Banned Movies That Upset Sensitive Audiences

By Sophia Maddox | May 16, 2023

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

Today, hardly a day goes by where there is no controversy or public debate about whether or not 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 seems sometimes 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 or not 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)

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.

Horror Fans In The UK Had To Wait A Long Time To Visit 'The Last House on the Left'

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(American International Pictures)

Wes Craven's directorial debut, The Last House on the Left was released in 1972 and essentially created a shockwave of disgust. The film is a gruesome tale of two young girls who are kidnapped and brutally murdered by a group of criminals. When it made its way to England, The Last House on the Left was banned by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) for 30 years due to its extremely violent and disturbing content. Many people found the film's depiction of violence and sexual assault to be offensive and inappropriate, and the BBFC deemed it harmful to audiences. 

Despite its ban, the film was briefly released on the UK's unregulated home video market until the Video Recordings Act 1984 was passed, which established a system for regulating video releases in the UK. Today, The Last House on the Left is still considered a controversial film and is not for the faint of heart. Its graphic and disturbing content has made it a cult classic among horror fans, but it remains a divisive and polarizing work.