Films You (Probably) Didn’t Know Have Been Banned

We want what we can’t have, right? So, it’s not surprising that some of the most famous films are banned around the world. Although, it should be said that a few of these films should be approached with caution due to their more graphic and disturbing nature.

The Simpsons Movie, backstage tales

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Adapted from Anthony Burgess’ book, Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ is a nihilistic presentation of violence and social control. It is set in a dystopian future where the protagonist, Alex, is jailed and forced into government aversion therapies made with the aim to stop society’s crime issues. This classic movie showed some horrific events such as graphic violence and rape; so horrific that the film was banned in countries like Ireland and Singapore for over 30 years. It was even withdrawn from theatres in the UK because Kubrick and his family were getting death threats – it wasn’t shown again in the UK until the director’s death in 1999.

Stanley_Kubrick_The_Exhibition_A_Clockwork_Orange

Last Tango in Paris (1972)

Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, this erotic masterpiece was originally released with an X rating. It follows the American hotelier, Paul, who is devastated after his wife’s suicide and falls for a young French woman called Jeanne. After its release, it was banned in many different countries due to the explicit sexual relations the two characters have; and was even banned in Bertolucci’s home of Italy until 1986. Any prints of the movie were burned and Bertolucci was even sentenced to four months in jail for obscenity.

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

One of the most successful and popular horror movies was banned for years in West Germany, Singapore, and a few Scandinavian countries because of its explicit violence and cruelty. This horror masterpiece was released in some places in once it had been censored. It was only shown completely uncut in the UK in 1999.

texas chainsaw

Apocalypse Now (1979)

This is regarded as the best films of the war in Vietnam, if not one of the best war films ever made. The director, Francis Ford Coppola, is among some of the most impressive Hollywood careers; ‘The Godfather’ parts 1 and 2 are continually mentioned in lists of the best films ever made. ‘Apocalypse Now’ came with controversy, sparking debates on whether or not it’s a pro- or anti-war film. It was banned in South Korea due to the belief of its anti-war theme.

apocalypse now movie

Zoolander (2001)

This beloved Ben Stiller classic was banned in some countries due to homosexual themes. Though it’s more obvious transgression was that the plot follows Derek Zoolander attempting to assassinate the Malaysian prime minister, causing the Malaysian Film Censorship Board to deem it “definitely unsuitable”.

zoolander, backstage tales

The Interview (2014)

In this comedy, acclaimed actors Seth Rogan and James Franco play journalists who try to assassinate the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un. The controversial film has been banned in Russia and North Korea – although, all American movies are banned in North Korea.

the Interview, 2014

The Simpsons Movie (2007)

An unexpected title on the list, ‘The Simpsons Movie’ directed by David Silverman was banned in Burma over the “juxtaposition of the colours yellow and red”, which was seen as support for rebel groups.

Bart Simpson, Backstage Tales


Text: Didi Robinson

Images: Unsplashed

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