Banned Movies That Upset Sensitive Audiences

By Sophia Maddox | August 9, 2023

The Violence Of 'Django' Turned the Western Genre Upside Down But It Was Barred From Screening In the UK Until the '90s

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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(Euro International Films)

Django is a 1966 Italian spaghetti western film directed by Sergio Corbucci and starring Franco Nero as the title character, a former Union soldier who sets out to rescue his wife from a group of Confederate soldiers. The film is known for its violent and bleak tone, as well as its memorable score by composer Luis Bacalov.

Released in Italy in 1966, the film was a commercial success in its home country. However, it was banned in the United Kingdom in 1968 due to its depiction of graphic violence and was not released in the country until 1993, when it was released on home video with some cuts to the film.

Today, Django is widely regarded as a classic of the western genre It is known for its grim and violent portrayal of the American Old West, and its themes of vengeance and survival. Django has spawned numerous sequels and imitators, and its iconic theme music has been widely used in other media. The film has been re-released in recent years in restored versions and is widely available on home video and streaming platforms.

Ben-Hur Was Banned In China For Being Too Western

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(Loew's, Inc.)

Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic historical drama film directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston as the title character. The film was a commercial and critical success and won a record 11 Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Charlton Heston.

In spite of the film's stranglehold over the 32nd Academy Awards, Chairman Mao Zedong banned the film in China for containing "propaganda of superstitious beliefs, namely Christianity". It's unclear if the film ever received a wide release in China.