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Steven Spielberg regrets editing guns out of ‘E.T.’, says ‘no film should be revised based on the lens’ of today

Steven Spielberg at the 95th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on March 12, 2023, in Los Angeles. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Steven Spielberg has one major regret for the movie that defined his career.

The Oscar-winning director has revealed that editing firearms out of the 20th-anniversary edition of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” was something he wishes he hadn’t done.

During the TIME100 Summit in New York City this week, he explained how a scene in the 1982 original in which federal agents chase young kids with guns was edited to instead feature walkie-talkies in the 2002 release.

“That was a mistake. I never should have done that,” Spielberg, 76, said. “E.T. is a product of its era, and no film should be revised based on the lenses we now are either voluntarily or being forced to peer through.”

“The Fablemans” filmmaker, who first experienced blockbuster success with “Jaws” years before “E.T.,” admitted he was content with his decision at the time, but that his views have changed since then.

“I should never have messed with the archive of my own work, and I don’t recommend anybody do that,” he shared. “All our movies are kind of a measuring, sort of a signpost, of where we were when we made them, and what the world was like, what the world was receiving when we got those stories out there. So I really regret that.”

Spielberg went on to say that we shouldn’t apply today’s standards to any of yesterday’s work.

“For me, [art] is sacrosanct. It’s something that is our history, it’s our cultural heritage,” he said. “I do not believe in censorship that way.”

The 30th Anniversary Blu-ray edition of “E.T.” restored the footage with guns.


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