Banned Movies That Upset Sensitive Audiences

By Sarah Norman | July 12, 2023

'The Exorcist' Convinced Audiences That The Devil Wanted Their Souls

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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(warner bros)

The Exorcist is a horror film that was banned in the UK and Ireland due to its graphic content and disturbing religious themes. The film, directed by William Friedkin, is about a young girl who is possessed by a demonic entity and the efforts of two priests to exorcise the demon from her body. The film is notable for its graphic depiction of violence and demonic themes, and has been described as one of the most disturbing and influential horror films ever made.

The Exorcist was banned in the UK and Ireland due to concerns about its depiction of priests as flawed human beings. It was also criticized by some critics for its portrayal of women as victims and for its perceived glorification of Satan. Despite these criticisms, the film has gained a widespread following and has been widely analyzed by scholars and film critics as a commentary on religion, faith, and the human condition. It is considered a classic of the horror genre and has influenced a number of other films and filmmakers.

The ban on The Exorcist was eventually lifted in the UK and Ireland, with the latter country only lifting the ban in 1998, and the film was released on DVD with an "18" rating, meaning it could only be sold to or viewed by adults.

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

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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.