Banned Movies That Upset Sensitive Audiences

By Sophia Maddox | June 7, 2023

'Maniac' Has An Odd Relationship With British Censors

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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(Analysis Film Releasing Corporation)

Ah, Maniac, what a film. This film is definitely not for the faint of heart. In fact, it was so gory and disturbing that it was banned twice in England, first in 1981 for its theatrical run, and again in 1998 for a home video release. The film follows a serial killer as he stalks and murders young women in New York City, and it's filled with graphic violence, sexual assault, and all sorts of other disturbing content. It's not exactly the kind of movie you'd want to watch on a cozy night in, hence the ban.

The Tin Drum Was Banned In The US For...Everything

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(United Artists)

The Tin Drum is a 1979 film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Günter Grass. The film was directed by Volker Schlöndorff and starred David Bennent as Oskar, the main character.

The film was banned in Canada and the United States (specifically Oklahoma) due to its controversial subject matter, which includes sexual abuse and the Nazi Party's rise to power in Germany. The film was also criticized for its depiction of Oskar, the main character, who is a young boy who decides to stop growing physically and emotionally after witnessing the death of his father and the rise of the Nazis. Oskar's decision to stop growing is portrayed as a form of protest against the atrocities being committed around him.

Despite the controversy, The Tin Drum was critically praised for its powerful performances, especially by Bennent as Oskar, and for its surreal and allegorical style. The film won the 1979 Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival as well as the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.