Getting Crap Past the Radar/Film

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It's just a Pimped-Out Dress? Look closer. The wrap is all that is covering her torso. This was Pre-Code Hollywood.


"If she wants a hack-in-a-bush, she'll get a hack-in-a-bush!"
Chico Marx (before Harpo gooses the future Mrs. Hackenbush), A Day at the Races

  • In the original Psycho, towards the end of the shower scene when Marion reaches for the shower curtain, the naked breasts of body double Marli Renfro are visible in the background, out of focus but still easily distinguishable.
  • Remember those old-time cowboys in Westerns who would mosey up to the bar and order sarsaparilla? A lot of viewers assume that the character is refraining from ordering alcohol solely to preserve the movie's G-rating. But sarsaparilla was actually not so much a drink as it was a traditional medicine, and in the 19th century was mainly used as a treatment for syphilis. It's supposed to be an aphrodisiac, as well.
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Rife with innuendo to get it past the 1950's censors. "Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?" is a song in which Russell sings frustratingly about not finding a man in the middle of a gym where completely uninterested bodybuilders are working out. In "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", when Lorelei (Marilyn Monroe) sings, "These rocks don't lose their shape," notice her gesture - she's contrasting her diamonds to her other assets.
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
    • A wallpaper with lickable fruit. One of the fruit is a snozzberry, which Willy Wonka is evasive about. What is a snozzberry? According to Roald Dahl in My Uncle Oswald, a snozzberry is the glans of a penis. Go ahead and lick it!
    • "Now I'm going to tell the computer exactly what it can do with a lifetime's supply of chocolate!"
  • In Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka exclaims,

Wonka: Don't touch that squirrel's nuts! It'll make him go crazy!

  • Scarface was toned down twice, and negotiations had to be made before its rating got lowered from X to R. However, director Brian DePalma thought the differences between the final cut and the original were insignificant and had the original submitted to theatres. And no-one noticed until the VHS release.
  • Josie and The Pussycats, of all things, had a little ditty called "Backdoor Lover" by the Boy Band Dujour. Three guesses what it's about. And those outfits. Flaming gay, anyone? Seriously -- those guys were one huge gay joke.
  • When Universal was producing its series of Sherlock Holmes movies in the 1940s, it was explicitly decided that any references to drug use, including Holmes' canonical use of cocaine, would be censored. However, the writers did manage to slip one reference in: in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, Holmes, captured by Moriarty and stalling for time, suggests to Moriarty that instead of just shooting him, he should try something "more creative" -- like inserting a needle into his vein and slowly drawing out all of his blood. Upon hearing this suggestion, Moriarty snidely quips:

Moriarty: The needle to the last, eh, Holmes?

    • The 1939 'Hound of the Baskervilles' closed with the line, "Oh Watson, the needle."
    • Similarly, cocaine is never mentioned in the 2009 movie. However, at one point Watson looks at some bottles, picks one up and says disgustedly, "You do know what you're drinking is for eye surgery." Cocaine is used as a topical anaesthetic in eye surgeries, an application first discovered in the late 1800's.
  • Airplane!: Fellatio on a blow-up doll, a woman in bed with a horse after sex, a pedophile pilot, a young girl who takes her coffee black (like her men), one woman briefly appearing entirely topless, and repeated drug use, and it gets a PG rating. The MPAA rating board must have been helpless with laughter. If it had come out a few years later, surely it would have received a PG-13 rating, if not an R.
    • Yes, it would. And don't call me Shirley.
      • Also, keep in mind that the PG-13 rating didn't exist at the time, and "PG" wasn't that "clean" of a rating. Topless scenes were not at all uncommon in PG-rated films, though multiple instances in a single film would bump the rating to "R".
  • Back to The Future is rated PG in the both the UK and the US, despite pretty some strong language, a plan to fake attempted rape, and real attempted rape.
  • Bacall's famous "You know how to whistle" line quoted in the intro was brilliantly and outrageously parodied in Steve Martin's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid:

"If you want me, just dial. You know how to dial, don't you? You just put your finger in the hole and make tiny little circles..."

  • Not dirty so much as violent, but careful editing cuts down a lot of things in The Dark Knight Saga that would otherwise have cranked up the rating to the levels of Gorn horror films.
    • Take Two-Face's burn scars. At first they went with a down-to-earth look that scared the crap out of test audiences. They had to make the scars worse so they'd be so over-the-top as to not be horrifying.
  • In Sunset Boulevard, it's implied that Norma Desmond has been using her now-dead pet monkey as a surrogate lover (major Squick in itself). She eulogizes him thus:

Norma: He always liked fires... and poking at them with sticks.

  • In High School Musical 3, there's an endless list of "how did they get that in a G-rated movie?"
    • Two examples are Troy suggestively kissing the ball on his team's new trophy and later singing, "put the balls in my hands."
    • The Bob Fosse-styled choreography in "I Want It All", the catgirls, and Sharpay's suggestive outfit.
    • The new kid Jimmie, also known as Rocket-Boy... innuendo in itself? has a huge crush on Troy. He's male. It's played for comic value, but still! (Ryan's just as flaming in this movie, too, not to disappoint. Of course, Disney does attempt to pair them with girls.)
    • Ryan and the new kid are how Disney introduces teenage homosexuals in a G-rated movie. Because something has to reflect real-world high schools.
    • The "Give me back my clothes!" scene with the volleyball girls and the gay guys. Oh, and Rocket-Boy's towel is placed veeery low on his hips and shows off as much as Disney could possibly allow.
      • He has a happy trail for God's sake! To elaborate for those who don't know what that is, it's the little "trail" of hair that some guys have leading from around their navel down to their pubes. Yeah. In a Disney movie.
    • When Gabriella teaches Troy how to waltz, she sings the line "Keep your eyes locked on mine" which, in context of their pre-song discussion, relates to him needing to learn the steps. Unfortunately, due to the way the camera was positioned, it is obvious that what he's doing is checking out Vanessa Hudgen's chest. Of course since it's been three movies and all he's had is one rather chaste kiss, it's hard to blame the boy.
    • And speaking of her chest, there's the part in the second movie when they're singing "Gotta Go My Own Way" and he's hugging her from behind... his hands are placed awfully high...
    • The second movie is a regular gold mine for this. From Troy teasing Gabriella that she's "gonna get sooooo wet!" to Ryan and Chad switching clothes and eating hot dogs after performing a duet...
    • And not just a duet, but a duet about baseball, where they pitch and catch (literally) and then hit home runs! It's taking metaphors completely literally.
    • What about the scene in the end credits, where the team all run out of the toilets, and then Troy announces: "Everyone! We have forgotten our pants!"
    • The first movie has "Bop to the Top," which at times sounds like they're advocating sleeping your way to the top. Let's not forget that the people singing that song are... brother and sister.
    • And the verse shown in "Breaking Free" is basically "Hallelujah", for kids!
    • "I want it (uh uh uh) I want it" and "Bigger is better"? No, no innuendo there.
  • In the most recent adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, an innocent comment is played for obvious double meaning: "My small rectory abuts her estate." The speaker emphasizes "rect-" and "abuts" to obvious humor.
    • Don't forget the "through intercourse... excuse me, the intercourse" line. The Director's Commentary says they intended these lines to show the character was repressed.
  • The Princess Diaries
    • Joseph goes to purchase some "respectable" clothes for Mia, his purchases include a set of high heels. When he gives them to her, he relates an anecdote of their purchase:

Joe: Strange city, San Francisco. When I bought the pumps, the cashier asked if I wanted them wrapped... Or, if I wanted to wear them.

    • In the sequel, innuendo (likely intended as a Parental Bonus) involving Lord Devereaux (the main character's romance interest in the movie) giving Mia a hands-on lesson of how to shoot a bow and arrow accurately to hit a small target. The scene ending with the arrow flying through a hoop and hitting the "bull's eye".
    • The sequel also has the scene where Mia and her friend view slides of potential princes for her.
      • First, Prince William makes an appearance -- but the slide-giver notes he's not available. When Mia asks why he's there, then, she responds that she "Just loves to look at him." How does Mia's grandmother respond? With an enthusiastic "Me, too!"
      • Then there's a prince that Mia thinks is cute. Joseph politely informs her, "His boyfriend thinks so too." Mia and her friend high-five.
      • They even set up the line with his interests; "Harp, Poetry, Dressage, Liberace memorabillia, Opera"
  • Hoo boy, Enchanted...
    • When Nathaniel first pops out of the manhole, the road workers, exasperated, ask him if he's looking for a beautiful princess like Edward was. Nathaniel's reply: "No. A Prince, actually." The stunned expressions on the roadworkers' faces are obvious.
    • The Not What It Looks Like scene is pretty much one long string of crap put past the radar -- possibly Parental Bonus, since while the kids won't know what's implied, their parents will. For one thing, save for a towel, Giselle starts out naked on top of Robert. Nancy sarcastically asks if Robert was having some "grown-up girl bonding time." And when Giselle asks if Nancy thought they kissed, Robert replies: "Yeah. Something like that."
    • The scene immediately following the Crowd Song in which Nathaniel picks up Edward after he's fallen over. "You've fallen on your royal--" "I know, I know." But he fell forward, so "ass" seems unlikely. Royal jewels, perhaps?
    • The scene where Edward is looking for Giselle in the apartment building. Behind the one of the doors he knocks on, he finds a stereotypical biker... who grins mischievously at him. Edward politely excuses himself. The romantic-looking scenery of the room behind the biker didn't help things any.
    • There's also the first room he comes to, where he's greeted by a pregnant woman holding a toddler with three older kids around her. Her response upon seeing Edward? "You're too late."
    • Then there's this little nugget of dialogue, from Morgan and Giselle's shopping montage:

Morgan: And you don't wanna wear too much make-up, because then boys get the wrong idea... and you know they're only after one thing!
Giselle: What's that?
Morgan: ... I don't know. Nobody will tell me.

    • Not sure if this did it for anyone else, but in the first song, "lips are the only things that touch"? Yeah, that was definitely conscious irony.
  • In Percy Jackson and The Olympians, there are several, but in particular, numerous references to Persephone sleeping around. Keep in mind this was a PG film.
    • The best example of this doubles as Genius Bonus. Medusa tells Percy (the son of Poseidon) that "I used to date your daddy." In actual Greek mythology, Medusa was raped by Poseidon.
  • In the 1947 film The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Mrs. Muir types Captain Gregg's autobiography for him. An argument over what euphemism to use for something he wants written ("What sort of word would you use if you wanted to express such a concept?" "I wouldn't!") ends with her irritatedly typing out the original word. Judging by how her fingers move when typing, the word is "shit".
  • In Beyond the Forest, when Bette Davis complains about her indolent maid not cleaning the dining room table she says, "I can write your name in the dust". She quite clearly spells out "S L U T".
    • At the time this movie was made, the word "slut" didn't have quite the same connotations it does now. Webster's defined it as "a slovenly or lazy woman," which seems appropriate in this context.
  • In Spain, during Franco's oppressive fascist regime, one trick that filmmakers used to get crap past the radar is they would write the script they wanted to make, then submit a different script for approval, knowing it would get marked for change. When they submitted the original script, the censors would see that everything marked for change had been changed and approve the script, letting the filmmakers do almost whatever they wanted.
  • The Thin Man
    • A policeman asks Nick and Nora if they've heard of "The Sullivan Act", and Nora responds, "It's okay, officer, we're married." This would be a fairly harmless double entendre nowadays, but The Thin Man was released in 1934, when married main couples were sleeping in separate beds!
    • In another scene, a man tells a reporter that his father's relationship with a colleague was complicated because he was an admitted "sexogenarian". The reporter clearly thinks this is some sort of juicy perversion, but learns to his disappointment that it simply means the man was 60 years old.

"I read you were shot three times in the tabloids."
"That's not true. They didn't get anywhere near my tabloids."

    • The Thin Man gets away with quite a lot by following the Hays Code (instituted the year previous) to the letter. For example, there is a scene where a befuddled Nick takes refuge in his bathroom. Because of the Code, the scene is framed so that no toilet is visible. When a young woman enters, he offers her a seat, and then reaches out of the frame and pulls a stool into the frame! Also, in the closing scene, Nick and Nora share a sleeper car with one bunk but aren't explicitly shown in bed together, so the Code remains intact. Cue Asta the dog putting his paws over his eyes, a nice Lampshade.
  • In Bringing Up Baby, while David is taking a shower, Susan secretly takes away his clothes to get him to stay. He is forced instead to wear her frilly bathrobe and answers the door in this bathrobe. The following scene is arguably the first time the word "gay" was used in a film to mean "homosexual", and the meaning would have been lost on most audiences back when the film was made.

Mrs. Random: Well, who are you?
David: I don't know. I'm not quite myself today.
Mrs. Random: Well, you look perfectly idiotic in those clothes.
David: These aren't my clothes.
Mrs. Random: Well, where are your clothes?
David: I've lost my clothes.
Mrs. Random: But why are you wearing these clothes?
David: Because I just went gay all of a sudden!
Mrs. Random: Now, see here young man, stop this nonsense. What are you doing?
David: I'm sitting in the middle of 42nd street waiting for a bus.

    • In his book Gay New York, George Chauncey mentions that the comment about 42nd Street confirms the double entendre was intentional. Before WWII, 42nd Street was one of the main spots in New York for gay men to look for "trade".
    • Of course, it's entirely possible that he meant "silly or frivolous", the commonplace meaning of "gay" at the time of the film's release. It is certainly what the audience assumed he meant; however, in the gay community of the time, the word "gay" meant exactly the same thing that it does today. It's worth noting that the line in question was improvised by Cary Grant. It's also worth noting that Cary Grant was probably... well... silly or frivolous.
  • Bollywood has been known to do this on occasion due to the country's censorship policy regarding sexuality.
    • The ban on kissing in films was actually implemented by the British, and was lifted a while back. In recent years this trope has been subverted and kissing had been openly shown in many instances. (Though it's not as common as in Western films.)
    • The Wet Sari Scene is a cliché of Indian film.
    • Karan Arjun has a great example: Sonia and Vijay literally roll in the hay together, then sing a very suggestive song which ends with them kissing. The next scene is Sonia coming home, wearing the same clothes, on what seems to be the same afternoon... but a throw-away line tells us it's actually the next day and she's been gone all night.
  • George of the Jungle
    • Innocent Fanservice Guy George espouses the strangeness of the ablution practice of using "strange slippery rock"... while nude, in front of two girls. IN A DISNEY MOVIE!
    • "Bad waterfall; first it's too warm, and then George slip on strange yellow rock" is the actual line, and he's referring to soap.
    • They even got to sneak in the word "ass" once!
    • "I'll remove your reason for wearing a loincloth."
    • One of the girl's reaction to the above scene: "I see why they made him King of the Jungle!"
  • Ghostbusters, a PG-rated movie that kids enjoy, has subtle innuendo. For instance, the one scene where a siren unzips Ray's pants in the middle of the night to do what would be implied as fellatio.
    • Shall we mention the male Keymaster and the female Gatekeeper?
    • The sequel gets away with the scientists suggesting to perform a gynecology test on Dana after examining her baby.
  • Spaceballs was made after the introduction of the PG-13 rating, but manages to keep itself at a PG rating despite a great deal of swearing. Most notably, it contains the word, "fuck". Little Nicky similarly stretched the boundaries of the PG-13 rating with lots of swearing, and while it uses the F word only once in the context of dialogue, (Popeye's chicken is fucking awesome!) it had a song play during its ending credits that contained numerous chantings of the word after many stanzas.
  • On a related note, Last Action Hero, also PG-13, toed the line with the word "fuck" in a manner that made failure at Getting Crap Past the Radar a plot point. Attempting to prove to Jack Slater that his world is a movie, his kid fan writes something (not shown) and asks Jack to say it aloud, then cites Jack's intense resistance as proof that they're in a PG-13 movie. What he'd written is never stated, but it hardly needs to be, does it?
    • Although it does sneak into Last Action Hero near the end when Lt. Dekker is ranting about the "Sierra Club doing the fucking tango up and down my Hershey highway"...
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
    • The "French class" joke.
    • And in the sequel, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid when Diane is enlarged. A random biker in the crowd says "Whoa, look at that mother!"
    • And in the next sequel, Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, where Wayne, Gordon, and their wives come across roach droppings, or as Wayne calls them, "roach turds". Yes, he said "turd" in a Disney movie. That might explain why it's a Direct to Video sequel.
  • The Goonies spoke of a pirate named "One-Eyed Willy". There were plenty of snickers when it came out... And by "snickers" I don't mean the candy bar... And by "it came out" I don't -- oh, forget it.
  • The W.C. Fields film The Bank Dick features its title character ("dick" was the popular street term for "detective" at the time) frequenting a bar called The Black Pussy, complete with a few shots of him entering it.
    • Fields' colorful euphemisms are barely disguised substitutes for more colorful words. When his little daughter socks him on the head he growls "Godfrey Daniel! Mother of Pearl!"
  • In the 1994 film adaptation of The Little Rascals, Froggy boasts that he "whipped out my lizard" in front of a girl. He may hate girls at the tender age of 8, but in about a decade, he will probably be using that phrase with a whole new meaning.
  • In Night at the Museum, the Teddy Roosevelt character has from his hips to the bottom of his chest flattened by a mail coach. Sacajawea uses a lit candle to soften and pour the wax to re-mold the damage to his midsection. The "oh boy" moan could have been bracing himself for the pain, but this is Robin Williams, the Trope Namer for Get-crap-past-the-radar.
  • A fairly minor example by today's standards, but at the beginning of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, the managing editor of the newspaper angrily dismisses his employees, who leave mumbling. The editor quickly asks, "What'd you just say?" and the employee responds, "I said you've got some... dirty plaster".
  • The 1934 pre-code film Wonder Bar featured a rare instance of homosexual humor that came very close to getting the film banned altogether. During a dance, a gentleman approaches a dancing couple and asks if he can cut in; when the woman accepts, however, he dances away with the man instead. Al Jolson responds to this by waving a limp wrist and musing, "Boys will be boys!"
  • In The Beatles' first movie A Hard Days Night, John jokingly "snorts" his unopened bottle of Coke. Not to mention the interview scene.
  • The Greatest Show On Earth
    • This 1952 film contains this sequence: "You wanna bite somebody?" "Yeah..." "Well, pick your spot!" He glances at her rear. And smiles.
    • Also this dialogue snippet too: "Why is that every time he [The great Sebastian] passes by, I'm always wet?" "In more ways than one."
  • Spy Kids
    • It features the older of the two children exclaiming "Oh shi...ttake mushrooms!"
    • Used again in the first sequel: "You are full of shi...ttake mushrooms!"
  • This poster for Julie and Julia.
  • This trope can be witnessed in (of all places) the classic Casablanca. At one point in the movie, police captain Renault escorts a female refugee to Rick Blaine's nightclub, hoping Blaine can give her the money she needs to purchase travel visas for herself and her husband. When Blaine and the young woman meet for the first time, they have the following exchange:

Blaine: How did you get in here? You're under age.
Annina: I came with Captain Renault.
Blaine: (rolling his eyes) I should have known.
Annina: My husband is with me, too.
Blaine: He is? Well, Captain Renault's getting broadminded.

  • This was not a first for Humphrey Bogart. The year before, when he played Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, he repeatedly referred to the young gunman Wilmer as "the gunsel". Not many people knew that "gunsel" was prison slang for a passive partner at the time. Keep in mind, in the original novel, those characters were written explicitly as gay. For instance, Joel Cairo was called "queer" and a "fairy". The film, aside from his mannerisms, had him suggestively kiss his cane to telegraph he was gay.
    • This was a carryover from the book. Dashiel Hammett inserted the term in the book just to see if he could Get Crap Past His Editor. He did, and it made film history.
  • If one were to list all the Getting Crap Past the Radar moments in Mrs. Doubtfire (starring of course the one and only Trope Namer), it would take up half the page. However, special mention must be given to a line that many adults don't pick up on:
Gribenes, a byproduct of the preparation of schmaltz, are crisp chicken or goose skin cracklings with fried onions, a kosher food somewhat similar to pork rinds. And a mohel is, well, the man who performs the Jewish ritual of circumcision. In other words...
  • Groucho Marx was a master of this. (OK, George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind wrote the stuff, but Groucho made it work.)
    • One example, from Animal Crackers, has Captain Spaulding (Groucho) talking about his expedition to Africa: "We took some pictures of the native girls, but they weren't developed."
    • Also, in Horse Feathers, Groucho is a college professor giving a biology lecture. When the diagram he's using gets replaced by a poster of a horse, Groucho points to the back of it, does a brief double-take, and says, "That reminds me, I haven't seen my son all day."
    • When renting a canoe: "I wanted to get a flat bottom, but the girl in the boathouse didn't have one."
    • Groucho: (on why he was at the dorm) I'm the plumber. I'm just hanging around in case something goes wrong with her pipes. (to the audience) That's the first time I said that joke in twenty years.
    • In Go West, Chico and Harpo repeatedly steal dollar bills from Groucho's pockets. Groucho says "There's something corrupt going on around my pants and I want to get to the bottom of it."
  • The Last of the Mohicans was rated R for intense violence, completely missing the "kiss" scene that looks remarkably like Hawkeye and Cora are having sex.
  • Spider-Man
    • There's one in the first movie -- the morning when Peter wakes up after the infamous spider bite, he checks out his new muscles and abs in a mirror and yells to Aunt May "I'm... fine..." While she yells something else to him, he's looking straight down, presumably checking out something else, and yells back " Yeah... BIG change..."
    • Not to mention the bit where he accidentally squirts a sticky, stringy white fluid all over his room.
  • Another Cinderella Story
    • Dominique says she will never work with a certain man because he has a "serious case of the grab-hands". Later, she repeats this description for a woman she refuses to work with.
    • When Joey sets up a booth to find his "Cinderella" figure, a few boys get in the line, too. Joey's friend, Dustin drives them off, saying, "You are so not his dream girl!"
    • Dawson Casting is subverted when a video reveals that Joey is at least ten years older than his love interest, Mary, who is still in high school.
  • The (G-Rated, no less) 1972 disaster film Airport has one scene to show how bad the airport noise is in the Meadowwood Community, where a family is sitting down to dinner, and the father is praying. "We thank you, Lord, for this food, in the name of..." At this point the jetliner noise is so bad the house shakes, almost drowning out the man as he screams, "...Jesus Christ!"
  • Some Like It Hot pushed the Hays Code to the limit in several scenes.
    • At the end when "Daphne" gets a marriage proposal from a millionaire, "she" has to think up excuses why they can't go through with it.

Daphne: I can't get married in your mother's dress! She and I ... er ... we are not built the same way.
Osgood: We can have it altered.
Daphne: (visibly flinching) Oh, no you don't!

    • Topping this, however, are the final two lines:

Daphne: I'm a man!
Osgood: Well... nobody's perfect.

  • Good Burger: The head honcho of Mondo Burger sends a hot chick to "get the sauce out of Ed".
  • Jurassic Park: The lawyer wonders if the scientists on the facility tour are "autoerotica".
  • In the 1968 family film Yours, Mine and Ours, Colleen's boyfriend tries to pressure her into sex, although it's handled with appropriate subtlety until this exchange:

Frank: The same idiots were passing the same rumors when I was your age, but if all the girls did, how come I always ended up with the ones who didn't?
Colleen: But it's all different now!
Frank: I don't know, they wrote Fanny Hill in 1742 and they haven't found anything new since.
Colleen: Who's Fanny Hill?
Frank: Go to bed, that's who Fanny Hill is.

Matilda: It's a lovely book, actually. It's called Moby Dick.
Harry (her dad): Moby what?

    • During the scene when Miss Trunchbull falsely accuses Matilda of putting a newt into her cup of water.

Trunchbull: You didn't like the Chokey, did you? Thought you'd pay me back, didn't you? Well, I'll pay you back, young lady!
Matilda: For what, Miss Trunchbull?
Trunchbull: For this newt, you pissworm!!

  • The song Ignacio wrote in Nacho Libre after he was exiled from the monastery:

I ate some bugs, I ate some grass
I used my hand to wipe my... tears

    • No mention about the letter that mentioned "breaking their vows of celibacy".
  • In 1946, the Hays Code said that villains HAD to pay for their crimes in movies. However, Its a Wonderful Life gives us one of the most famous Karma Houdinis in cinematic history, when Mr. Potter completely gets away with his deeds. It was probably not noticed because of the otherwise very happy ending.
  • The preternaturally clean-cut AIP studio Beach Party movie series has a running gag with buffoonish bad guy Eric Von Zipper trying to master a mystical paralyzing finger-touch fighting technique -- he inevitably paralyzes himself every time, and a lackey says "He's given himself the finger again!"
  • Phantasm
    • Mike mouths the words "What the fuck?" upon seeing the Tall Man lift a heavy casket easily by himself. There's no audible dialogue in the scene, and the censors evidently didn't lip-read well enough to object to a twelve-year-old's potty mouth.
    • Then again, Phantasm may have broken the radar by having a topless woman stab a guy to death during sex. In a graveyard. In the first five minutes. Was that movie even rated? Theaters never seemed to show it before midnight.
  • The 1939 film version of The Women alluded to a certain five-letter word (which was used in the original play) this way:

Crystal Allen: There is a name for you, ladies, but it isn't used in high society... outside of a kennel.

  • Role Models brings attention to poetic usage this trope with the bit about the "whispering eye".
  • The 1934 film version of The Merry Widow, directed by Ernst Lubitsch, had minor cuts imposed on it as the Hays Code was starting to come into effect. Left in was the close-up during the trial scene of Danilo's handcuffs, which are personally engraved.
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army
    • There is a giant monster Forest Elemental whose body consists mostly of root-like tentacles, but they are still arranged like a humanoid body, with two "legs" and two "arms". Between the "legs" there's a much shorter tentacle. The animators must've had a blast, putting a giant monster penis clearly visible in a PG-13 movie.
    • Also Dr. Krauss's accent:

Krauss: Stay fockyoused on your job!
Hellboy: Oh, that word -- "fock-yoused"? Yeah, with your accent, I wouldn't use it that much.

    • Also the "Suck my ectoplasmic Schwanzstückerl" line.
  • In Adam's Rib, one part of the Bonners' home movie has them kissing while dropping into a barn out of sight. A gratuitously suggestive intertitle follows: "CENSORED!"
  • The Hays Code would allow especially lurid material, only if there were some kind of "value" to the film, educational or otherwise. So, lurid exploitation films could game the code by purporting to carry a moral warning. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why the "moral" message to films like Reefer Madness looks so boneheaded: it's completely cynical and artificial, and is present solely for the purpose of getting all the other crap in the film past the radar.
  • In the Three Stooges' You Nazty Spy as well as Malice in the Palace' and Rumpus in a Harem the boys discuss going "over the Giva Dam". Not bad for the time periods of the films.
  • The end credits of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban are done in the style of the Marauder's Map, including various pairs of feet representing people. At one point, there's what appears to be a small cupboard with two pairs of feet facing each other in very close proximity.
  • In the 1950s crime movie The Big Heat, the main character asks his wife how his daughter was that day. Their exchange goes something like this:

"She's so sweet during the day but at night she turns into a holy terror."
"You know, I could say the same thing about you."

  • The original Star Wars trilogy on a few occasions. The prequels are more family-friendly, but not completely.
  • Leni Riefenstahl's Olympiad has nudity. Though since it's showing eugenic perfection, the Nazis probably didn't mind.
  • Metropolis. The gentlemen's club is named Yoshiwara, after Tokyo's red light district.
  • Top Gun with its infamous homosexual innuendo, its pretty obvious sex scene (with pretty obvious TONGUES involved), and a certain photograph snuck into a pilot's locker room at the end is rated PG. I bet that makes you feel like Maverick just did a fly-by of your tower.
  • After watching Preston Sturges' classic comedy The Miracle of Morgans Creek, reviewer James Agee wrote, "The Production Code must have been raped in its sleep." How else do you explain a movie about a young woman who goes out with a bunch of soldiers, gets drunk, and can't remember what she did, except it turns out she's both married and pregnant? Not to mention the fact she has tries to trick the man who's been in love with her since they were kids into marrying her, so there's also bigamy involved. And that's not even mentioning the fact the whole movie is basically a satire on the Nativity story.
  • The Naked Gun series got away with a lot of sexual innuendos, the second one had a sex scene where different objects are shown that resemble a penis and orgasm. The first movie has a pair of buildings shaped like breasts with nipples. The definitive past the radar line has to be "Assault with a concrete dildo?"
  • Death Wish 3 apparently got through the MPAA mostly intact with an R-rating. It did get rated X but it was appealed down; however apparently one guy getting stab has been obviously edited.
  • How the original Halloween 2 got through the MPAA is unknown -- with scalding face baths, needles showing in people's eyes and being shoved into their skulls, a throat slashing and kid getting his body set on fire in a car explosion and up close shots of it. And all while Friday the 13 th Part 2 and The Burning had to edit themselves down.
  • In The Tuskegee Airmen, the new cadets are in the barracks getting to know each other and joking around. When they start on the subject of a particularly racist officer, someone says, "He's just another door in the way," and they start making coded insults. Someone calls out, "Another pecker in the woods!" ...It's not a woodpecker they're talking about. Actually a Multiple Reference Pun -- they're not just calling him a prick, "peckerwood" is a venerable slang term for "white trash", usually implying racism as well.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train had no shortage of themes that pushed the limits of the Hays Code, but a particularly shocking line occurs just after the protagonist's cheating wife has been through the Tunnel of Love with her two dates; as they're climbing out of the boat she stumbles and one of them says (paraphrased) "Don't break your leg, we've got a use for you later."
  • Subtle example in Bell Book and Candle: Shep declares to his ex-fiancée that her old college rival Gillian Holroyd is a witch, and she replies, "A witch? Shep, you just never learned to spell!"
  • Sixteen Candles manages this by inexplicably getting a PG rating with at least one use of "fucking" and a rather lengthy nude shower scene.
  • Singin in The Rain
    • Lina objecting that she "can't make love to a bush!"
    • Also, "Lemme guess: she's a simple girl of the people, you're a dashing aristocrat, and she won't even give you a tumbril. Hah!"
  • In |Scooby Doo, Shaggy hits it off with a pretty girl in the plane. She tells him her name is Mary Jane, and he happily says "That's my favorite name!" [dead link]. Now, remember that "Mary Jane" is a slang word or "marijuana", and all the jokes about Shaggy being a stoner made in the SD fandom now make sense...
    • There was also a scene early in the film where Shaggy and Scooby are in The Mystery Machine while thick clouds of smoke are coming out of it AND the marijuana themed song "Pass the kutchie" plays on the soundtrack. Of course, it turns out that they were just frying hot dogs on a grill inside the van, but still...
    • There are also two references to Velma's long supposed homosexuality (at least it seemed that way to this Troper): when her body is possessed by one of the film's demonic villains, Velma is seen dancing on top of a table in a bikini and surrounded by other scantily clad female dancers. Toward the end of the movie, when she's restored to her proper body, Velma gently rebuffs the advances of a guy who was coming on to her for most of the film. The reason she rejects him isn't specified, but we all know why.
  • Tron: Legacy (the remake-cum-sequel of the original 1980s movie Tron) gets away with actual mention of genocide and onscreen murder in a PG rated Disney film.
  • When Nineteen Forty One was broadcast on television (in the golden days before cable), there was this little exchange between Captain Kleinschmidt (Christopher Lee) and Slim Pickens[1]. One of the very few lines of foreign dialogue that does not come with subtitles.

Kleinschmidt: "Mach mit dem Scheiss! Das ist ein Befehl!" Literally, "Make with the shit! That's an order!"

  • Like the show, the 2011 movie The Muppets has some of this as parental bonuses, including casually replacing dirty lines of famous songs with simlish and Kermit jumping at the implication he "gives people the gift of children."
  • In the 2012 movie The Avengers towards the end of an interrogation scene between the villain Loki and the Black Widow, Loki angrily calls the Black Widow a "mewling quim," (an insult which Joss Whedon also got away with in Firefly) which is probably totally lost on an American audience. Quim is slang for the female genitalia in the UK, and the angry way Loki says it suggests it was used in this case as a synonym for "cunt", which would have been a major no-no. .
    • These days only an Eng Lit student or someone as old as this troper would recognise it (which, to be fair, fits in with Loki's archaic style.) But it's in the same pattern as using UK-English obscenities like "shag" and "bugger" on the assumption that Americans won't catch on.
    • Also prior to Loki's Precision Q Strike, Loki threatens to have a Brainwashed and Crazy Clint kill Natasha "slowly, intimately, in every way he knows [she] fears." Most kids would just accept that Loki's just threatening her with general harm, while their parents will recognize the implication that Loki would make Clint rape her before he killed her.
  • A mild one near the end of the second Iron Man film. The senator whom Tony made an ass of throughout the film is the one Fury got them for medal presentation. When Stern pins on Tony's medal, he intentionally stabs him with the pin and says the following line:

"Oh, sorry... it's funny... how annoying a little prick can be, isn't it?"

  1. who had swallowed a compass the I-boat's crew needed to return to Japan. Pickens had been force-fed prune juice and is seated on the head when Lee speaks