Steven Spielberg ‘Regrets’ Editing Guns Out of ‘E.T.’: ‘I Never Should Have Done That’

"All our movies are a kind of a signpost of where we were when we made them," the Oscar winner said.

Steven Spielberg is looking back on removing guns from “E.T.”

The Oscar-winning director revealed during a master class at the Time 100 Summit that he regrets editing out guns from the 20th anniversary re-release of the coming-of-age film. The 1982 theatrical cut includes a scene of police officers chasing the lead children with firearms; the re-release replaces the weapons with walkie talkies.

“That was a mistake. I never should have done that,” Spielberg said (via Variety). “‘E.T.’ is 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.”

The “Fabelmans” director continued, “‘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. I should have never messed with the archives of my own work, and I don’t recommend anyone do that.”

Spielberg added, “All our movies are a kind of 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.”

To note, the guns were put back into the film for the 30th anniversary release, after Spielberg said that he had “realized what I had done was I had robbed people who loved E.T. of their memories of ‘E.T.'”

The auteur also recently addressed the recent debate over Roald Dahl’s children’s books which have recently been released with changed language to make the books more inclusive. Words like “fat” have since been replaced in novels like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Matilda,” while gender neutral language was changed in “The Witches.”

“Nobody should ever attempt to take the chocolate out of Willy Wonka! Ever!” Spielberg quipped, before adding, “For me, it is sacrosanct. It’s our history, it’s our cultural heritage. I do not believe in censorship in that way.”

Netflix, which purchased the Dahl estate in 2018, declined to comment on the changes to the books. Authors like Judy Blume and Salman Rushdie have weighed in on the censorship claims.

“I think if Roald Dahl was around, you would be hearing what he thinks about that. Whatever he is, whatever he’s accused of being, there’s a lot of truth there. But the books are the books,” Blume recently said. “Kids still love the books, and they love them the way he wrote them. So I don’t believe in that.”

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