Banned Movies That Upset Sensitive Audiences

By Sophia Maddox | July 5, 2023

'Black Sunday' Remains A Shocking Piece of Italian Horror that was initially banned in the UK

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 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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Black Sunday is a 1960 horror film directed by Mario Bava and starring Barbara Steele. It was released in Italy in 1960 and in the United States in 1961. The film is based on the novel The Mask of Satan by Nikolai Gogol and tells the story of a witch who is burned at the stake in the 17th century and comes back to life 200 years later to seek revenge on her killers' descendants.

Black Sunday was banned in the United Kingdom in 1961 due to its depiction of graphic violence and gore. It was later released in the UK in 1966 with some cuts to the film.

Black Sunday is considered a classic of the horror genre and is often cited as a major influence on the Italian horror film movement of the 1960s and 1970s. It is known for its atmospheric cinematography and its use of Gothic elements, as well as for its memorable central performance by Barbara Steele. Today, Black Sunday is widely available and is considered an important and influential work within the horror genre.

'I Am Curious (Yellow)' Faced Censorship At Every Turn For Its Shocking Show Of Skin

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(Grove Press)

I Am Curious (Yellow) is a 1967 Swedish art film directed by Vilgot Sjöman. The film is a political and social commentary that follows a young woman named Lena as she investigates various social and political issues in Sweden. The film is known for its frank depiction of sexuality and its use of unconventional narrative techniques.

Upon the film's release in its home country it was a commercial and critical success. However, it was banned in Massachusetts due to its depiction of sexual content, which was considered to be obscene by some groups. The film's ban in Massachusetts led to a significant amount of media attention and controversy, and it became a cause célèbre for advocates of free speech and artistic expression.

After its initial ban, I Am Curious (Yellow) was released in the United States in a modified version that removed some of the more explicit content. The film was a commercial success in the United States and received widespread critical acclaim.

Today, I Am Curious (Yellow) is widely regarded as an important and influential work within the art film world. It is known for its groundbreaking depiction of sexuality and its use of unconventional narrative techniques, and it has been credited with paving the way for more explicit and controversial films in the art house circuit.