35 Controversial Movies That Countries Prohibited Showing For Crazy Reasons
For nearly the entire history of film production, certain films have been banned by film censorship or review organizations for political or moral reasons or for its controversial content, such as racism. Below 35 Movies That Have Been Banned.
The Da Vinci Code
The Da Vinci Code suggests that Jesus had descendants and that Mary Magdalene was his wife, which was just “the limit” for many Christian ears. It was banned for blasphemous content–not Tom Hank’s hair–in China, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore and the Solomon Islands.
The Simpsons seem relatively harmless, but their big-screen movie was banned in Burma because of the “juxtaposition of the colors yellow and red,” which is seen as support for rebel groups. D’oh!
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was briefly banned in Sri Lanka for a scene in which the characters are served monkey brains. Monkeys are believed to be sacred creatures in Hinduism. Interestingly, this movie was also the impetus for creating the PG-13 rating, but not because of the monkey brains… for a scene in which a man’s beating heart gets pulled out of his chest.
A Clockwork Orange
Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant A Clockwork Orange was banned in several countries because of its depiction of gang rape and ultraviolence. It was not exactly banned in the United Kingdom, but Kubrick had it withdrawn after his family received death threats. It was not shown again in the U.K. until after his death in 1999.
You probably didn’t think anyone in the world took Ben Stiller’s goofy comedy Zoolander about male models seriously, but you were wrong. Iran banned it for its perceived support of gay rights, while Malaysia and Singapore banned it for depicting Malaysia as a country dependent on sweatshops.
Even before the comedy The Interview starring James Franco and Seth Rogen was released, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatened violence against the U.S. if the movie were released in theaters. The movie was released on VOD instead and, shortly thereafter, Sony’s servers were hacked and sensitive information was leaked. It wasn’t a coincidence.
Last Tango in Paris
This controversial movie starring a getting-larger Marlon Brando was banned in countries like Argentina, Italy, Chile, Portugal, Singapore and South Korea for being “pornographic,” “sexually explicit” and “obscene.”
The Last Temptation of Christ
Martin Scorsese’s movie imagined that Jesus might have had erotic feelings as a man, and the the director caught hell for it. Bible thumpers protested it in the United States, but the movie was outright banned in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, the Philippines, Singapore and Turkey for “blasphemous themes.” Israel banned the movie on the grounds that it could “offend Christians.”
Every single Marx Brothers movie
From 1933 to 1945, every single Marx Brothers movie was banned in Nazi Germany because the brothers were Jewish. Since Hitler’s little plan of world domination didn’t work out so well, the ban has long since been lifted.
The Deer Hunter
The Deer Hunter, starring Robert De Niro, was banned in Paraguay under the regime of Alfredo Stroessner for “danger of being misunderstood.” Try to imagine how few movies we’d be watching today in the United States if they could be banned because someone might misunderstand them.
Up in Smoke
The Cheech and Chong stoner comedy Up in Smoke was banned in South Africa because it “might encourage the impressionable youth of South Africa to take up marijuana smoking.” This ban was in effect during the apartheid regime, which itself probably had an even greater effect on those impressionable youngsters in South Africa.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey is commercialized kink for frustrated housewives and not nearly as provocative as its makers think it is, but some countries see it otherwise. Cambodia banned it for “insane romance, a lot of sex, and the use of violence while having sex.” Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe also banned it for its depiction of erotica.
Sylvester Stallone’s aggressively violent 2008 film Rambo was banned in Burma because of the “negative portrayal of Burmese soldiers.” You read that right: it wasn’t banned for graphic depictions of Rambo literally blowing people apart with a machine gun, but because of Burmese soldiers being depicted negatively.
Land of the Dead
George A. Romero’s zombie sequel Land of the Dead was banned in the Ukraine because the movie may make people recall the suffering and the agony of people who were forced to eat human flesh in Kharkiv during the German attack there in 1943.
North Korea banned Roland Emmerich’s disaster film 2012 not for being insufferably stupid, but because the year 2012 coincides with Kim Il Sung’s 100th birthday. The year also had been designated “the year for opening the grand gates to becoming a rising superpower.” Therefore, any movie that depicts the year 2012 in a negative light was deemed offensive by the government.
Clint Eastwood’s critically acclaimed American Sniper was banned in Iraq for being an “insult to the population.”
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was banned in a bunch of countries–from France, Sweden, Brazil and Iceland to Singapore–for its supposed gruesome violence. If you watch the cult classic, however, there is very little actual blood shown on-screen. A lot of it is suggested, so you think you see more than you do. After the torture-porn movies of the ’00s, this drive-in favorite seems surprisingly restrained in terms of gore.
Shrek 2 was banned briefly in Israel in 2004, but not because of the movie itself. In the Hebrew dub, a joke about Israeli singer David Daor’s high voice was added, and the thin-skinned artist took legal action.
In many parts of the world it is a big no-no to depict a prophet on-screen, which is why Noah was banned in countries like Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, China and Indonesia. The movie used so much CGI to create fantastical creatures that it’s puzzling how anyone could see this as a depiction of something that happened in the real world.
Castle of Otranto
The Czech communist government banned Castle of Otranto when its director refused to alter his film and was subsequently banned from making movies for eight years. Government censors objected to the movie’s mockumentary tone, which could “undermine peoples’ faith in the TV news.” We wouldn’t want people to question things they see on TV!
Farewell My Concubine
Farewell My Concubine was banned for a while in China due to its homosexual themes and its negative attitude towards communism. After it gained critical acclaim and won the Palm D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, China begrudgingly allowed it to be screened in the country.
New Zealand didn’t give Frodo a pass when Elijah Wood starred in the horror film Maniac. The country where The Lord of the Rings was filmed banned Maniac because “the tacit invitation to enjoy cruel and violent behavior through its first-person portrayal and packaging as entertainment is likely to lead to an erosion of empathy for some viewers.”
Formula 17 was banned in Singapore because it “portrayed homosexuality as normal, a natural progression of society.” So if you’re a gay person looking for a forward-thinking country to move to, Singapore probably isn’t going to cut it.
The comedy Lobola was banned in Zimbabwe because it “doesn’t really portray African custom when it comes to marriage, since one does not get married while drunk.” Yeah, no one has ever been drunk and gotten married before. Oh, hi, Britney Spears!
Eli Roth’s torture-porn film (remember when that was a thing?) Hostel is banned in the Ukraine because it depicts Eastern Europe as a region where people are tortured for money. It’s still legal to own the movie privately, perhaps in your very own hostel or Airbnb.
John Waters’ cult classic Pink Flamingos was banned in Australia and Norway until the 1980s for featuring–among other things–Divine eating real dog doo-doo, a couple having sex while incorporating a live chicken into the act, and a dancing sphincter.
Monty Python’s Life of Brian
Monty Python’s Life of Brian was banned in several countries like Ireland, Singapore, South Africa and Malaysia for its “blasphemous religious content.” Sweden took advantage of the fact that it was banned in Norway and ran with the tagline, “The film so funny that it got banned in Norway.”
1948’s Oliver Twist was banned in Israel for its initial release because the character of Fagin was deemed to be anti-Semitic. Alec Guinness, who played Fagin, wore heavy makeup and a large prosthetic nose to make him look like the character as he appeared in George Cruikshank’s illustrations in the the novel.
Rififi was banned in Finland from 1955 to 1959 for its depiction of cracking safes. The government feared the movie might inspire copycat crimes. Imagine how many movies you’d have to ban if you feared someone would act out something they saw on-screen!
Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom
The controversial Italian-French art film Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom remains banned in several countries because it depicts youth being subjected to graphic violence, relentless sadism and sexual deviance. It is still banned in Iran, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
Saw 3D was banned in, of all places, Germany for violating a law against violence. Saw 3D was the seventh entry in the gruesome horror series, so it’s unclear why the previous six were a-OK in Germany.
Scram! was banned during its initial release in the Netherlands for the scene in which Laurel and Hardy are pictured on a bed with a woman who was married to neither of them. The censors thought it was “indecent.” Needless to say, the ban has since been lifted.
China banned Martin Scorsese’s The Departed not because of its violent content, but because of a line suggesting that China intends to use nuclear weapons on Taiwan. Instead of cutting the line, which was not exactly integral to the plot, the whole movie was banned.
The Great Dictator
It’s not really a stretch to state that Adolf Hitler probably didn’t have a terrific sense of humor about himself, which is why the Charlie Chaplin movie The Great Dictator was banned in pro-dictatorship countries like Argentina and, of course, Germany.
The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)
The Human Centipede films are about multiple people being surgically attached anus to mouth, which apparently was not OK down under in Australia and New Zealand.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
The Seth Rogen comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno was banned in Thailand, of all places, and Trinidad because the respective governments were concerned that teens would mimic the film and make their own porn movies.
A Serbian Film
Brazil banned A Serbian Film because it considered it an “apology for pedophilia.” New Zealand, Norway and Spain also banned the movie for sexually violent content that involved children.
Cannibal Holocaust was one of the most banned movies of all time because of its violence and depiction of animal cruelty. The director was even accused of making a snuff film due to rumors that some of the actors were killed on camera. Some nations have since revoked the ban, though it is still upheld in several countries like Finland, Iceland, Malaysia and New Zealand.
Back to the Future
Great Scott! It’s kind of difficult to believe that a country would ban Back to the Future because the idea of time travel was just that upsetting, but that’s exactly what China did back in the 1980s.
We’re not going to point fingers at which religion believes the craziest things, but China’s regime of Mao Zedong banned the biblical epic Ben-Hur for containing “propaganda of superstitious beliefs, namely Christianity.”
Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove was banned in Finland due to its political satire, which had the potential to offend their ally and neighboring country, the Soviet Union.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life was banned in China not for being a sequel that no one asked for, but rather for its unflattering depictions of Chinese society.
The Cremator was banned by the Czech Communist government from 1969 until 1989 because this black comedy depicts a crematorium director who gets off on burning people and aligns himself with the Nazis during the Holocaust. The movie also has a message about being true to individual morality, which was seen as a dangerous message.
via Offbeat.topix.com / images: Offbeat.topix.com