What are some movies that the Legion of Decency DID approve of?

I always hear the negative side of them, which is condemning movies…what are movies they approved of?

Anything Disney, prior to 1980.

Disney - so much pure sugar is inherently bad for the health. Although DIsney do have redeeming moments at times and in sheer technical skill are often pretty impressive I’m not on the whole a big fan of their works. Especially travesties like ‘The Jungle Book’ (obviously adapted from an alternate universe version of Kipling’s work)and some ofthers.

Disney did wonderful work prior to 1970, certainly worthy of some praise. Not all the films were great but it was nonoffensive, moving and intelligent. Other times, it was just fun and funny. PIXAR has taken up that mantle today. A much needed counterbalance to less skillful work, and offensive material.

Thanks for mentioning him.


Russian animation of the time while it lacks the budget is often far superior in style and wit to be frank.

Hi Jharek.
I would rather watch Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’ any day than read any stuff by Kipling. Do you know that he referred to Ireland as “a pernicious little b**ch of a country”?
He was a jingoistic hack.
God Bless,

Kipling was a human being and thus full of great contradictions. I’m well aware of Kipling’s involvement with and support for unionism but Michael Collins it might surprise to know was quite fond of Kipling’s work to name an unexpected fan.

Kipling’s views on Ireland aside there’s a great deal of wisdom still in his books and despite it not been popular to say so any more he was far more than a jingoistic hack.The Russian adaption of the Jungle Book is I would say much superior to Disney in tone and imagination although it lacked the budget. Here’s a clip below from the remastered version:-


The Russians if you watch the whole thing you will note didn’t down it with sugar coated nonsense and the part where Mogwli kills Shere Khan is fairly dramatic and brutal.

Now back to the main point, the Legion of Decency is an organisation I’ve heard of but was not all that familiar with. I notice on their list of condemned movies some odd ones.‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ seems a weird choice for example. Yes it’s fairly violent but it’s central message is that Josey only becomes a human being when he STOPS been driven purely by revenge and learns to care about others again.

Hi Jharek.
One does not need to see another version of ‘The Jungle Book’ in order to dismiss Disney’s version. Rather, our likes and dislikes are very subjective and are bound by a number of factors. So, you cannot say that it is “sugar coated nonsense” without a personal qualifier thrown in for clarification.
Kipling has little to say to the modern world. He was, to paraphrase Ruskin, a writer of the hour.
God Bless,

I can’t find any of the old Legion of Decency’s rating lists. Actually, during the time that the Legion was in effect, most movies were approved by the Legion. There were few that turned up in the “Condemned” category. One reason for this was that Catholics took the ratings pretty seriously and simply would not turn out for a C-rated movie. Even the general public would avoid them. And Hollywood was pretty much self-censoring in those days as well. I’m guessing that most of the movies found on the Turner Classic Movie channel were pretty favorably rated.

Sooo, up until a year before Disney started making good, quality, films again?

Hi Jim.
There are links from the Wikipedia page. I recall reading something about A, B and C rating system. A stood for morally unobjectionable, B partly objectionable and C utterly objectionable.
TCM is a good resource. I have often wondered about the DVD market. I have seen variations on running times for the same movie. I wonder is this done to make the product available to a wider age group? IOW, is there a distributor operating a censorship process?
God Bless,

One wonders why his books still sell hugely then…

Hi Jharek.
His legacy is very hotly debated.
There’s no doubt he could spin a good yarn. And tales of derring-do are always popular with kids. Yet I wager it is Indian children who perhaps read him most these days. The Raj has had a wide-ranging cultural influence.
As for children in the West, I doubt he holds much interest for them.
God Bless,

Yet the Jungle Books is no 26 on the list of best-selling children’s books on Amazon’s UK site. I read every one of his children’s books growing up and that was less than 20 years ago now.

As to the Legion of Decency whilst it is useful to have a reviewer who will review works from a Catholic standpoint to be honest the Legion of Decency strikes me as somewhat small-minded given the pictures they chose to stick on the forbidden list.

Hi Jharek.
In the case of Kipling, his popularity with kids (and let’s face it, the English love their writers especially from the Victorian era) is down to, as I say, being a good yarn-spinner.

I think the Legion’s usefulness was to act as a guide. Most people recognise filth when they see it. I recall seeing a student movie club presentation of ‘Pink Flamingos’ by that creepy fellow John Waters about thirty years ago. The club’s movies were untouched by the Irish censor. Throughout the screening several students walked out.
Nowadays filmmakers have gotten more camera-savvy but the muck is still there.
The guy in Hollywood (can’t think of his name offhand) who is forever calling the industry to task for it’s depiction of violence and sexuality has a huge fight on his hands. Yet I admire his tenacity in keeping the debate alive.
God Bless,

Well Disney is a generalization - I remember several categories in the A range. A1, A2, and A3. A1 would fit most of the Disney movies. A2 would probably be more like PG today and A3 more like PG-13. B movies - there was something for sure morally objectionable and C was condemned. To give you an idea of the last two categories, and I am strictly going on memory here, a movie like Irma La Douce had a B rating, several movies starring Bridgette Bardot had a C rating.

why is it a negative that a body within the Church would provide guidance on which movies are morally dangerous?

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