Values Dissonance: Film


  • Meta-example: Cheering in the cinema is generally more accepted in America than in the UK (hence the "mfw Americans clap" meme), though there are exceptions.
    • Japan is even worse about this. Clapping during a performance is considered quite rude as you are distracting from the show. Live performers such as Cirque Du Soliel were actually coached about this as they were used to boisterous applause after every major trick.
  • Another meta-example: Voiceover singing in Hollywood vs. Bollywood. American audiences frown on the practice, viewing it as inauthentic and cheating (one of the reasons Audrey Hepburn lost the Best Actress Oscar for My Fair Lady was because she didn't do her own singing). In Bollywood it's openly acknowledged and accepted actors are dubbed over to the point where one woman, Lata Mangeshkar, has been providing the singing voice for every female actress in every major Bollywood movie for over four decades and is a celebrity in her own right.
  • The Western Ride With The Devil, starring Tobey Maguire, was destroyed at the box office thanks to Values Dissonance. The movie portrays an African American fighting on the side of southern guerrillas in the Kansas border skirmishes of the Civil War. Although the character had a historically factual precedent, the idea of a black soldier fighting for the Confederacy was so repugnant that the film was delayed, promotional materials were destroyed, and the release was severely limited (in the actual Confederacy most of the black soldiers were slaves forced into service by their masters though, so it's not as if they were all willing anyway).
  • In Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, the older monk catches the younger having sex with a girl who has come for medicine, and kicks her out, warning him that lust and desire will inevitably lead him to murder. The younger monk ignores him and follows her... "inevitably", he kills her a few years later.
  • The Breakfast Club:
    • A teenager brings a flare gun to school so he can commit suicide (or at least destroy a shop project at which he failed). His punishment is a Saturday of detention when it goes off in his locker. In today's zero-tolerance environment, he likely would have been expelled and/or slapped with court-ordered psychiatric therapy for the rest of the school year (and maybe beyond that if he decides to go to college or the military).
    • Both Bender and Andy use the word "fag/faggot" without being punished or reprimanded for it. Today, the word is seen as an insult almost on par with the N-word, but in The '80s, the term would essentially be seen as just another swear, and doesn't imply that either of them were gay-bashers.
    • There is a relatively minor case regarding the fact that Claire brought sushi for lunch, which serves as a symbol of how wealthy and elitist her family is. Back in the '80s sushi was a far more exotic and expensive dish, but over the years it's become more affordable and gained more mainstream popularity. Granted, as a school lunch it's still out of the ordinary, but not quite to the extent that it was at the time the film was released.
    • Bender's advances on Claire were to show off his jerkass nature, but he eventually gets the girl in the end. Today, such actions would earn the ire of some modern audience members, who would claim it is trivializing sexual harassment.
  • Heathers, a film about teens that actually do kill each other, would have a hard time getting greenlit after Columbine and in our 24/7 media age, especially as a comedy. However, even by 1980s standards, it's hard to believe a student firing a revolver at another pair of students while in the school cafeteria wouldn't be looking at an expulsion. Hell, they'd be more than expelled, they could be charged with assault in a criminal court, or sued for it in a civil court. The movie suggests he was merely suspended because they were blanks.
  • Going way back, The Birth of a Nation (and by extension, the novel it was based on, The Clansman by Thomas Dixon) features the Ku Klux Klan as the good guys, complete with a Big Damn Heroes moment towards the end of the story. This film went on to be so influential that for decades, the director had an honorary award named after him at the Oscars. The film is now rarely seen outside of film classes thanks to Values Dissonance making it unwatchable to anyone except a film student learning the state of the art in 1915.
  • Agnes' fate at the end of Auntie Mame definitely qualifies for this trope. She finds herself impregnated and accidentally married to a sexual predator who got her drunk and led her to the altar because he thought she was a rich noblewoman. This is supposed to be a happy ending, because it means that she's not, as she gravely feared, an unwed mother. It is worth noting that in a later, musical version of the play, this part was changed. Instead of being married to the guy who knocked her up, Agnes is sent to live in a home for unwed mothers... that was founded and set up by Aunt Mame herself, specifically to help Agnes. (And to tick off the snooty rich family whose property was next door to the future site of said home.)
  • A lot of the Sean Connery Bond movies suffer from this, including Sex Face Turn, really Disposable Women, and Slap-Slap-Kiss. This dissonance was increased in The Man with the Golden Gun, when Roger Moore tries to slap around women. They are still toned down from what exists in the books. You only have to read a few other British thrillers of the early 20th Century (something by Dennis Wheatley, say) to realize that Ian Fleming was quite liberal for his time.
    • Truth in Television due to Sean Connery's unapologetic defence of hitting women and accusations made by his ex wife
    • There are quite a few ethnic stereotypes as well. Even Dr No, which was fairly advanced for its day in its portrayal of a black man, has a scene where Bond asks Quarrel (who is black) to "fetch my shoes," in a rather presumptuous and condescending manner. In Goldfinger, Goldfinger himself tells Bond that Koreans are the "cruelest people in the world" and are thus perfect for being evil minions.
    • Film critic Matt Zoller Seitz discusses his dismay at a 2012 audience's comedic reaction to a screening From Russia with Love, due to the 1963 film's social mores and retro sexuality, arguing that the film needs to be taken in the context it was intended. As a counterpoint, writer John Perch argues the audience's laughter and incredulity was a perfectly naturally response, stating basically that society had marched on and to attempt to view the movie as someone from 1963 might have is, essentially, role-playing rather than the genuine moviegoing experience someone from 1963 would have had.
  • In The Philadelphia Story
    • Spoiled heiress Tracy Lord is given a major set-down by her father... who cheated on her mother and blames it on Tracy's lack of affection for him. Yes, he effectively tells Tracy her parents' divorce was her fault. And she thanks him for the smackdown in the end.
    • At the beginning of the movie, C. K. Dexter Haven (played by Cary Grant) angrily throws Tracy Lord to the ground. At the time, this was probably considered amusing. Now, not so much.
  • In the 1968 film Yours Mine And Ours, with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, generally considered a G-rated, family values classic, there are several "Wait... what?" moments. Early in the film, three boys, aged about 14 to 18 get their father's potential next wife drunk by spiking her drink. In yet another scene, Ball gets angry at one of her sons, and grabs him up for an immediate and prolonged spanking.
    • Fonda's character calls his children on the carpet for their little prank. He is NOT amused. (If I remember, the kids were trying to sabotage the budding relationship.)
  • 1955's Picnic — the moral of the story is, if you are a young woman, get married now, even if it's to the drifter you met the day before, otherwise you'll end up desperate and pathetic like your neighbor, Rosalind Russell.
  • The original Pink Panther films run into this with how Inspector Clouseau speaks of his Chinese manservant, e.g., "Cato, my little yellow friend, I'm home!" (On the other hand, Clouseau is an arrogant idiot, so this ignorance may well stem from that.)
    • This is what probably inspired a scene from 2008's The Pink Panther 2 where Clouseau gets in trouble for calling a Japanese man "my little yellow friend".
  • In the classic screwball romantic comedy It Happened One Night, Clark Gable confronts Claudette Colbert's millionaire father, telling him that what his daughter needs most is "a guy that'd take a sock at her once a day, whether it's coming to her or not.". Since the father has previously taken a sock at his daughter himself, he recognizes this as the voice of true love.
  • In Yankee Doodle Dandy, when George M. Cohan does his number, "Off the Record," in the play I'd Rather Be Right. The sight of Cohan's character, who is obviously supposed to be Franklin D. Roosevelt, gyrating around wildly comes off today as rather mocking of the President who was a paraplegic, albeit one who carefully hid his disability at that time.
    • And that's not even mentioning the one scene where a young Cohan, with his parents and sister, perform a show in blackface.
  • The Jazz Singer features a hero who must escape the confines of his conservative Jewish father to realize his own dream of self-expression... by performing in blackface.
  • The Japanese film The Homeless Student invokes this with its own Aesop at the end. The neglectful father abandons his children after they're thrown out of their apartment, because he had been gambling and hadn't paid the bills. It's presented as a lighthearted "keep up the Masquerade" comedy when the main character, a teenage boy, is reduced to living in a park, but there's little that's lighthearted about his situation. He's starved, rained-on, scrabbles for change under vending machines, stoned by little children and eventually becomes so hungry he eats grass, and then cardboard. His younger sister is nearly molested. At the end of the film, he thanks his father because he realizes he was trying to teach him a lesson in living independently, and that his mother stunted his growth as a person by giving him too much attention.
  • Similar to the Dan Fogelberg example listed at the Music page, and also from 1981, was the movie Arthur, which played the title character's alcoholism and resultant drunken behavior for laughs; he is even seen drinking while driving at one point. The movie was rated PG, as the PG-13 rating didn't exist at that time; the MPAA's current restrictions on drug content would net it the higher rating now — the 2011 Russell Brand-led remake got a PG-13.
  • This Three Stooges short features them hunting Japanese-American escapees from a relocation center. The characterizations are about as stereotypical and offensive as they come, but quite par for the course in WWII era films.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's features Mickey Rooney as wacky Japanese neighbor Mr. Yunioshi, complete with yellowface, buck teeth and thick glasses that look like they were lifted directly from a WWII propaganda poster. At the time, this was acceptable comic relief.
    • Another case where it was changed: in the story the film is based on, Peppard's character lets Holly go. This was considered too depressing an ending for a film.
    • Truman Capote, who wrote the same-named novel the film was based on, vocally expressed his disgust at Mickey Rooney's being cast as the Japanese character, so at least the original author also found that offensive.
  • Amazon Women on the Moon lampshaded this when parodying 1950s science fiction films:
    Astronaut: "Where I come from, no woman is complete without a man."
  • The ending of McLintock! shows that the main character turning his wife over his knee and spanking her has had a positive affect on their marriage, though admittedly up to that point she'd been a bit of a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • In the movie Spanglish. Towards the end Flor decided to take her daughter Cristina out of the high standard private feeder school where she had a full ride and put her back into the black hole that is the California public school system. Why? Basically because she didn't think it was Hispanic enough. So apparently the moral of the story was that it's okay to do something with significant negative implications for your child's future so long as it alleviates your own cultural concerns and insecurities.
    • Even worse, it implies that being Hispanic and being successful are mutually exclusive.
    • It's hard to see that as negative implications for the child's future when the film implies she is accepted to Princeton. The whole point of the movie was contrasting this well-off family where the mother doesn't seem to notice her children (except to shame her daughter for being overweight) with Flor's relationship with Cristina. Maybe qualifies as Unfortunate Implications because Flor doesn't want Cristina to adopt the values of the Clasky family, who are white, but it seemed to this troper like an in-universe example of Values Dissonance based more on financial status.
  • In the Shirley Temple film Bright Eyes, to cap off the final scene, a bratty girl named Joy (who had been mean to Shirley Temple throughout the film) is slapped in the face by her mother. This happens in a courtroom in front of a judge. While completely acceptable at the time, slapping a child in the face in public would not likely be seen as a positive thing today.
  • In the film version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, McMurphy's crime is sleeping with a fifteen-year-old, which is treated with the same weight as the fights he gets into...which it was, in The Seventies. The modern Pedo Hunt makes the audience lose a lot of sympathy for him right off the bat.
  • Live Wire a 1992 action film, includes a scene where main character and explosives expert Danny O'Neill creates a homemade bomb out of household chemicals, clearly demonstrating exactly how to do so and what raw materials are needed. Good luck making that post-9/11.
  • My Baby Is Black. The title of the movie and the fact that it is treated as something unbelievably horrible by the narrator says it all. You'd almost think that the trailer was a joke. The movie actually portrays the interracial couple sympathetically and is against racism. Granted the trailer doesn't do a very good job of showing that.
  • In an example that might combine this with Deliberate Values Dissonance is the older Albert Finney film Gumshoe. Finney's character acts as if he lives in a Hardboiled Detective story, and he makes a habit of calling the Scary Black Man things like a "spade" or "Mighty Joe Young". While these slurs can be partly attributed to the whole "1930s detective attitude", the film doesn't really seem to treat the protagonist as racist. On the other hand, a modern audience is likely to applaud when he gets sucker-punched by the Scary Black Man for one of these comments.
    • Which, in itself, smacks of Unfortunate Implications when rude comments are responded to with physical violence.
    • Depends on the country. In many areas it is perfectly legal to hit someone over "fighting words." See the other wiki for details.
  • In Casablanca, Ilsa refers to Sam, the middle-aged black pianist in Rick's club, as a "boy", a common mild racial slur at the time.
  • In Police Academy 5, Commandant Lassard is greeted by a Russian Commandant, who kisses him three times on the face, perfectly acceptable in most European countries. North Americans, on the other hand, are creeped out by it (including Lassard).
  • Gone with the Wind is full of this, of course, starting with the film's title and central premise, that the passing of an oligarchic slave-based society was something to be mourned. Then there's the racist caricature of lazy, shrieking, incompetent Prissy. Another example is the scene where Rhett forces his now-wife Scarlett into bed with him... and she likes it. The book is even worse—the Klan are good guys who avenge Scarlett after she's attacked by blacks. And, of course, the utterly shocking words, never before spoken on film: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"
    • Of course, the character of Mammy represents a case of Fair for Its Day wrapped up in the values dissonance. Mammy is a stock character, but well done and treated with respect, and black actors and actresses were rarely seen at all on film during that period:
    Hattie McDaniel (after receiving an Oscar for the role): "I'd rather play a maid than be a maid!"
    • The Values Dissonance is Lampshaded in an episode of Chappelle's Show. Paul Mooney plays the lone black panelist on a film review show, and is utterly appalled when the white female critics ignore the blatant racism and praise the film for presenting a strong, "feminist" heroine.
  • In Topsy Turvy, William Gilbert has to deal with an actor who has a hissy fit over his costume which seems too "revealing," even though by modern audiences' eyes, it is demure. Furthermore, with Method Acting stars like Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep becoming well known and respected for the lengths they will go to be in character, this actor sounds childishly unprofessional.
  • The central storyline of 1971 film of On The Buses is that the bus company hire female drivers and the male drivers deliberately disrupt their work and make their lives a misery. What makes this questionable is that the male drivers are shown as likable heroes and the women as harpies who deserve to get fired. The unattractive appearance of the women who do traditionally male jobs probably wouldn't happen today either. The film also shows men groping women without their permission but the women finding this humorous rather than being upset or offended by it.
  • Similarly the Carry On films sometimes showed men groping women without their permission but the women enjoying it
  • In the 1950s classic The Dam Busters, the code for a successful hit on the target is the name of the squadron commander's beloved black labrador, who was struck and killed by a motorcar right before the strike was launched. The dog's name? Nigger.
    • This issue was complicated by the fact that the historical dog had that name in real life. It's sometimes, and sometimes not, dubbed on television showings into Trigger. There was a certain amount of "it's PC gone mad" controversy when news of a remake did the rounds in 2009; the producers were planning to call the dog "Nigsy" instead.
    • The remake's still being talked about, and the latest news is that they intend to call him "Digger".
  • In the Stephen Chow film King Of Comedy (1999), one of the running gags is that one of the neighborhood's little boys runs around naked all the time. This is creepy enough to an American audience, but there's one scene where Stephen's character stops what he's doing to play with the boy. A guy who was imitating Stephen's cues while confronting a gangster looks back to see him tickle the boy's penis with a stick and again to see him flick it with his finger ...and then copies both acts. Imagine trying to film that in the states.
  • What's New Pussycat? is a cheeky ribald romp from the newly unfettered 1960s - its intent was to be outrageous, and it perhaps got more so with time. It features a quick flashback to a teacher-student affair ("Oh, Michael, this can't work - I'm 34 and you're 12!" - having star Peter O'Toole in schoolboy drag makes it less creepy - or maybe more so), a crazy psychiatrist who repeatedly sexually assaults a patient, and an unstable exotic dancer (named Liz Bien - get it?) who tries committing suicide a few times.
  • In Babes in Toyland, the toys featured in the 1934 Laurel and Hardy version of the movie would not pass government safety regulations (or most parents' standards) today: steel-tipped darts launched by a catapult, anyone?
  • In Miracle on 34th Street, everyone is perfectly fine with a little girl being left in the care of the dashing stranger across the hall. To be fair the housekeeper was keeping an eye on them though the windows.
    • The remake elevated him to the level of Doris's longtime boyfriend who presumably already had a ring in his back pocket.
  • In The Wild World of Batwoman, the titular heroine initiates a seance in an attempt to find the movie's villain, only to get interrupted by a stereotypical Chinese spirit, complete with "Ching-chang"-type speak. When it was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike and the Bots are horribly offended and Mike actually apologizes for the scene after it ends.
    Batwoman "I have to inform you that no-one here is familiar with Oriental languages."
    Tom Servo "Hey, that's Asian languages, sister."
    • MST3K ran headlong into another example with the short "Catching Trouble", a 1936 documentary about a hunter who catches animals for zoos. The narration makes it clear that he's a man among men who bends nature to his will; Joel and the Bots, however, just see a cruel bully harassing innocent animals, and cheer for the animals to escape. And that's not even getting into his "loyal Seminole" sidekick...
    • Generally MST3K frequently riffs on the mores and attitudes portrayed in its subject films.
  • Thelma & Louise the two women fleeing the crime scene because there was no evidence to suggest Harlan was raping Thelma? Not likely to happen today where rape allegations are taken much more seriously.
  • The Happy Ending of His Majesty O Keefe sees the protagonist, a former Evil Colonialist whose machinations got dozens of people killed and nearly destroyed the island of Yap, having a Heel Realization and telling the island's natives to go their own way. Instead, they choose to keep him on as king, plus he gets the girl.
  • The Children's Hour is about two women's schoolhouse being shut down over the flimsiest of insinuations that they are lesbians. They also lose a libel lawsuit even though there's no evidence of the rumor's validity.
  • Tomboy centers around a ten year old girl masquerading as a boy, and features multiple scenes with her shirtless or even just naked. Despite the fact she doesn't have any breasts yet, the notion of a girl over 5 years old with her shirt off in public doesn't settle with a lot of people, from country to country.
  • Meta-example concerning Enemy at the Gates: Western audiences found it a grim retelling of one of history's most brutal battles. Russian audiences thought it was far too light-hearted in its treatment of the darkest chapter in their country's history and characters' behavior was really unrealistic/plainly weird.
    • Well, not one, but two successive Russian Culture Ministers along with the Russian Military Historical Society repeatedly called the film a pack of lies, grave distortion of WWII history and blatant anti-Russian propaganda, to be precise. And if you browse through sites like Kinopoisk (Russian version of Rotten Tomatoes), you will see that the majority of people thought that Hollywood outright put Russian red Army in a bad light with all the "you get ammo without a rifle" scenes.
  • In a fairly obscure 1950 film, luridly titled So Young So Bad, a sixteen-year-old girl is consigned to a reform school because she's pregnant out of wedlock. There's no suggestion that terminating the pregnancy is an option: in fact, the girl is portrayed as heartless, selfish, and unloving for wanting to give her baby up for adoption. This is a holdover from the prewar years when unwed mothers in maternity homes were required to stay and nurse their newborns for three months, and were propagandized with heartrending stories supposedly from the point of view of "abandoned" (read: relinquished for adoption) babies.
  • The Karate Kid (2010),:
    • Dre cheers and claps loudly at the end of his crush's violin recital, only to receive disapproving looks from said crush's parents. In China, audiences tend to remain silent during and/or after a performance.
    • Also Dre making Mei Ying pinky swear and her parents' offended reaction to it because in China, raising the pinky finger is equal to sticking up the middle finger.
  • Song of the South tried so hard to keep it from going there. The songs and most of the animation are still acceptable but the live-action sugarcoats the racism a bit too much for the movie to be released in the US any time soon.
  • Grease
    • At the time of the film's setting, it was revolutionary to have a "good girl" break away from society's norms and become a greaser chick (even if it meant heartache to her family). Nowadays, Sandy radically changing herself just to get Danny to like her more is both sexist and a perfect example of a Family-Unfriendly Aesop.
    • "Summer Nights":
      "Tell me more, tell me more, was it love at first sight?"
      "Tell me more, tell me more, did she put up a fight?"
      • College Humor created a video that caused the characters to react as if they were in modern day to that line.
      • Though to be fair, the line could also be interpreted as "did she play hard to get?"
    • Using the nerdy boy as a Butt Monkey would also raise quite a few eyebrows, as it’s played painfully straight even in the very end of the film. The fact that he's genuinely a better athlete than the greasers does soften the blow a bit.
  • Due to the minstrel show, the Lincoln's Birthday segment in Holiday Inn is a bit uncomfortable to watch nowadays.
  • When Blowup was released, the nudity was scandalous, while the hero's contempt for his models and female admirers (he offhandedly refers to the latter as "bitches") was ignored. Today the sex seems incredibly tame, while the hero's misogyny is appalling. The nudity is a gray area: on the one hand, most people wouldn't bat an eye about it. On the other hand, you still have people who believe nudity is evil and sinful.
  • Iron Man 3 sought to avoid this with their depiction of the Mandarin. In the comics, the Mandarin was a Yellow Peril villain, which wouldn't really work these days. The film avoids this by casting the British-Indian actor Ben Kingsley then having the Mandarin be an combination of many cultures. Furthermore, the Mandarin turns out to be a smokescreen/scapegoat for the real villain's organization, played by an actor and designed to obfuscate the real villain's identity. THEN turned on its head when the actual Mandarin has his double rescued from prison to bring him into the fold.
    • And of course, many fans still claimed changing the villain's race was a case of Unfortunate Implications. Sometimes you just can't win...
  • Watch any western from the 20's through the 70's, and see if you can notice how many times Native Americans, women or Mexicans are stereotyped or condescended towards. "I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges" would not have made it to the final cut nowadays, that's for sure.
  • The Sandlot has a very classic scene of where one of the boys gets CPR, and, upon recovery, plays at still being unconscious so that next time she goes to mouth-to-mouth, he can grab her head and kiss her. The gang, of course, responded by tipping their hats to him for the next few weeks, and she responded by becoming interested in and eventually marrying him.
  • One of the things that make the other boys suspect that the protagonist of Tea and Sympathy might be gay is his long hair, and by the standards of 1956, when the film was released,note  his hair was on the long side for a high-school aged boy, in that he did not have a crew cut. For an audience watching the film at pretty much any time from the late sixties onward, his haircut looks quite short and conservative.
  • Carrie: Even by 1976 standards, someone would surely request Social Services to check the home environment to see if the title character is in a safe place.
    • Considering the character was being bullied, the Gym teacher was in the right mind to intervene and report it to the principal. Nowadays, she would’ve been viewed as a hero because bullying has gotten deadly, forcing many US States to pass laws regarding it. The bullies would’ve faced suspension or expulsion these days rather than have Carrie take matters in her own hands… or rather, her mind.note .
    • Also, as sex education is now mandatory in Maine public schools, Carrie would have learned about menstruation well beforehand and likely wouldn't have freaked out so terribly when it happened.
    • Likewise the scene where Chris gets slapped by the teacher. Both modern remakes of the novel leave that part outnote . These days a teacher hitting a student would be fired on the spot, no matter how rotten the student in question is.
  • Porky's: Balbricker would’ve run the risk of sexual assault changes these days rather the police arrest on Tommy's exhibitionism since he showed his privates to the girls through a peak hole, giving Balbricker a reason to attack. As a matter of fact, a teen showing their privates would’ve been grounds for expulsion, even by 1980s standards… in fact, the idea of a teen being naked in a film these days, even if said teen is portrayed by an adult… yeah, just try to see if anyone would accept that.
  • Revenge of the Nerds has a scene so creepy that it's sort of amazing no one at the time apparently thought it was. The hero, Lewis, steals and puts on the costume worn by his Jerk Jock rival to a carnival and wears it while he seduces said jock's girlfriend. Seduces as in has sex with her while pretending to be her boyfriend. He's unmasked halfway through, and the girl instantly forgives him, because he's the best sex she's ever had. It's all okay, you see, because he rapes her into loving him. Skin. Crawling.
    • Similarly, in Animal House, the Good Angel, Bad Angel scene where Pinto wonders whether he should have sex with the unconscious teenager Clorette has become extremely cringeworthy since rape, both on college campuses and among teenagers, has become a bigger concern.
    • The nerds secretly rig hidden cameras in the sorority house during a panty raid, gawk at the residents undressing via video, and disseminate images of one of the Pi ladies topless during their "pie sale". Just how many porn distribution, privacy and stalking statutes did they break, there...?
  • A Christmas Story has several examples:
    • The family going out to eat on Christmas Day and the only place that's open is a Chinese restaurant. This is actually deliberate - in the 1940s, Chinese restaurants were among the only ones open on Christmas, and is still considered Truth in Television in many areas, to the point that many Jews know to seek out the closest Chinatown when traveling on a Sunday. On top of that, the staff sings in a very fake accent that, even in the '80s, would have offended people were it not calling upon '40s Nostalgia. There's also the very strong implication that the waiters are singing incorrectly on purpose to irritate their boss. However, some Chinese restaurants (run by actual Asian people nonetheless) actually find that scene a little funny, and some more comedic ones even act the scene out as a gag during Christmastime.
    • Ralphie is punished for using profanity by having a bar of soap in his mouth, a common punishment in the 1940s where the film takes place. In 1982, a year before the film was released, the practice was deeming "moderate" compared to spanking and was still an alternative to spanking in 1996. However, not so today, where such punishment is now deemed abuse. Look at how Mrs. Parker learned a lesson when she tried on herself.
    • Ralph’s Christmas wish for a BB gun would be somewhat frowned upon in most if not all urban areas; a regional as well as temporal case of Values Dissonance, though, since many, many parents in small towns and rural areas have absolutely no problem with giving their kids such a gift even today. Scut Farkus' brand of violent bullying is unlikely to go unpunished in this day and age, given how modern Zero Tolerance school policies react to even to most benign offenses.
      • By the same token, if a modern-day Ralphie were to respond to bullying in this manner, i.e. by beating the living daylights out of a kid who has been the bane of his existence, HE would most likely be ordered into counseling and anger management therapy, while Scut Farkus's parents would cry victim because Ralphie beat him up. In short, nowadays Ralphie would be the one seen as the bully.
  • Reality Bites: As explained by The Nostalgia Chick, the main characters complaining about their middle-class suburbanite lives comes off as downright laughable to anyone living through the post-2008 Great Recession.
  • Kids In America: through they were successful on preventing their bully of a principal from becoming superintendent by informing parents about her, a teenager from present day would wanna ask why didn’t any of the students used to the internet to get the message out since the film was released in 2005, even with the capabilities of the technology at the time. Weller's methods in suppressing the students' freedom of expression in the school wouldn't work in cyberspace where there's nothing she could do since it's open to the public.
  • In Foxy Brown, the titular character repeatedly uses "faggot" as a casual insult. To modern viewers, this would just make her look uneducated.
  • The Elite Squad is a mostly accurate depiction of the Vice City Rio de Janeiro is, with vicious drug dealers ruling in conjunction with Dirty Cops. Brazilians cheered The Unfettered protagonists BOPE who stopped at nothing, including Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, to fight the scourge, but liberal Western audiences were rubbed the wrong way by their "fascist" actions.
  • In the immediate lead-up to one of the most famous scenes in Citizen Kane, when Jed Leland is promoting Charles Foster Kane for governor of New York, it's a bit odd for modern audiences to hear him unabashedly describing his boss as a "liberal," since that word is hardly ever used in a positive context anymore, what with being associated (unfairly) with the 1960s counterculture and the supposed persecution of white working-class Americans. But it's even more shocking to hear Leland use the term "fighting liberal" - even though that was a completely un-ironic and flattering term in the early twentieth century - because that phrase inherently clashes with many modern conceptions of political liberalism, such as the Bourgeois Bohemian (of which, ironically enough, many consider Orson Welles himself to be the Trope Maker, at least for Hollywood).
  • Similarly, in the Marx Brothers' sociopolitical spoof Duck Soup, when Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx), the dictator of Fredonia, is introduced to his parliament as a "progressive, fearless fighter," many modern viewers do not understand that the word progressive is not meant to imply that Firefly is a socialist, or even a leftist. In the early 1930s, that word simply referred to anyone - in any political party - who was in favor of directing Big Government toward social reform and the imposition of order in people's lives. In fact, many of these activists were social conservatives - and indeed, Firefly reveals himself to be just that in the lyrics to the song he performs immediately afterward.
  • The Epic of Everest (1924) is a documentary about that year's unsuccessful attempt to climb Mount Everest. Its intertitles contain several remarks that read oddly 90 years on, especially in the description of the Tibetan town of Phari-Dzong:
    • Amid dirt and mud and stinking refuse, the people live with their dogs and cattle in these hovels begrimed with the smoke of the argo fires ... And in contrast to all of this, the cold purity of the snows of Chomolhari puts to shame the dirt of Phari.
    • And on the other hand, the film tells us the mountain's Tibetan name (Chomo-Lung-Ma) a few times. You don't get that much these days either.
  • In Trading Places, Dan Aykroyd appears in Black Face during the New Year's Eve train party. It's Played for Laughs for how ridiculous the disguise is, but they still probably couldn't get away with it today.
  • In Twister Jonas is presented as a Hate Sink because he got corporate funding and "doesn't care about the science" - he's apparently just in it for the money. He comes across as a Designated Villain these days but the film was made in the 90s when 'selling out to the man' was a big deal for some people.
  • Bill And Ted, being a movie about American teenagers in the 1980s, has the characters casually using the word "fag" as an insult towards a villain, and in one scene they hug each other only to break the hug and call one another a "fag." Nowadays, of course, sensibilities have in many cases become so politically correct that even villains are not allowed to use the term (unless anti-prejudice is the Aesop, of course).
  • Similarly, Teen Wolf (the film version with Michael J. Fox, not the later TV series) has a scene where one of the characters is Mistaken for Gay. The word "fag" is used no less than three times throughout this bit of dialogue.
  • In films from the 90s and before simply being a "drug dealer" was enough, in most cases, to make a character a villain. Nowadays, the increasingly strong backlash against the War on Drugs has made it so that for drug dealers to be considered actual villains they must either 1) sell meth and/or heroin, 2) have ties to brutal Mexican drug cartels and/or 3) sell to kids.
  • The 1917 silent film The Black Stork featured eugenicist Dr. Harry Haiselden playing a fictionalized version of himself. The film has a pro-eugenics message with Haiselden's character portrayed as doing the right thing for allowing a "defective" newborn baby to die (this was based on something Haiselden actually did, by the way). The movie's tagline was, "Kill defectives, save the nation and see The Black Stork." The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures almost banned the film... for being too graphic and not pro-eugenics enough.
  • In What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Edwin's mother chews him out for working for Jane Hudson. She mentions the most awful thing Jane did in the past, and says it so that it's worse than seemingly trying run over her own sister - being found in a hotel room with a man she'd just met. (His reply: "Wasn't that how I was conceived?" shows that she's a hypocrite on top of everything else.)
  • George's utterly horrified reaction in It's a Wonderful Life to his wife being a miserable spinster librarian in the Bad Future can come across as this. Granted, she is clearly unhappy, but George had, in quick succession, learned his first boss is a homeless ex-con, his childhood crush and later friend is an abused stripper, his uncle has been committed to the insane asylum, many of his friends are dirt-poor, his nemesis Mr. Potter has literally bought the entire town, and his younger brother is dead, all because he never existed. That this is what sends him over the line is quite indicative of the values of the day.
  • In the original version of Superman: The Movie, baby Clark was found stark naked, with... "Clark Jr." in plain view. Today, there is usually some editing to that scene. Worth noting though, is that the reboot Man of Steel also had baby Clark naked uncensored, but the shot passes by quick enough that it's easy to not notice it.
  • In the film version of Anne of Green Gables, there's a scene that isn't present in the book—Anne had gotten in trouble in school for breaking her slate over Gilbert Blythe's head, and when Marilla heard about it, she stormed upstairs ready to spit nails. (In the book we never see how she reacted to the news.) Anne, who'd accidentally dyed her hair green in the meantime, was hiding under the covers, and Marilla calms down enough to ask, "Are you sick?" It would have made sense in context, since even mild illnesses could be dangerous when the story took place. But kids watching the film in the 1980s and beyond, unless they had particularly fussy parents, were probably thinking, "Who cares if she's sick?! When does being sick ever get you out of trouble??"
  • In the film, Braveheart, Prince Henry Longshanks is portrayed as a being a wimp and unfit to rule England due to his homosexuality and having a male lover. His wife and her advisor hope for his death due to this. When his father kills his lover by throwing him out of a window, it is considered an evil act on the part of the king, but is meant as a just consequence of the prince's way. It is hard to imagine a modern film villainizing the prince in such a way.