The film industry is well known for outrageous works that send the audience into a different realm, one they might not be comfortable in at all. Yet, some films out there are so shocking and scandalous that they have even faced outright bans!
This list of Top 10 Banned Movies encompasses a genre of films ranging from horror to pornography to racism and exploitation. Some of these films faced commercial failure and some filmmakers were even slapped with lawsuits!
The Last Temptation of Christ(1988)
Directed by Martin Scorsese, The Last Temptation of Christ depicts Jesus’ struggle with tempting sins such as lust, fear and uncertainty. There was also the illustration of a sexual relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene that sparked outrage amongst Christian fundamentalists. The divine image of Jesus was questioned in this work and this annoyed conservative Christians. The movie was banned in several countries including Turkey, Singapore, Mexico, Argentina, the Philippines and Chile.
This ‘mockumentary’ film depicts a made-up Kazakh journalist who journeys to America to learn about Americans and their culture. The British actor, Sacha Baron Cohen, is depicted as a stereotypical backward Eastern European as he goes on a journey interacting with and interviewing Americans and tends to offend everyone he speaks to. The movie was banned in several Arab countries and parts of Russia. Two years prior to the film’s release, the film met with a lot of controversies and some cast members even sued the creators of the film.
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Directed by D. W. Griffith, this epic drama movie caused riots in Boston, Philadelphia and a few other major cities, because of its racist theme. The movie depicted black men, played by white actors, being sexually belligerent towards white women. The movie was banned in cities including Chicago and Kansas City. In response to the negative response from the audience and the NAACP, director Griffith was motivated to produce the movie Intolerance in 1916.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre(1974)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre depicts a brutal chainsaw wielding killer who dons a facemask made of human skin and tortures his victims by amputating them with a chainsaw. The killer’s family consists of grave-robbing cannibals. The movie was given an ‘R’ rating and was banned in several countries including Brazil, Singapore, Germany and Ireland, in some for 25 years.
Directed by Kōji Shiraishi and released in 2009, Grotesque is a Japanese horror film depicting a sadist doctor who tortures a couple he kidnaps off the street. Due to the genuinely grotesque amputation, eye gouging and extremely disturbing sexual scenes, the movie has been banned in many countries including the UK. The movie failed commercially and received negative reviews by critics.
Last Tango in Paris (1972)
This movie was fiercely censored due to the obscene sexual images including Marlon Brando and a French newcomer actress Maria Schneider, who later on accused the Italian director for the emotional trauma that was caused as a result of the director’s manipulation. The actress alleged that the sex scene towards the end of the movie was not part of the original script. The Supreme Court in Italy detained all copies of the movie and burned them. There was a ban placed on the release of the film for over a decade and the director, Bertolucci, was labeled a criminal. Last Tango in Paris was banned in countries like Portugal, South Korea, Chile and parts of Canada.
The Human Centipede 2 (2011)
Released in 2011, this Dutch exploitation film was directed by Tom Six. The movie is about a mentally challenged British man who is obsessed with the prequel, Human Centipede and wishes to create his own human centipede using 12 people. The film was banned due to its brutality of the depicted mutilation and portraying of the victims as nothing more than mere objects used in a sickening scientific experiment.
A Serbian Film (2010)
Released in 2010, this movie is about a struggling porn star who agrees to do one last film before he takes a clean break from the porn business. It is only later that he realizes that he has been cast in the making of a snuff film that includes child rape and necrophilia. The film was investigated for crime against sexual morals and has since been banned in several countries including Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and France.
The Tin Drum (1979)
The Tin Drum was a 1979 movie that was adapted from a novel of the same name. Directed by Volker Schlöndorff, this movie is about a young lad who decides not to grow over the age of three. Even though the film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, it was banned under ‘child pornography’ by the Ontario Censor Board in Canada and in several countries due to a controversial scene of the young lad appearing to be engaged in an act of oral sex with an older woman.
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
This movie was released in 1980 and directed by Ruggero Deodato, reeks of graphic brutality and gory sexual assault. The plot of the film is about a rescue mission that was carried out by a New York University anthropologist Harold Monroe, who happens to find some footage that was left behind by a film crew whose members met a very pathetically tragic fate at the hands of cannibals in the Amazon Rainforest. The movie has been banned in a number of countries that include Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Germany. Even though the movie was banned, it’s found-footage style of flashback story narrative has been adopted and popularized in the movie The Blair Witch Project, which follows a similar theme, barring the gruesome and graphic sequences in Cannibal Holocaust.
In some cases, the unjustified bans on some of these movies have encouraged audiences to hunt them down. In other cases, the bans seem reasonable in every way!