Steven Spielberg Regrets Removing Guns From ‘E.T.’: ‘That Was A Mistake’

Steven Spielberg
Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME

Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg disagrees with remaking old films and rewriting books to appease modern audiences.

The 76-year-old director admitted that he regrets updating his classic film, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” in 2002, twenty years after it debuted in theaters in 1982.

The movie’s original cut includes a scene of police officers chasing young kids with firearms. Spielberg chose to edit the guns out for the 20th-anniversary release of the film, replacing the weapons with walkie-talkies.

“That was a mistake. That was a mistake,” Spielberg said at the Time 100 Summit Tuesday. “I never should have done that because ‘E.T.’ was a product of its era. No film should be revised based on the lenses we now are, either voluntarily or being forced to peer through,” he said.

“‘E.T.’ was a film that I was sensitive to the fact that the federal agents were approaching kids with firearms exposed and I thought I would change the guns into walkie-talkies. Years went by and I changed my own views,” Spielberg told the audience.

“I should never have messed with the archive of my own work, and I don’t recommend anybody really do that,” he said. “All our movies are a kind of measuring – 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.”

The conversation led to Spielberg expressing his disagreement about editing Roald Dahl’s books to remove “offensive” language.

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


It was announced in February that several of Dahl’s books would be updated. The Roald Dahl Story Co. acknowledged it had worked with Inclusive Minds, which monitors children’s literature for inclusion, diversity, and accessibility, as The Daily Wire previously reported.

In March, “Goosebumps” series author R.L. Stine said he never approved apparent changes that were made to some of his children’s books, which Scholastic said was done in service of mental health. 

“When re-issuing titles several years ago, Scholastic reviewed the text to keep the language current and avoid imagery that could negatively impact a young person’s view of themselves today, with a particular focus on mental health,” Scholastic said in a statement

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Steven Spielberg Regrets Removing Guns From ‘E.T.’: ‘That Was A Mistake’