Banned Movies That Upset Sensitive Audiences

By Sophia Maddox | May 10, 2023

Horror Fans In The UK Had To Wait A Long Time To Visit 'The Last House on the Left'

Today, hardly a day goes by where there is no controversy or public debate about whether or not various films or other programs have crossed a line of what is acceptable to depict on film. Such debates consume an enormous amount of the public’s collective consciousness, and it seems sometimes that it’s all we ever do. It is easy to forget, however, that such debates are as old as film itself.

Many films over the decades have been controversial for their depictions of various things. Excessive violence, sexual themes, and use of questionable language in films have been magnets for public debate around their suitability to be shown and whether or not they degrade society through their being shown. This list is a journey back in time and an examination of some films from yesterday that fit that description.

Warning, this article features a collection of 60 photographs from films that have been banned in some countries. Viewer discretion is advised as some of these films may still be banned in certain locations.

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(American International Pictures)

Wes Craven's directorial debut, The Last House on the Left was released in 1972 and essentially created a shockwave of disgust. The film is a gruesome tale of two young girls who are kidnapped and brutally murdered by a group of criminals. When it made its way to England, The Last House on the Left was banned by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) for 30 years due to its extremely violent and disturbing content. Many people found the film's depiction of violence and sexual assault to be offensive and inappropriate, and the BBFC deemed it harmful to audiences. 

Despite its ban, the film was briefly released on the UK's unregulated home video market until the Video Recordings Act 1984 was passed, which established a system for regulating video releases in the UK. Today, The Last House on the Left is still considered a controversial film and is not for the faint of heart. Its graphic and disturbing content has made it a cult classic among horror fans, but it remains a divisive and polarizing work.

Cybill Shepherd Turned Heads In 'The Last Picture Show'banned in china and banned in arizona

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(Columbia Pictures)

The Last Picture Show, a 1971 American film directed by Peter Bogdanovich, was banned in China upon its release due to its depiction of small town life and sexual themes. It was also banned in the state of Arizona due to its depiction of teenage sexuality.

The ban on the film in Arizona was eventually lifted, and the film has since gained critical acclaim and is considered a classic of American cinema. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won two, and has been included on numerous lists of the best films ever made. Today, The Last Picture Show is widely regarded as a masterful depiction of the human experience and a poignant exploration of the complexities of relationships, sexuality, and growing up. Its powerful performances and evocative cinematography have helped it to stand the test of time, and it continues to be widely studied and admired by film critics and fans alike.