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Steven Spielberg says he regrets editing guns out of E.T. re-release | Ents & Arts News

Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg has said he regrets editing guns out of his classic 1980s movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

The 1982 theatrical cut includes a scene where police officers chase young children while holding firearms.

Spielberg edited the guns out of the 20th anniversary release of the film and replaced them with walkie talkies.

“That was a mistake,” Spielberg told a master class at the Time 100 Summit in New York City.

“I never should have done that.

“E.T. is a product of its era. No film should be revised based on the lenses we now are, either voluntarily, or being forced to peer through.

“‘E.T. was a film that I was sensitive to the fact that the federal agents were approaching kids with firearms exposed and I thought I would change the guns into walkie talkies.

“Years went by and I changed my own views.”

Spielberg added: “I should have never messed with the archives of my own work, and I don’t recommend anyone do that.

“All our movies are a kind of a signpost of where we were when we made them, what the world was like and what the world was receiving when we got those stories out there.

“So I really regret having that out there.”

Spielberg asked about Roald Dahl row

Spielberg’s regret over changing E.T. led the Time moderator to mention how books by Roald Dahl and other authors have been censored for containing what was regarded to be offensive language.

The books were republished with language considered to be more inclusive by today’s standards.

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Spielberg joked in reference to Dahl’s classic book Charlie And The Chocolate Factory: “Nobody should ever attempt to take the chocolate out of Willy Wonka! Ever!”

On a more serious note, he added: “For me, it is sacrosanct. It’s our history, it’s our cultural heritage. I do not believe in censorship in that way.”

E.T. picked up Oscars for best original score, best visual effects, best sound and best sound editing.

The film tells the story of an alien who befriends a young boy named Elliott after being left behind on Earth.

Spielberg most recently directed the 2022 movie The Fabelmans, which was nominated for seven Oscars, including best picture and best director.

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