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
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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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