Vietnam Censors Cut All Sex Scenes in 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Fifty Shades of Grey - H 2014
Universal Pictures

Fifty Shades of Grey - H 2014

The local censors reportedly reduced the film's running time by 20 minutes.

Fifty Shades of Grey continues to make headlines around the world, in some cases for the wrong reasons. Censors in Vietnam have allowed the release of the film in the country, but only after cutting all the sex scenes. All of them. 

The Independent reports that after being banned in Indonesia, Cambodia and Malaysia, Vietnamese moviegoers were surprised that the film adaptation of EL James' erotic bestseller would get a release in their culturally conservative country. However, Vietnam's censor cut all scenes it deemed sensitive, meaning all that are sexual in nature, cutting the running time of the erotic drama by 20 minutes.

"The film was promoted a lot, so it made us excited and curious," said moviegoer Xuan Thao to The Independent. Thao, like thousands of other Vietnamese, lined up to see Fifty Shades when it opened on Valentine's Day. "We wanted to see what all the fuss was about." 

Thao added: "It's totally ridiculous. … This version is rated 16+, but it doesn't need an age restriction; a 5-year-old could watch it. Even the trailer was sexier. They'd have been better banning it altogether."

Other moviegoers were more vocal in their anger. Bien Thuy Nguyen told The Independent that audience members were shouting and complaining when she went to see the film. "They should have had a notice to say it had been edited. No one knew what was going on [in the story], especially if they had no idea about what BDSM is, or if they hadn't read the book," said Nguyen.

If the lack of anything risque in an erotic drama wasn't maddening enough, Vietnamese moviegoers were left completely confused by the omission of a key scene at the end of the film — the scene where Anastasia asks Christian to "punish" her and he does so by aggressively whipping her with his belt. The Vietnamese version of the film cuts this scene altogether, rejoining the drama at the point where a tearful and devastated Anastasia decides to leave Christian. 

Vietnamese moviegoers told The Independent that they believed the government allowed the release of Fifty Shades to appear more liberal, modern and open. However, the country's censors were not prepared to back off and the resulting film, which has soared past $500 million globally, has flopped at the Vietnamese box office.