Here’s What’s Banned from Disney Movies
You’d think anything goes when it comes to Disney. The classic children’s movies contain traumatizing scenes like Scar’s pack of hyenas planning a murder in The Lion King or the hunter getting ready to stab Snow White. Other moments just seem questionable for kids, like the caterpillar smoking something questionable in Alice in Wonderland and Dumbo’s trippy night of drinking. These days, though, the Walt Disney Company spells out specific things its characters can’t do.
David Lowery, director of the 2016 Pete’s Dragon, made the big reveal in an interview with Ain’t It Cool News. “When you sign a contract with Disney, the thing it says your film cannot have are beheadings, impalement, or smoking,” he revealed. Lowery didn’t have any intel on whether the rule holds true for adult movies, but the last rule started in 2015, when Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Bob Iger banned smoking in any Disney film. The only exceptions are R-rated movies and any scenes in which smoking is necessary to maintain historical accuracy. (Here are 13 tips for surviving a Disney cruise with your kids.)
Guess a few scenes from the Disney vaults wouldn’t fly if they were made today. After all, Pinocchio tries his hand at a cigar—and gets sick and loopy after breaking the current no-smoking rule. Smoking also appears in 101 Dalmatians, Peter Pan, Hercules, Aladdin, and a laundry list of others. (These 12 children’s book encourage kids to be nice.)
Plus, Eric steers a ship toward Ursula in The Little Mermaid, driving the stern through her belly as she’s struck by lightning and drags the boat down with her. Yikes. There goes the impaling rule.
Disney seems to have stuck by its no-beheading policy throughout its whole history, though. The Queen of Hearts may have hinted at it, but she never actually succeeded in having “off with their heads”—at least not on screen.
Check out the most popular movies from each year—from 1933 to now!