The Wolf of Wall Street is already infamous for its racy scenes and questionable language. Critics say it glorifies controversial topics like drugs, sex and monetary greed, and the three-hour movie contains more than 500 utterances of the f-word.
While all of this can still make it to the big screen in the United States and most other countries, audiences in the United Arab Emirates will miss out on the full effect. Audiences in places like Dubai get to see just three-quarters of the movie, as censors have cut a full 45 minutes out.
Censors in the UAE typically cut out excessive nudity and scenes deemed blasphemous or harmful to national security, Juma al-Leem, director of media content at the National Media Center, told the Associated Press. However, this is typically done on a case-by-case basis, and the final version often varies by area.
Al-Leem said the heavy edits in this case were done by Gulf Film, a regional distributor of Paramount and Universal titles. While UAE censorship officials did approve of Gulf Film’s edited version, they believed the cuts to be excessive as audiences could no longer “feel the soul of the film.”
Places like Dubai tend to be less conservative than neighboring areas, and many of the cut scenes would have been acceptable to Dubai’s audiences. Al-Leem would have preferred each country to make censorship decisions rather than see everyone in the region with the same heavily edited version.
Moviegoers in Dubai reported that profanities were also erased from the movie. Censors either temporarily muted the sound or actually removed the word by chopping it out of the scene.
Viewers said the heavy censoring left the movie with a jarring effect and a difficult-to-follow plot. According to the AP, one woman wrote on the Facebook page of a Dubai theater company that she and her friend walked out of the movie after just 40 minutes because the movie was incoherent and unwatchable.