1951 February 4

The Right to See a Film: Religious Leaders Protest Film Censorship


Thirty-nine religious leaders, including Protestant ministers and Jewish Rabbis, on this day urged the New York State Board of Regents not to revoke the license of the controversial Italian film, The Miracle. The article in The New York Times did not mention the well-known fact that leaders of the Catholic Church were leading the fight to ban the film. The controversy eventually ended at the U.S. Supreme Court when, in the landmark decision Burstyn v. Wilson, decided on May 26, 1952  and which involved The Miracle, the Court ruled that movies were a form of expression protected by the First Amendment.

Learn more: Frank Walsh, Sin and Censorship: The Catholic Church and the Motion Picture Industry (1996)

Learn About The Miracle and the case: Laura Wittern-Keller and Raymond Haberski, The Miracle Case (2009)

Learn more about state-level movie censorship: http://moviehistory.us/introduction-to-state-movie-censorship.html

Learn more at a timeline on movie censorship: https://www.aclu.org/files/multimedia/censorshiptimeline.html

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