“Don’ts and Be Carefuls” Is Published

Will Hays and the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association (later renamed the Motion Picture Association of America) publish the “Don’ts and Be Carefuls,” a list of topics movie producers should avoid:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that those things which are included in the following list shall not appear in pictures produced by the members of this Association, irrespective of the manner in which they are treated:

  1. Pointed Profanity – by either title or lip. This includes the words: God, Lord, Jesus, Christ (unless they be used reverently in connection with proper religious ceremonies), Hell, S.O.B., Damn, Gawd, and every other profane and vulgar expression however it may be spelled;
  2. Any licentious or suggestive nudity – in fact or in silhouette; and any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture;
  3. The illegal traffic in drugs;
  4. Any inference of sex perversion;
  5. White slavery;
  6. Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races);
  7. Sex hygiene and venereal diseases;
  8. Scenes of actual childbirth – in fact or in silhouette;
  9. Children’s sex organs;
  10. Ridicule of the clergy;
  11. Willful offense to any nation, race or creed; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that special care be exercised in the manner in which the following subjects are treated, to the end that vulgarity and suggestiveness may be eliminated and that good taste may be emphasized:

  1. The use of the Flag;
  2. International Relations (avoiding picturizing in an unfavorable light another country’s religion, history, institutions, prominent people, and citizenry);
  3. Religion and religious ceremonies;
  4. Arson;
  5. The use of firearms;
  6. Theft, robbery, safe-cracking, and dynamiting of trains, mines, buildings, etc. (Having in mind the effect which a too detailed description of these may have upon the moron);
  7. Brutality and possible gruesomeness;
  8. Technique of committing murder by whatever method;
  9. Methods of smuggling;
  10. Third Degree methods;
  11. Actual hangings or electrocutions as legal punishment for crime;
  12. Sympathy for criminals;
  13. Attitude toward public characters and institutions;
  14. Sedition;
  15. Apparent cruelty to children and animals;
  16. Branding of people or animals;
  17. The sale of women or of a woman selling her virtue;
  18. Rape or attempted rape;
  19. First night scenes;
  20. Man and woman in bed together;
  21. Deliberate seduction of girls;
  22. The institution of marriage;
  23. Surgical operations;
  24. The use of drugs;
  25. Titles or scenes having to do with law enforcement or law enforcing officers;
  26. Excessive or lustful kissing, particularly when one character or the other is a ‘heavy’.

To view more information on the image featured on this post, view the Library of Congress listing for this item.