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Top 10 Banned Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Radina Papukchieva. Did you ever watch a movie just because you heard it was controversial? Or found yourself bedazzled that a film could actually stir so much debate as to be forbidden in an entire country? Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 banned movies, both in North America and around the world. For this list, we’ve combined different genres of movies, ranging from the grotesque to the downright absurd. WARNING: Contains mature content. Special thanks to our users Margaret Rd, arimazzie, jwiking62, hachman2, Brandon Bnevz Nevels, Marian Harland, Andrew A. Dennison, Mahir Kabir, David NM, BrianNissen, extremespyderbyte, Philip Folta, Epik Dalek and cwdgow for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Radina Papukchieva.

Top 10 Banned Movies


Did you ever watch a movie just because you heard it was controversial? Or found yourself bedazzled that a film could actually stir so much debate as to be forbidden in an entire country? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 banned movies, both in North America and around the world.

For this list, we’ve combined different genres of movies, ranging from the grotesque to the downright absurd. If a film is so hard to watch that it was banned around the globe, then chances are it’s on our list. Same thing goes if a movie that seemed harmless to you was seen as evil somewhere else. So if you like movies that give you the creeps, sit back and take notes.

#10: “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988)

Director Martin Scorsese’s epic of the life of Christ didn’t sit so well with believers. The drama portrays Jesus as having to contend with sinful temptations, like lust, self-doubt and fear. It was notably banned in Turkey, Singapore, the Philippines, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. The depiction of Jesus and Mary Magdalene’s sexual relationship enraged Christian fundamentalists in the States as well. The movie essentially stripped Jesus of his divinity, which is why conservative audiences were taken aback by it. After all, who wants a hero who is only human?

#9: “Avatar” (2009)

It’s hard to believe that the worldwide blockbuster about humans trying to invade a far-away moon named Pandora could be banned anywhere. However, since the movie deals with the indigenous population of Pandora revolting against the humans who want to steal its precious mineral unobtanium, China’s government saw potential harm in it. The ban came two weeks after the movie had already played for Chinese audiences, grossing over $70 million. Fearful that “Avatar” would inspire a similar revolt in China, the country decided to ban it all together.

#8: “The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)” (2011)

This sequel focuses on an obese asthmatic man, named Martin, who is obsessed with watching the first sequence of “The Human Centipede.” So much so that he has a pet centipede himself and dreams of creating a human version consisting of 12 people. If you’re not already disturbed, there’s more. He takes his victims to a warehouse and begins sculpting his centipede using staples, pliers, hammers, and laxatives. Not to mention the sight of sandpaper and barbed wire around genitals, which we’re just not going to show you. The film was initially refused classification the U.K. and Australia and temporary banned there - and it remains banned in New Zealand.

#7: “Natural Born Killers” (1994)

The story of two lovers who commit mass murders together may seem to have an element of romance to you, but not to the ratings board. Mickey and Mallory are both victims of childhood abuse and they grow up getting even with the world by going on a massive killing spree, claiming over 50 victims in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. The media only helps fuel their desire to kill by their glorifying overexposure. The film was accused of inspiring copycat crimes, including the Columbine High School massacre and the Dawson College shooting in Montreal, among others. It was banned in Ireland.

#6: “The Birth of a Nation” (1915)

The first American epic was one with epic proportions of racism. “The Birth of a Nation” depicts two families in Civil War-era United States, romanticizes patriotism and demeans African-Americans by portraying them as sexually aggressive and mentally challenged. The silent film then naturally proceeds to glorify the Ku Klux Klan and as such, is often blamed as having inspired its second movement. Riots broke after the movie came out in theaters, and cities like Chicago, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh wouldn’t show it.

#5: “Borat ” (2006)

This next entry on our list is also a little horrifying and absurd, but for different reasons. Following made-up Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev, the film is a mockumentary about how Americans interact with other cultures. Ultimately, it spoofs prejudice by embracing it, showing Borat as a stereotype of Eastern Europe with his pet chicken and deeply rooted misogyny and anti-Semitism. Naturally, “Borat” was banned in most Arab countries and had a limited release in Russia.

#4: “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” (1979)

It wouldn’t be the first time that the Monty Python comedy troupe stirred controversy for their humor, but as we’ve seen already, things are a little touchier when stories about Jesus are concerned. Brian is a young Jewish man who just so happens to be born on the same day as, and in the stable next door to, none other than Jesus Christ. This fateful event will affect the rest of his life, with people often confusing him for the Messiah. Because of its religious satire, “Life of Brian” was accused of blasphemy. It was also quote “so funny it was banned in Norway” and Ireland, among other countries.

#3: “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (1974)

Today a cult horror classic, this slasher movie was seen as very controversial for its extremely violent content at the time of its release. Although it claimed to be based on a true story, the film is completely made-up; though a real-life murderer inspired some of it. The story of two siblings who go to investigate reports of vandalism on their grandfather’s grave site along with some friends has become a classic horror movie plot point - teenagers going to a deserted place only to run into a creepy murderer. The film was banned in the UK, Brazil, Singapore, Germany, and a number of other countries.

#2: “Cannibal Holocaust” (1980)

This next entry is considered to this day to be one of the most revolting movies of all time. After an American film crew seeking to film documentary footage about cannibal tribes in the Amazon rainforest goes missing, a rescue mission is sent out to find them and recover images from the film the crew set off to produce. Based on the movie’s title, we’re sure you can imagine what unfolds. “Cannibal Holocaust” was in banned in Italy and Australia, as well as in other nations, while director Ruggero Deodato was actually accused of murdering the four actors who played the missing film crew.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “The Da Vinci Code” (2004)
- “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984)
- “Battle Royale” (2000)
- “The Evil Dead” (1981)
- “The Exorcist” (1973)

#1: “A Clockwork Orange” (1971)

We sincerely hope you are still with us. Our number one pick is based on a book that is just as disturbing as the film adaptation. Set in a bleak dystopian Britain, it follows a gang of deranged youths as they drink “milk-plus” and commit various despicable acts of “ultra-violence.” The film has even been accused of being “torture porn” by some for its beautifully shot but extremely disturbing sequences - most notably for a break-in rape scene, during which Malcolm McDowell sings an improvised version of “Singin’ in the Rain.” You will never smile again.

Do you agree with our list? What is the most controversial banned movie you’ve ever seen? For more top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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