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Did They Really Kill A Cow In O Brother, Where Art Thou?

"O Brother, Where Art Thou?," the Coen Brothers film from 2000 starring George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson, is an equally powerful and humorous journey through the American South during the Great Depression, loosely based on the classic Greek poem, "The Odyssey." Throughout their journey for treasure after escaping a chain gang, Ulysses (Clooney), Pete (Turturro) and Delmar (Nelson) meet multiple friends and foes, getting into plenty of comedic situations while also contending with class and racial disparities of the time.

Despite taking place in a historical setting, there were a number of special effects used in the film, many relying on computer graphics that were steadily becoming more popular in film production at the time. These techniques were so new and realistic, however, that one scene got the producers in trouble with the American Humane Association, the group famous for the "no animals were harmed in the making of this film" line in the credits of most major American films.

So let's answer the question once and for all: Did they really kill a cow in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

The movie's producers had to explain that the cow getting hit by a car was animated

In a piece for The New Yorker in 2003, reporter Susan Orlean interviewed Karen Rosa, the director of the American Humane Association's Film and Television Unit at the time, about her role for the organization. In an anecdote for the piece, Rosa describes watching the final cut of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and being shocked, believing that the producers actually ran over a cow while filming.

"When she called the producers to object, they were delighted," Orlean writes in the piece. "[A]s they explained to Rosa, the scene was computer-generated, and they figured that if they'd fooled the Film and Television Unit they had done a good job."

This resulted in a "modified certification" of the film, with the typical "no animals were harmed" message in the credits being replaced with "Scenes which may appear to place an animal in jeopardy were simulated."

At the time of writing, you can currently watch "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" for free on YouTube.