5 of the World’s Most Banned Movies!

As a rule, I try to track down banned books because I find it interesting to learn more about the reasoning behind the censorship of certain ideas.

Similarly, that holds for movies, albeit with slightly different calculations. While some controversial films are cult favorites seemingly for no other reason than their controversial nature, others that have been banned are necessary. The 11 films included here cover the gamut from great to terrible, with some brilliant trash thrown in for good measure.

First, the lists of countries I’ve added to each entry to indicate where the films are banned are not exhaustive; countries don’t usually publicly release lists of banned films, and sometimes movies remain “banned” only because no one has tried for a new release.

For this reason, no one even tries to release films in countries like Afghanistan, where they are almost certainly going to be banned (anything with queer content isn’t going to fly in Russia, China, or much of the Middle East, for example). Because of the complexities involved, the countries highlighted here are the ones where the controversial film received the most public backlash.

Cannibal Holocaust

When the police saw this groundbreaking horror film, they initially thought the filmmakers had committed a murder, making it one of the most effective examples of the found-footage genre. This is a classic “The Blair Witch Project”-style set-up.

The anthropologist sent to find a missing film crew investigating reports of disappearances among Amazonian cannibal tribes finds only the crew’s disturbing footage. While some have interpreted it as a biting critique of modern horrors, others have found it to be mostly just gross (if effectively so).

The film was made in Italy but was confiscated by Italian authorities soon after its completion; the fact that prints were smuggled out didn’t help either, with the French authorities believing the film was genuine despite the subterfuge. After being convicted of obscenity, director Ruggero Deodato was hit with the additional charge of murder.

 Actors showed up to clear his name and prove they were still alive, but the film was still banned in France and other countries for violating animal cruelty laws. The deaths of real animals in the film are the main reason it has remained controversial even after fears about the fictional violence have subsided.

Australia, the UK, the US, Italy, and possibly even more countries banned the film at one point; it is still banned in Iceland, New Zealand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Norway, and Finland. The original advertising claimed that the film was banned in 50 countries, which is likely an exaggeration.

Where to Watch: Shudder, Kanopy

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

Another film that sparks debates between art and trash was directed by a man who was later murdered violently and mysteriously. Certainly coming from a prestigious director like Pier Paolo Pasolini, who has a lot to say here about consumerism, capitalism, and totalitarianism, Sal, based on the work of the Marquis de Sade, has a reputation as one of the hardest-to-watch films in cinema history due to its depiction of torture and sexual violence (boy does it!) against its mostly anonymous teenage characters.

Simply, he expresses this by having his characters suffer the fate of having to eat shit. That’s not a terrible metaphor.

 There was never a ban on this film in the United States, but in 1994, a video store owner was arrested for renting a copy, and the whole thing became a minor storm. The case was dropped after support from numerous artists, most notably Martin Scorsese.

Australia, Finland, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Canada have all banned it, while Iran and Singapore continue to uphold their bans.

Where to Watch: Unfortunately, you can’t find it anywhere right now, but the film is now available in high definition as part of the prestigious Criterion Collection.

A Clockwork Orange

Antisocial teen Malcolm McDowell (Alex DeLarge) raises questions about authoritarianism and the extent to which freedoms should be given up in the name of safety in Stanley Kubrick’s controversial adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ only-slightly-less-controversial novel.

The film makes its point, but not without depicting graphic violence, including a rape scene that is made more disturbing by the fact that it is presented as comical as if Alex and the other droogs truly believe it to be funny.

5 of the World's Most Banned Movies

Along with some questionable copycat crimes in its native United Kingdom, the depiction of sexual violence (and related nudity) has been the biggest source of controversy. The then-powerful National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures condemned the film upon its release and banned Catholics from viewing it in the United States, even though it had been edited to receive an R rating.

Canada, the United Kingdom (where its release was halted at Kubrick’s request after his family received death threats, a “ban” that lasted nearly three decades), Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, Malta, and South Korea all banned the film.

Where to Watch: Digital rental

Last Tango in Paris

In Bernardo Bertolucci’s erotic drama, Marlon Brando, a middle-aged widower, has a dangerous affair with Maria Schneider, a young Parisian woman. Schneider has spoken out about the abusive treatment she experienced from Bertolucci and Brando, particularly during the filming of the movie’s most memorable scene, which involves forced sex and a stick of butter, and this has continued to stain the movie’s reputation.

Last Tango in Paris

Putting the ongoing controversy to one side, the film was shockingly sexually frank for its time, and Brando was probably the first major actor to discuss the pleasures of a finger up the butt onscreen.

The usual suspects took offense, but the National Organization for Women in the U.S. wasn’t crazy about the movie, seeing the film’s sexuality as one-sided.

Prohibited in the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Italy, Portugal, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, and Venezuela.

The Last Temptation of Christ

Blasphemy! The world cried out in shock when Martin Scorsese’s religious drama hinted that Jesus (Willem Dafoe) considered getting a girlfriend at one point. While the film was never officially banned from showing in the United States, theatre owners were threatened with violence, making some reluctant to screen it, and a bombing at a Paris theatre during a screening injured more than a dozen people.

5 of the World's Most Banned Movies

Greece, South Africa, Turkey, Mexico, Israel, Chile, and Argentina have all banned the game. The Philippines and Singapore both maintain their bans.

Where to Watch: Digital rental

For more details visit our website Jerseyshorevibe.com

Comments are closed.