Legendary director Steven Spielberg has spoken out against the notion of revising older films to fit modern sensibilities. In a recent appearance at Time's 100 Summit in New York, the Oscar-winning filmmaker shared his regret over a previous decision to edit his 1982 blockbuster "E.T." for its 20th anniversary release.
"That was a mistake," Spielberg stated at the Time 100 Summit. "I never should have done that because 'E.T.' was a product of its era." The director had previously altered a scene in which federal agents were depicted approaching children with firearms exposed, replacing the weapons with walkie-talkies.
"No film should be revised based on the lenses we now are, either voluntarily or being forced to peer through," he added. Despite his initial decision, Spielberg later expressed disappointment with the revision and announced in 2011 that the weapons would be restored for the film's 30th anniversary.
"I should have never messed with the archives of my own work, and I don’t recommend anyone do that," he said. "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."
Defending Literature's Integrity
During the summit, Spielberg was also asked about the controversial revision of Ronald Dahl's novel, which involved changing certain words. "Nobody should ever attempt to take the chocolate out of Willy Wonka!
Ever! And they shouldn’t take the chocolate or the vanilla, or any other flavor out of anything that has been written," he declared. "For me, it is sacrosanct. It’s our history, it’s our cultural heritage. I do not believe in censorship in that way," he added.
Spielberg believes that films and literature should remain true to their original form and not be altered to fit modern audiences. He considers the revision of "E.T." and other works to be a mistake and encourages others to preserve the integrity of their creations.