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10 Powerful Banned Films From Around the World That You Should See

An exciting list of really worth-while films, banned in various parts of the world for different reasons. Many of which you may have to fight to see because they “are worth it”.

Some films have either been banned outright, boycotted by the masses, or heavily edited. For whatever reason a film is not allowed to be viewed, it invariably sparks world-wide attention, thus achieving the opposite effect

Several of the films below have been banned for sacrilegious content, religious reasons, killing of animals, what is interpreted as “wordly”or “offensive”, and violent content. Things which naturally, I do not advocate.

The reason for this list is not because I agree with these things, but rather because in my reading for this research, I’ve found that these films actually possess a true artistic quality not present in other movies. Alas, it may be their “realness” and authenticity in the way they have portrayed human tendencies which caused them to be banned in the first place.

I have not seen all of these movies, but aim to.

The Kite Runner – Banned in Afghanistan

This film was largely shot in Afghanistan and is about a young boy who carries the guilt of childhood betrayal all through his adulthood. The story line involves rape, extra-marital affairs, and turbulent events about the political climate of Afghanistan at the time.

A well-written and totally captivating story line. A must-see because films like these that have such a lasting effect long after they have been viewed and digested, are not often made.

Saturday Night Fever – Banned in Burma, Iran, Malaysia

This is about a troubled teenager whose life is made bearable by his constant visits to the discotheque. This film tackles real life problems faced by average people in dead-end jobs, living in societies in which they feel they no longer belong, and having friends with whom they no longer anything in common.

If only watched for the music and dancing, this is a superior film. However, it also offers a challenge to take the viewer away from fantasy, sci-fi, or unreal worlds often presented in modern films, and bring us back to one with which we are intimately familiar.

Day Of The Dead – Banned in Canada and Germany

Scientists on one hand are determined to study the living dead, soldiers on the other, are not so sure that this is such a good idea. This leads to a breakdown in the already volatile relationships between the two factions. Meanwhile, the dead are walking the earth, to see whom they may next devour.

A fantastically funny film which had me in stitches in parts, but it’s the out of this world premise and accurate portrayal of human nature which earns it a place on this list.

Ben Hur – Banned in China

Two men who were childhood friends, one from a noble Jewish background, the other a Roman officer, face each other in a powerful tale about love, friendship, inner political turmoil and the strength of family.

This film is the one which marries perfectly, the intense religious story line to an unstable political theme. Not only do they run parallel with each other, but during the scenes in which they clash, they do so fantastically! A satisfaction to watch.

Bruce Almightly – Banned in Egypt, Malaysia, and Burma

A man who is unhappy with his failing life complains to God about not being treated fairly. When offered the chance by God, to do a better job, he soon realizes that he cannot handle supreme power sanely and is forced to hand his life back over to the One who can.

This film is not only hilarious, it carries a deep message, delivered in such an uncomplicated way, that it’s deceptively easy viewing.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Banned in Iceland, Germany, Singapore, the UK (for a period of time), and the Ukraine

The classic “stranded teens” movie. They run out of petrol in the wrong place, and at the wrong time. In a frenzy of meat hooks, noisy chainsaws, sledge hammers, and what could be interpreted as inbred freaks, the slaughter is happily unleashed.

A good laugh and an even better scare for those who enjoy this genre of film. I enjoyed it immensely, and flitted through periods where I laughed out loud, covered my eyes, stomped my feet, shouted at the screen, and became bewildered at their oblivion of walking into trap after trap after trap.

Cannibal Holocaust – Banned in (well it may be easier to say where it wasn’t banned) Germany,UK, Australia, Italy, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, Australia, Finland

I have included this film for its social commentary and artistic values, not because I am in support of killing animals because I am not. (It was alleged that animals were actually killed during the making of this movie)

Four documentarians go to the thickest part of the Amazon Rainforest to make a film about the life of the native people, but they never return home. When the rescue mission is sent in to find them, a tape is found instead, and therein unfolds issues of rape, murder, sacrifice and brutality, but who are the real culprits?

A filmed banned in several countries, I suspect because of alleged animal killings. The film does portray fairly the depraved mind of the so called “civilised” and brings to the fore, the real issues of society as we know it.

The Passion of the Christ – Banned in Morocco, Burma, and Malaysia

Mel Gibson’s film contains scenes of violence and is based on the biblical accounts of the life, arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A superb film and a beautiful credit to the producer and director. The scenes are fantastically real and evoke heart-wrenching emotions, hardly if ever, tackled in films before. It would enrich anyone who’s been allowed to watch it.

The Omen – Banned in Yemen

A baby is born, but he is not the anxiously awaited son the parents hoped for. He brings violence and death, ultimately of his own mother, and is marked by the Devil’s number, 666.

This first offering is a good one, and was a sort of pioneer in its time. The actors are all suitably omnious and as the story plays out, the viewer gets a feeling of someone watching you. The music, the screams, and the crisp directing, all play a part to make this film one of the most chilling of its genre.

Saving Private Ryan – Banned in Burma and Malaysia

The opening scene of this movie is explosive and emotive. Back in the US, it is discovered that 3 brothers have died in battle and that the mother is supposed to receive all the notices on the same day.

It is also discovered that the fourth son is missing in action somewhere in France, and a squad is immediately put together to wade through a terrible war and certain death find him and send him home.

A list of banned films which are so worth seeing couldn’t be complete without this masterpiece. Powerful scenes unfold on the screen and the entire film hits you like the explosion that it is. Each scene effortlessly flows into another, and it’s only during the credits at the end, when you remember to breathe, that you realise that you’ve been mersmerised. Totally!

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23 Comments
  1. valli
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Very interesting. I had no idea about these films.

  2. IcyCucky
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    I saw four movies out of your list, and it’s interesting to learn about the banning of these films.

  3. nobert soloria bermosa
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    very nice article,great review, i’ve watch some of it, i remember watching-saving private ryan,twice i guess,then the passion of the christ also,these are very good films.Ben-hur? it’s not w/in my generation age…lol,there were several films also that were banned here in the Philippines like the movie “the Piano”,the movie of tom hanks-the da vinci code was also banned for a while.since there’s a lot of pirated CD’s And DVD’s here they were not able to stop people from watching it, i would add that banning certain films here is futile, pirated copies are everywhere…thanks Anne

  4. Alexa Gates
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I can’t believe passion of the christ was banned anywhere!

  5. Ruby Hawk.
    Posted April 18, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    i have seen most of these moviea at one time or another. Some of them so long ago I can’t remember much about them. I loved Saturday Fever and The Omen.

  6. Dee Huff
    Posted April 19, 2008 at 3:54 am

    I’ve seen some of these films, but I’m not sure I could actually sit through one or two of the others since I’m quite squeemish. Good list.

  7. Jajaja
    Posted April 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Ben-Hur is an awesome movie. I watching it because it was on T.V a while back and it was very interesting.

  8. MysLykeMeeh
    Posted May 1, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Its true. These movies are worth to watch. You can gain or get lesson from each of them.

    Nice collection.

  9. luke lee
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Hi, i am frm malaysia but i hv seen most of the film at the local cinemas. i think there are some misconception on our country abroad. i was told by a good friend of mine in the US that his colleagues are afraid of coming to visiot south east asian region with the assumption tht we maybe linked to the terrorists. we can be quite lenient and hv open mind abt several matters which may be quite sensitive elsewhere. come visit our country and our neighbours like singapore and thailand to know the truth.

  10. Sherdfly
    Posted May 7, 2008 at 12:17 am

    interesting article…nice work

  11. mark
    Posted May 8, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    The animal killings in Cannibal Holocaust were indeed real. Though I’m against such treatment of animals, the film is a great one and remains one of my favorites. It’s genuinely disturbing and shows the raw power that movies have over audiences. I can see why it’s banned in so many places but everyone should see it.

  12. jobs
    Posted May 19, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    the reason why cannibal holocaust was banned in so many countries was not only because of the actual killing of animals but because it was believed for a while that the actors were actually murdered for the making of the film. people believed they died because after the film was shot no one saw the actors, they had signed contracts saying they wouldnt act in anything for a year. the director was immediatly arrested on suspision of murder

  13. conbrio
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 2:30 am

    Yes, the animals were actually killed on film in “Cannibal Holocaust,” which the director later said he regretted. And it’s true that the director was believed to have had the actors killed on film as well; he was taken to trial and had to have the actors come forward to demonstrate that they were indeed, unlike the animals, very much alive. I don’t know that I think everyone should see this — while the so-called documentarians show how ugly people can get, so do the so-called cannibals. They’re all horrible people, just in different ways, with perhaps an edge to the documentary makers, from “civilization,” who should have known better. It’s very obvious that at least one member of the group is enjoying himself until he, too, suddenly has reason not to. Certainly children shouldn’t see it, or anyone who’s very sensitive, because while the animal killings look real because they are, so do the people killings, because the director was superb and so was the cast in making the killings look real.

  14. Kelly
    Posted October 10, 2008 at 9:28 am

    I have seen some of these. I am surprised to see Bruce Almight on your list. You take of it is exactly what I have been saying since it came out! Thanks.

  15. zanobia
    Posted November 1, 2008 at 6:40 am

    very nice article and photos…
    I liked it.

  16. Xeb
    Posted December 5, 2008 at 3:47 am

    This Helped My School Presentation :D
    Great Article

  17. Posted December 5, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Thanks for taking the time off to leave me a message, Xeb. Glad I could help.

  18. stponme
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I dont understand why Bruce Almighty was banned, I have watched this movie millions of times. Where has it all been banned I want to know I am doing a report on it.

  19. femi nigeria
    Posted May 14, 2009 at 11:03 am

    talking about cannibal holocaust,i think it could have been sensible if it was banned because of sexual violence and not because of the killing of a turtle and an annoying muskrat.

  20. Jem
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    In Italy it is illegal to ban films…many countries like the united states were pretty open about unbabbing fims but starting in 2008 they are banning many good films again-I purchaised Mandolescenza in 2006 and found now it is illegal to own in the United States…and we complain about Iran?…Hah-we have our own censors here as well.

  21. Gopesh
    Posted December 18, 2009 at 10:11 am

    man, your choice rocks.!!!
    this list is jus awesome..!
    Hats down.!

  22. Posted February 1, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    bruce almighty is a funny movie lol lol lol lol

  23. Posted March 31, 2010 at 4:54 am

    Watched a couple of them already.. Will watch the rest of em soon. Great list.

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