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5 Controversial Films That Were Banned (& Why?)

Like any form of media, when produced films have a set of guidelines or rules that’ll dictate what rating they’ll end up with. In some cases films will push these boundaries, in others they’ll ignore them, and in many cases, especially outdated rules and guidelines, the films will be banned outright. Here are five controversial films that were banned, and why…

A Serbian Film (2010)

five controversial films that were banned
A Serbian Film (2010)

An obvious film on this list of controversial films that were banned, this one was banned in forty-six countries and definitely deserves to be on this list. We follow a now retired porn star who is pulled back out of retirement with the promise of money which is desperately needed. However, this is where the story turns, as he’s drugged and forced to do some truly despicable and monstrous acts against individuals, some including children, and his own family. The graphic nature of the film quickly drew criticism from many corners of the world, and whilst the film does have a story, a lesson and an underlying message, the way it’s portrayed on the screen means some twelve years later, most won’t be seeing this through normal means.

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A Clockwork Orange (1971)

five controversial films that were banned
A Clockwork Orange (1971)

The infamous Stanley Kubrick-directed film doesn’t shy away from the violence and abuse present in the novel of the same name, written by Anthony Burgess. Following Alex played by Malcolm McDowell, it’s set in a dystopian future where the protagonist commits a number of heinous crimes, from assault to rape and more. Eventually caught and jailed, we see his supposed rehabilitation in this future’s UK government’s ‘therapies’, which are little more than torture in their own right. Banned in multiple countries at the time, it’s now down to a mere few, including the likes of Ireland and Singapore.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

five controversial films that were banned
Brokeback Mountain (2005)

A film renowned for its quality film-making, story, and performances, Brokeback Mountain tells the story of two people in love. That’s it. Unfortunately, in the eyes of some people, the fact that those two men both happen to be men seem to be an issue. Banned in many Middle Eastern countries due to its depiction of homosexuality, to this day it’s still not watchable there. With new releases including more representation of the spectrum of sexuality, it’s still a reason many countries ban movies regarding these subjects. Hopefully, that’ll change.

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Battle Royale (2000)

five controversial films that were banned
Battle Royale (2000)

A film with a similar premise as the Hunger Games franchise, Battle Royale is a far superior version of the ‘group of people forced to fight with only one winner’ idea. Set around a yearly competition between young Japanese students, the film follows an incredible graphic portrayal of what would happen if this was really a real occurrence. Armed with knives, crossbows, guns, and more, it’s full of graphic battles between the students, literally gallons of blood, and some well-placed dark humor. Banned in countries like Germany, the film has a huge cult following and has spawned several admittedly lower-quality sequels.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

five controversial films that were banned
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

As any horror fan will know, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is in large part to thank for the rise of slasher/serial killer films. A big success at the time of release, its graphic nature of dismemberment, murder, and torture means it was banned in several countries originally. Spawning sequels, reboots, spin-offs, and imitations, the film is viewed in a less shocking light than when it was first released, but back then it wasn’t as fondly regarded by the censors.

There are many more choices of controversial films that were banned over the years, but these are the five most controversial films that were banned, and why. What would you have added?

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