Famous Films That Were Banned Around The World

By | February 7, 2023

No Art Film Shocked Audiences Like 'Flaming Creatures' banned in 22 U.S. States and Four Countries

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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(Jack Smith)

Flaming Creatures is a 1963 experimental film directed by Jack Smith. The film is a satire of Hollywood B movies and features a cast of unconventional and marginalized actors, many of whom were members of the LGBTQ+ community. The film is known for its use of nonlinear storytelling, its surrealist and campy style, and its depiction of gender and sexual fluidity.

Flaming Creatures was released in 1963 and was immediately met with controversy due to its depiction of sexual and gender nonconformity and its use of explicit language and imagery. The film was banned in 22 states in the United States and in several other countries, including Canada, Sweden, and Finland, due to its controversial content.

Despite the controversy, Flaming Creatures has been widely regarded as an important and influential work within the underground and avant-garde film scenes. It has been credited with pioneering the use of camp and satire in underground cinema and with challenging traditional notions of gender and sexuality. The film has been re-released in recent years and is available for viewing at select film festivals and institutions.

Canada and the UK banned 'Pretty Baby' until scenes of a young Brooke Shields were cut

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(Paramount Pictures)

Pretty Baby is a 1978 drama film that was banned in Canada as well as various councils in the UK due to its controversial subject matter. The film tells the story of a young girl growing up in a brothel in New Orleans during the early 20th century. The film's depiction of child sex work and sexual themes was considered inappropriate and offensive by the Canadian censors, leading to its ban. Despite the ban, Pretty Baby has since gained a reputation as a classic of American independent cinema and has been praised for its performances and evocative portrayal of the brothel culture of the time.