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!