8 Hilariously Awesome Movie Disclaimers
by David Christopher Bell
Sometimes it’s not enough to simply present your movie without remark, so over the years filmmakers and censors have devised various ways to make sure we know exactly what we are seeing before, or sometimes after we see it.
Other times they get bored and, like anyone bored at work, decide to have a little fun with the process.
8. The Great Dictator Disavows Any Resemblance Between Charlie Chaplin And Charlie Chaplin
The Great Dictator achieved something that no other comedy can ever dream to. After all, we can mock Hitler until the cows come home, but we’ll never get the opportunity to do it while he was alive to hear it. And supposedly, Hitler probably did see this film. That makes the opening disclaimer that much more funnier when the film claims, “any resemblance between Hynkel the dictator and the Jewish barber is purely coincidental”.
A gag aimed toward the fact that they are not only played by the same person, but that Hynkel is clearly meant to resemble Hitler – the monster who stole Chaplin’s amazing mustache amongst other, way worse atrocities.
7. Cannibal! The Musical Pretends To Care About Violence
This film reminds me of the pre-Monty Python How to Irritate People in that it’s a chill-inducing larval stage for something that’s going to downright define its generation of humor. Right away you get their first of many sarcastic disclaimers as the film claims the violence has been edited out for viewing pleasure before immediately cutting to a horrifically violent scene.
And then right after the end credits we get a “Due to the graphic nature of this film, it should not have been watched by small children.”
I love that this was technically a student film.
6. Ed Wood Spoofs Countless Horror Disclaimers
While the film is clearly spoofing the specific opening to Plan 9 From Outer Space, it really speaks to any of the old black and white “this movie will shock you” warnings they used to pull off. One of the more famous versions that comes to mind is the opening to the 1931 Frankenstein where Edward Van Sloan comes out and warns us of the terror to come.
While there’s a lot to love about 30s horror, I think there’s something hilariously counterintuitive to a scary movie boasting how scary it’s going to be moments before you’re actually going to see it. It’s as if they’re scared we’re not going to know unless they tell us first, and if the movie isn’t scary than the dude at the beginning just comes across as a total wuss after the fact.
5. Andy Kaufman Kicks Us Out of Man On The Moon
It’s never a good sign if your jokey disclaimer kind of has a point about the film being wildly inaccurate. That said, Andy Kaufman always had a Houdini quality to him in that the greatest strength to his legacy was forged in total bullshit. But not in a bad way.
For example, look no further than Bob Zmuda’s appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast in which he tells so many insane stories that you can’t figure out where the truth ends and the hyperbole starts. Even Maron is clearly flustered by it. Still, his story about Norman Wexler is the most amazing thing I’ve ever wished to be true.
4. Dogma Apologizes To Platypus Enthusiasts
This film was protested before people even knew what it was – but part of the fun of that was Kevin Smith’s opportunity to address anyone who might show offense at the beginning of the film, pointing out that God must have a keen sense of humor as evidenced by the existence of the platypus.
He had a point, to which he quickly issued a follow up disclaimer to anyone who might find the remarks on the platypus offensive – thus toppling the whole thing down. After so much protest hype, it was the perfect welcoming text to a perfectly harmless film.
3. Fight Club Has All Sorts Of Insane Disclaimers
This movie can’t go more than a few minutes without injecting some kind of sinister subliminal into your eyeballs – so much so that it bleeds out to even the FBI warning at the beginning of the DVD. The message, clearly written by Mr. Durden, is the following:
Along with that were two promotional “PSA” disclaimers meant to go up in movie theaters featuring both Tyler and the narrator issuing various tips on finding emergency exits and never letting someone touch you in your swimsuit area. Basically the best thing ever.
2. The Ridiculously Specific MPAA Ratings Justifications
It’s quite hard to tell if the MPAA is actually messing with us or they have such a blunt view of the world that they have no idea when they’re being funny. Since they’ve been specifically listing reasons behind their ratings, we’ve gotten such gems as:
- “Intense depiction of very bad weather” for Twister
- “Non-stop ninja action” for 3 Ninjas Knuckle Up
- “Bawdy puppet show” for Jefferson In Paris.
- The Team America disclaimer that specifies all the violence and sex only involves puppets
- Indian In The Cupboard features “sexy dancing”
This makes me want to hire the MPAA to rate my entire life after I die. That way, etched on my grave it could say, “Rated R for strong language, graphic nudity, and some brief, kind of sad sensuality. Mostly involving puppets.”
1. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters Kicks The Crap Out Of Opening Disclaimers
Guys, freaking Mastodon. They got Mastodon to do their opening jingle. This is one of those ideas every writer wishes they thought of first but knows that there’s no humanly possible way they would have. If you haven’t seen it, see it now – it’s the best, most cathartic damning of everyone that’s ever annoyed you in a movie theater. Plus a nice, polite, anti-piracy message.
Really though, there’s no better deterrent against piracy than simply making people love you too much to steal your shit. Threatening to tear their wife in half also helps.