Moral culpability of actors

This question has two parts.

First, is it wrong for an actor to appear in a film where there is nudity, if that actor is not in the scene where the nudity takes place?

Second, is it wrong for an actor to appear in a film or play that does not have a moral ending, or where bad deeds have no negative consequence on the character who commits the bad deed (such as Stanley going unpunished at the end of “Streetcar Named Desire”).

Thank you.

Interesting questions.
Another question is whether it is OK for an actor to take the name of Our Lord in vain. I know that the Roman Catholic priest Father Greeley has written several novels and in one of them he has someone using the word Jaysus as an interjection. I don;t see too much difference between using the holy name of Our Lord or using Jaysus as an interjection, but perhaps the Catholics here can clue me in as to why it is OK for a Catholic priest to write a novel with such exclamations.

No wonder so many actors are divorced multiple times. They make love in a movie to an actress & have to do the scene over & over. :blush: How can they stay pure or faithful to their spouse? The modern movies have a lot of cursing, also…I don’t believe God gives them a dispensation because they are only acting.

Well, for instance, in “Airplane” there’s five seconds of a naked woman’s torso. Does that make all the other actors responsible for being in a movie where that took place. Or, for that matter, the topless painting scene in “Titanic”. Should the actors who were not in that scene turn down their roles?

I’ve often wondered this myself. Very good questions! Some nude scenes are done with “body suits”. They look nude but aren’t. But then of course, there are scenes with absolutely real nudity. I would think seeing nudity and the nude body itself isn’t a sin. But how many of us could not take the next step and fantasize and commit sin. One would have to be very strong. It’s all in the state of mind. But our “state of mind” is not good. Actors, Hollywood and thinking about those people sicken me personally. They’re politics is radical. And they cause scandal :slight_smile: I don’t have a TV and don’t patronize their filth.


If an actor “kills” someone in a movie, it’s not a sin because the bullets aren’t real…but when an actor does a love scene the arousal is real and I would say it is a sin.
Oh how I miss the old John Wayne movies!

Well they are surrounded by a lot people, talking, sound booms. I don’t see how they can concentrate on anything. But that’s why they’re actors.


Yeah, but when you’re hugging a nude Sophia Loren …ooohhhh, la,la!!! :wink:

Yes, it is wrong. We’re not talking about body doubles here. It is clearly an actor. No actor should appear in a movie where actual - you can clearly tell who it is - nudity takes place.

As far as movies or plays, it should be looked at on a case by case basis. It is wrong to depict bad deeds as always having no bad consequences, but again, on a case by case basis.



I’ll take Kate Upton anyday :stuck_out_tongue:

You realize you’re not helping this thread at all by saying that…:confused:

Just a little humor. Relax. I don’t think anyone thinks intentional nudity is right. I don’t really get enjoyment from TV. I might watch ‘The Waltons’ or ‘Duck Dynasty’ when I visit my mom.


Some Roman Catholics seem to take a casual attitude toward these things and toward the use of Our Lord’s Name in vain in movies and novels.
I notice that Muslims seem to take their relgion seriously, and if they see the name or image of their prophet misused, they will protest quite vigorously. What happens though when Roman Catholics go to a PG-13 or R movie where the holy name of Our Lord is used in vain. I haven’t seen any protests or even the slightest attempt to boycott such movies.

Wow, we can probably take the 100 greatest films in America’s history (yes, I realize this is subjective, but let’s pass on), and find in each and every one of them some word or act, even one that is not corrected, that may give rise to some small tendency to give greater acceptance to evil. Do Catholics have a duty to avoid or boycott in case of the slightest grievance? I’m surprised that so far some in this thread have implied this sort of logic.

Yes, there is an element of cooperation with evil in participating in or consuming the movie. However, as long as furthering the depicted evil is not intended, it would seem to be remote enough and within proportional to the good achieved. Obviously some movies cross the line, especially when the evil act is duly emphasized to be the main question of the movie (etc.). If the Catholic actor were to avoid all such scenes, however, then that would deny the actor a chance to influence the movie culture for good.

Each movie is indeed its own question, but a proper cooperation-with-evil analysis along with a prudential discernment on scandal (a high barrier nowadays, for non-children’s movies) should easily resolve the matter.

It’s also important to know that not all nudity, even in film, is sinful. For example, Pope John Paul II gave his blessing to the use and viewing of nudity in the concentration camp scenes of Schindler’s List because it was both non-sexual and absolutely essential to portraying the true horror of the Nazis and the Holocaust.

Most actors will tell you…it’s the most un-arousing, un-sexy thing of all, to do a love scene for the camera.
Most of them can’t stand it.
Everything is choreographed, they are worried how they look, they often don’t like the person the have to kiss, there are often a lot of people in the room…not ideal for “real arousal”.


Yeah, they protest quite vigorously, as they did in the newspaper office in Paris this morning.

Not something I feel we need to emulate.

Like billcu1 said : "Just a little humor. Relax. " Sheesh!

I hope you weren’t referring to me as taking a casual attitude toward the filth in movies. If you read my other posts, you’ll see I don’t.

I hope they bring back the Legion of Decency!

Hi DaisymaeD,

Excellent questions! Thanks for starting this thread!

No - nudity could be tastefully and artfully done. A overly grotesque lustful scene might be a good reason for an actor to stay away from the scene itself and possibly the movie altogether. However - if the actor is not involved in that particular scene there might not be a clear idea how bad the scene is until after the movie is out.

No it’s fine. These are real life situations that occur all the time. However - the actor should take into account the basic message of the movie/play and then see if it’s a good message the actor can be a part of. That I think is the fundamental question every actor should ask themselves.

In short - certainly there are movies and plays that moral actors should stay away from, but it becomes much more difficult to hammer out specific criteria. Better to take it on a case by case basis.

Hope that helps!

I would say there’s “always” a lot of people in the room. Directors, crew, cast members, makeup in the next part of the studio offset. Sound booms. I’ve seen behind scenes. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Out take after out take. Some people on the set are what they call in Britain “corpsers”. They are always cracking up in scenes. Whew.


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