Challenging Movies That Upset Sensitive Audiences

By Sophia Maddox | February 16, 2024

'Apocalypse Now'? More Like Apocalypse Never In South Korea

Today, hardly a day goes by where there is no controversy or public debate about whether 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 sometimes seems 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 the use of questionable language in films have been magnets for public debate around their suitability to be shown and whether 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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(United Artists)

Apocalypse Now was a film that was banned under the regime of South Korean President Park Chung-hee. The film's depiction of the Vietnam War and its themes of violence and corruption were seen as a threat to the government's efforts to maintain stability and order in the country. President Park Chung-hee was known for his strict censorship policies and was quick to ban any works that he saw as potentially disruptive or harmful to the status quo.

As a result, Apocalypse Now was never officially released in South Korea, and those who wanted to see it had to rely on underground channels or smuggled copies. Despite the ban, the film has gone on to become a classic of modern cinema, and its themes of war, insanity, and the human cost of conflict continue to resonate with audiences around the world.

Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau Get Revolutionary in 'Viva Maria!'

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(United Artists)

Viva Maria! is a 1965 comedy-adventure film directed by Louis Malle, starring Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau as the title characters. The film was released in the United States in 1967. The story is set in the early 20th century and follows two women, Maria I and Maria II, who meet and team up as dancers in a traveling circus. They eventually become involved in the revolution in the fictional Latin American country of San Miguel, and use their skills as performers and their beauty to inspire and manipulate the revolutionaries. The film was a commercial and critical success and is considered a classic of 1960s French cinema.

The film was banned in Dallas, Texas, for perceived anti-Catholic content although that ban was lifted by the Supreme Court in 1968 before severely limiting the ability of local municipalities to ban films for adults in Interstate Circuit, Inc. v. City of Dallas.