Depictions of violence, politics, and religion have all led to movies being banned in various places around the world.
Many low-budget horror and exploitation films are intended to be as brutal and gory as possible, and it’s not uncommon for these films to be heavily censored or kept out of mass release in certain countries.
Some directors set out to push sexual boundaries with their films. The incorrigible American filmmaker John Waters is known for his controversial films that challenge cultural norms. All too often, his works receive X ratings upon release, but a few have been banned outright in several countries. (These are the best R-rated movies ever made.)
Countries under military dictatorships often prohibit the screening of movies that are critical of totalitarianism. Accusations of blasphemy can also lead to movies being outlawed in countries with an official state religion such as Islam, or in places where Catholicism or some other faith is predominant.
Homophobia can also factor into bans; the comedy “Zoolander” was banned in Iran for seeming to support gay rights, and the Marvel superhero film “Eternals” was proscribed in numerous countries because of a scene of two men kissing. (These are the 30 best LGBTQ movies of all time.)
To compile a list of 30 movies, both famous and obscure, that have been banned around the globe, 24/7 Tempo consulted a number of internet sources, considering only those that have been officially banned by a specific country for an explicitly stated reason. Not all bans are currently in effect; many of the films on the list were subsequently edited for content and released in the country that had originally forbidden them. Information on directors, cast, and plot comes from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon.
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