2: The Mighty Ducks was called “The Mighty Ducks” here, which is not on IMDB.
      Those have been interchanged on TV a few times.

  • for funs when I first got netflix I used a website that lists/ranks movies with nudity. A lot, if not most of the top movies are not available on AU netflix. Could this be considered censorship, or just regional content differences?

  • They also cut out the scenes where after a henchman died they would show us their family receiving the news of his death. Very dark humour but it was a scene I enjoyed…

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