Jesse Sheidlower quoted by Ebert

Jesse T Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Mon Dec 20 10:15:35 UTC 1999

> In his movie answer column:
> Q. Now that it supplies roughly 5 percent of all the dialogue in R-rated
> movies, can you tell me when the f-word was first heard from the screen?
> Ronnie Barzell, Los Angeles
> A. The last time a reader asked that, neither the MPAA Code and Ratings
> Administration nor the Motion Picture Academy was able to supply the answer.
> Now we know. According to The F-Word, a new British reference edited by
> Jesse Sheidlower, the first movie to utter the word was Robert Altman's
> "MASH," released Jan. 25, 1970. Second place: Michael Sarne's "Myra
> Breckinridge," from June 1970. Both were rated R.

The amusing thing about this response, aside from the identification of
the book as British, is that I spent quite a bit of effort trying to
track down the answer to this by asking the MPAA and similar people,
and they had no idea. I also interviewed a number of film critics, who
suggested I call the MPAA. The movies I came up with may not be the
earliest--and as I pointed out, there were avant-garde films that used
it earlier--but they were the best I could do under the circumstances.

Jesse Sheidlower
Oxford English Dictionary
<jester at>

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