Banned Movies That Upset Sensitive Audiences

By Sophia Maddox | October 27, 2023

Paths of Glory Was Banned In 1957 Based On Its Views On The Military

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 the 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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(United Artists)

Paths of Glory is a film directed by Stanley Kubrick that was released in 1957. The film tells the story of a group of soldiers who are wrongly accused of cowardice during World War I and are subsequently put on trial. The film was banned in 1957 in several countries, including France, where it was set, because it was considered too critical of the military and the government. The film was also banned in Spain, where it was also set, because it depicted the Spanish army in a negative light.

On top of the ban throughout Europe, Paths of Glory was not allowed to be screened on U.S. military bases due to its anti-war sentiment. Would it have been screened anyway? Probably not.

Despite the ban, the film was a critical success and is now considered a classic of cinema. Today, it is widely viewed as a powerful anti-war film that highlights the horrors of conflict and the inhumane treatment of soldiers. The film's ban did not have a significant impact on Stanley Kubrick's career, as he went on to become of the greatest directors in history.

Marlon Brando In 'The Wild One'

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(Columbia Pictures)

The Wild One, a 1953 American film directed by László Benedek, was banned in the United Kingdom for 14 years after its release in the United States due to its controversial themes and depiction of motorcycle gangs. The film, which starred Marlon Brando as the leader of a gang of rebellious bikers, was seen as promoting a lawless and antisocial lifestyle, and was thought to be potentially damaging to young people who might be influenced by its message.

The film was finally released in the UK in 1967, after the British film censorship board decided that the passage of time had made the film less potentially harmful to audiences. It was released in a modified version, with some scenes cut and others added in order to make the film more acceptable to British audiences.