Banned Movies That Upset Sensitive Audiences

By Sophia Maddox | July 19, 2023

'The Godfather' Was Banned In The USSR For Glamorizing Crime

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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(Paramount Pictures)

The Godfather was a film that caused quite a stir in the Soviet Union upon its release. Despite its widespread popularity and critical acclaim, the film was ultimately banned in the country due to its depiction of the criminal underworld. The Soviet authorities saw the film as a romanticization of the mob, and were concerned that it could have a negative influence on the youth of the country. However, this only served to increase the film's underground popularity, as Soviet citizens were eager to see what all the fuss was about. Despite the ban, The Godfather remains a classic film that has stood the test of time, and its influence can still be seen in popular culture today.

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

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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.