Trigger warning: Two James Bond movies have been given content warnings ahead of their showing at the BFI (Picture: Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
Multiple James Bond movies have been given trigger warnings by the BFI amid fears the films could cause offence.
In celebration of Bond composer John Barry, the British Film Institute is presenting a series of films he worked on the soundtrack for, including two Bond films, with John Barry: Soundtracking Bond and Beyond.
Both Bond movies – You Only Live Twice and Goldfinger – and the other films airing have been slapped with blanket disclaimers on the BFI website, warning they may ‘contain language, images or other content that reflect views prevalent in its time, but will cause offence today (as they did then).
‘The titles are included here for historical, cultural or aesthetic reasons and these views are in no way endorsed by the BFI or its partners.’
You Only Live Twice, first released in 1967, also gets a second specific trigger, as it famously depicts Sean Connery trying to pass himself off as Japanese, and warns it ‘contains outdated racial stereotypes.’
Some of the earlier Bond movies contain content that ‘will cause offence today’ (Picture: Bettmann Archive)
Many of composer John Barry’s films are being shown, each containing the blanket trigger warnings (Picture: Getty Images)
Approached for comment by Metro.co.uk, a BFI spokesperson confirmed ‘trigger warnings pop up at point of sale when confirming tickets and appear in our printed guide and website copy related to the season.’
A spokesperson added: ‘As a cultural charity with responsibility for the preservation of film and moving image work and presenting it to audiences, we continuously face and deal with challenges presented by the history of film and television programmes and how they reflect views prevalent to their time.
‘Whilst we have a responsibility to preserve films as close to their contemporaneous accuracy as possible, even where they contain language or depiction which we categorically reject, we also have a responsibility in how we present them to our audiences.’
You Only Live Twice depicts actor Connery attempting to pass off as Japanese (Picture: Corbis via Getty Images)
They said the trigger warnings they provide ‘act as guidance that a film or work reflects views of the time in which they were made and which may cause offence.’
‘We continuously review our processes around the presentation of film and moving image work to make improvements and support audience trust. We listen to customer feedback and also continue to work closely with the BBFC and their classifications to give appropriate guidance. This work is by its nature on-going.’
It comes after reports publishers of the original James Bond books were set to ‘rewrite’ parts of it to remove offensive language from the novels.
Ian Fleming penned the first James Bond instalment, Casino Royale, in 1953 before the series went on to become a blockbuster movie franchise; however some of the content in Fleming’s books haven’t aged well with some using the N-word, featuring other racial connotations and offensive references to homosexuality.
In February last year, it was reported the books would be reprinted with a disclaimer reading: ‘This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace.
The original James Bond novels were reported to be getting a rewrite with some more offensive phrases replaces (Picture: Shutterstock)
‘A number of updates have been made in this edition, while keeping as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set.’
It was believed references to Black people would now be replaced with ‘Black person’ or ‘Black man’ instead of the other derogatory terms used to describe them.
However, references to other ethnicities and the phrases ‘sweet tang of rape’ and the description of homosexuality as a ‘stubborn disability’ were expected to remain.
In response to the reports, a spokesperson at Ian Fleming Publications told The Telegraph: ‘We at Ian Fleming Publications reviewed the text of the original Bond books and decided our best course of action was to follow Ian’s lead. We have made changes to Live and Let Die that he himself authorised.
‘Following Ian’s approach, we looked at the instances of several racial terms across the books and removed a number of individual words or else swapped them for terms that are more accepted today but in keeping with the period in which the books were written.’
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