Banned Movies That Upset Sensitive Audiences

By Sophia Maddox | August 16, 2023

The Religious Text In 'Life of Brian' Set Off Alarm Bells Across The World

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.

test article image
(Cinema International Corporation)

Monty Python's Life of Brian was a satirical comedy film released in 1979 that caused quite a stir due to its controversial subject matter. The film, which centers around a man named Brian who is mistaken for Jesus Christ, was banned in the UK, Ireland, and Norway due to its perceived blasphemy and offense to Christian beliefs. Despite the censorship, the film became a cult classic and gained a large following, with many praising its wit and clever commentary on organized religion. 

The Monty Python group, known for their irreverent and boundary-pushing comedy, responded to the censorship with their usual wit, with member John Cleese famously stating that the film was "only banned in three countries – that's not bad for a film with subtitles." Despite the initial controversy, Life of Brian has since gained a reputation as a masterpiece of comedy and has had a lasting impact on the genre.

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

test article image
(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.