Films banned anywhere in the world are not really news these days, as some countries are ruled by authoritarian governments. From North Korea to Iran to Russia, many otherwise popular films were banned because they spoke against their respective regimes, were too explicit, or violated religious feelings, which, to be honest, can be expected. However, it is surprising if it is a democratic regime like the United States.
Quite a few films have also been banned in the developed and free world simply because they dealt with topics that we were not ready for – or at least they told us so. While we would leave that up to the reader to decide, some of these films are also pretty good and worth a watch regardless of how you feel about the topic you̵
8. Apocalypse now
The genius of Apocalypse now – Francis Ford Coppola’s classic version of the Vietnam War – lies in the fact that it is impossible to tell whether it is against or against the war. That is probably why it is unanimously loved by people from across the political spectrum. Even Coppola was unclear about the film’s stance on war, which is probably the best thing as not every piece of art has to make an explanation.
However, this ambiguity did not go well with the South Korean regime at the time of his release. They watched the film and decided that it was actually against the war and immediately went ahead and forbidden it. We don’t have to tell you to watch this movie – if you haven’t done it yet – since it’s one of the best war films ever made and one of the more accurate screenings of the Vietnam War on the big screen.
7. Cannibal Holocaust
There have been some found footage style horror movies in recent years, although the trend has only recently increased. It wasn’t that popular in 1980, which is why Cannibal holocaust got the backlash that it did.
The film follows a college professor looking for a missing film team that went to the Amazon to document cannibal tribes. Apparently he didn’t find the crew, or it wouldn’t be a horror movie. He stumbled across her footage and, as you can imagine, it was full of explicit things; so explicit that the film has now been banned in over 50 countries. The director was even hired dish because of the murder, since the film was originally released as a snuff film and everyone thought that the cannibalism and murder shown in the film was real.
6. ET: the alien
There are very few people who didn’t like ET when it was released in 1982, it was impossible not to worship the relationship between a harmless, lost alien and a group of children. It’s pretty much a unanimously loved film around the world and a good film in every way. This is, of course, with the exception of Scandinavia, where it was forbidden for children at the time of its publication.
The reasons for the censorship boards ranged from the scary environment depicted in the film to the fact that the adults sound like the bad guys. Although we would not comment on this, it is rather strange for us that someone thought it ET is unsafe for children. Fortunately for the children there, most of them Scandinavian Countries have since lifted the ban.
5. Monty Python’s life from Brian
Who saw Monty Python’s life from Brian could tell you that it is one of the best pieces of satirical cinema ever made. As the name suggests, it follows the life of Brian, a random messiah in Roman controlled Judea, whose life is very similar to Jesus, except that he is not Jesus and everything is a big mistake. It’s fun and obviously worth a watch if you haven’t seen it yet.
However, this wasn’t the case when it was released in 1979, and you can imagine why. Because of its attitude to Christianity, the film was completely banned in Ireland and Norway (they sold it in Sweden as “so funny that it was banned in Norway”) as well as many theaters in the UK. In fact, it wasn’t even a remarkable release until it was banned, and the number of viewers only increased, at least in the United States, after various religious organizations protested the release.
Salo – or 120 days Sodom – is easily one of the most studied films in almost every film school. It was published in 1975 and is considered one of the masterpieces of the last century. Critics generally give it high ratings. However, once you watch it, you will also find that it is one of the most explicit films you will ever see.
The film, which lived in fascist Italy in 1944, followed four fascists who recruited boys and girls for torture and other humiliating experiments. It’s pretty gross, but critics see it more nuanced. They say that the glorification of fascism is indeed the greatest resistance to fascism, although this belief has not been shared by the numerous countries that have banned it. Salo is currently – or has been banned – in countries like Finland, Australia, Italy, Germany and New Zealand, among many others.
3. Men behind the sun
Released in 1988, Men behind the sun was often classified as an exploitation film because it deals with the serious problem of Japanese atrocities during the Second World War in graphic visual details, particularly in the aforementioned biological and chemical research facility Unit 731. It was estimated that more than 250,000 Chinese died in the facility due to the severity of the experiments, or were simply killed by the soldiers once they were done with them. It is one of the less discussed parts of the war that the director tried to change with this film.
Except that it was too realistic. The scenes in the film are openly graphic and exaggerated, which causes many countries (such as Australia) to ban them or at least heavily censor them. One could argue that the films make us uncomfortable are for those who need to be seen widely, not everyone may have a stomach for it.
2. I spit on your grave
The debate about whether sexual violence in the cinema glorifies or acts as a deterrent has been going on for a while, and although there is no easy answer, it also depends heavily on how it is presented. I spit on your grave – a revenge horror film from 1978 – sits somewhere in the middle of this conversation, but only for the critics. For the countries that have banned it – like Ireland, Malaysia, Iceland, the UK, China, Finland, Australia and others – the film definitely exceeds what they think is okay.
The Movie deals with some fairly difficult subjects, including rape and torture, as well as exaggerated revenge, and also with some fairly real images. It is definitely not an easy film, although it is not a “Gore for Gore’s sake” either.
1. The exorcist
As for horror films The exorcist doesn’t really hold a candle for some of the newer releases, probably because the techniques it pioneered have been perfectly polished since then by more modern directors. Still, the film revolutionized the horror room when it came out in 1973, because horror films at the time were still psychological, slowly burning issues. The exorcist changed all of that and was by far one of the scariest films by far.
That is why many theaters around the world banned it at the time of its release, a trend fueled by rumors of fainting and vomiting of the test audience during experimental film screenings. Of course, we can probably thank the film’s marketing team for this, though all this drama has certainly resulted in British censorship banning him from being published on video until it was released on video 1999.
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