Banned Movies That Upset Sensitive Audiences

By Sophia Maddox | December 15, 2023

'Titicut Follies' Exposed the Horrific Conditions in Mental Hospitals... and Was Condemned for Doing So

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(Grove Press)

Titicut Follies, a 1967 American documentary film directed by Frederick Wiseman, was banned in the United States before its debut due to its graphic depiction of conditions at the Bridgewater State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Massachusetts. The film, which was filmed in black and white, shows the harsh and often inhumane treatment of patients at the hospital, and includes scenes of forced medication, restraints, and abuse.

The film was banned in the U.S. on the grounds that it violated the privacy of the patients depicted in the film and that its release could potentially cause harm to the reputation of the hospital and the state of Massachusetts. The ban on the film was eventually lifted in 1991, after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the film's educational value outweighed any potential harm caused by its release.

Today, Titicut Follies is widely regarded as a landmark documentary film and an important work of social commentary. Its unflinching portrayal of the realities of life in a psychiatric institution has had a lasting impact on the way that such institutions are viewed and has contributed to reforms in the treatment of mental illness.

'Apocalypse Now'? More Like Apocalypse Never In South Korea

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(United Artists)

Apocalypse Now was a film that was banned under the regime of South Korean President Park Chung-hee. The film's depiction of the Vietnam War and its themes of violence and corruption were seen as a threat to the government's efforts to maintain stability and order in the country. President Park Chung-hee was known for his strict censorship policies and was quick to ban any works that he saw as potentially disruptive or harmful to the status quo.

As a result, Apocalypse Now was never officially released in South Korea, and those who wanted to see it had to rely on underground channels or smuggled copies. Despite the ban, the film has gone on to become a classic of modern cinema, and its themes of war, insanity, and the human cost of conflict continue to resonate with audiences around the world.