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The history of film is littered with movies that were banned for explicit scenes of excessive violence or gratuitous sex. But sometimes films are banned for the most arbitrary of reasons. It can be because of whatever is trending that month (BDSM! Horrifying anthropomorphic turtles that are also ninjas!), or it can be that the government of certain countries are terrified of time travel. These banned movies were kept from audiences for some seriously ridiculous reason, and most of the time, it was because whoever was in control of the censorship board was just a total square.

Speaking of squares, rumor has it that in 1918 all comedies were banned in Manitoba because it was believed they would make the populous too frivolous. In hindsight, the notion of a film making the citizens of a providence run wild with frivolity seems naive. Especially after viewing some of the films on this list of movies that were banned even for ridiculous reasons.

Across the globe films from The Interview to The Wild One (starring Marlon Brando), and even ET have been censored for everything from an intent to incite anarchy to the possibility of a film having a negative impact on the film industry of another country. When it comes to movies, the rest of the world does not play around! Check out this list of movies that were banned across the globe and head to the comments section to let us know if there are any internationally banned films that we missed or if you think there’s a movie listed here that should definitely be locked away in a vault forever.

 

The Simpsons Movie Banned Because They’re Yellow

Video: YouTube

Think long and think hard about why The Simpsons Movie was banned in Burma. Was it the cursing? Maybe, but no. Was it Bart’s nude scene? You’re close. As luck would have it, the colors yellow and red are banned in Burma – and since Bart mostly wears a red shirt, even if he had been clothed the entire time it wouldn’t have mattered. To think that the citizens of Myanmar have yet to lay eyes on Spiderpig is a shame.

Video courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Back to the Future Banned Because Time Travel Is Dangerous

Video: YouTube

If you grew up in the ’80s you probably spent summer afternoons pretending travel through time in a bitchin’ DeLorean with a sidekick that was 40 years older than you. Just us? Back to the Future is a touch stone of cinema history, but it was too much for the Chinese government. Upon its release, they banned the film, saying it was “the government’s belief that time travel is a dangerous element in fiction and that the actions of Marty McFly are highly inappropriate.”

Video courtesy of Universal Pictures

The Original King Kong Banned for Having a Giant Gorilla in It

Video: YouTube

The original King Kong film, released in 1933, when people thought that moving pictures were magic and that maybe there was a giant gorilla right there in the theater that was going to eat everyone. Finland banned the movie out right upon its release because they felt that the effects were “too lifelike.” Ummm… if you say so Finland.

Video courtesy of Universal Pictures

Schindler’s List Banned for Being Too Sympathetic to Jews

Video: YouTube

The 1994 Steven Spielberg tour de force about Oskar Schindler, the German Nazi party member who risked his life to save 1,200 people was quite rightly considered a high point in Spielberg’s filmmaking career (second only to his appearance in Austin Powers: Goldmember probably). But it caused an uproar in some Muslim countries for being “too sympathetic to the Jewish cause.” When asked to re-edit the film the suit the Middle Eastern countries, Spielberg said “no way, Jose” and took a nap on his pile of money.

Video courtesy of Universal Pictures

2012 Banned for Contradicting North Korea’s Own 2012 Prophecies

Video: YouTube

By now we’re all aware that North Korea is King Crazy, and that they’ve banned their fare share of movies, so when you hear that they banned the film 2012 you’d be wise to think that Roland Emmerich blew up a statue of Kim Jong Il or something. But you’d be wrong!

2012 was banned by North Korea for running counter to their own 2012 prophecies. You see, to North Korea, 2012 was the 100 year anniversary of their founder Kim Il Sung, which for them was a great time of celebration. So not only was the film banned, but heavy fines (and let’s be real, probably imprisonment) were levied against anyone caught bootlegging the film.Video courtesy of Columbia Pictures

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Banned for Showing Adults as the Enemy

Video: YouTube

If you were a child of the ’80s, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial made huge impact on your life. Whether you were touched by the heartwarming story of a boy and his alien, or you were creeped out by the scary raisin monster, the film still has a special place in your heart. Unless you grew up in Finland, Norway, or Sweden, where children under the age of 12 were banned from seeing the movie when it was released because it portrayed “adults as the enemy of children.”

Trailer courtesy of Universal Pictures

Avatar Banned in China Due to Worries it Would Promote Civil Unrest

Video: YouTube

The 2D version of James Cameron’s Biggest Movie Ever™ was banned in China after the government worried that the success of the film would affect their own film industry. Censors were also concerned that the film would promote civil unrest. Despite the Chinese government’s efforts, the film made a record $2.7 billion worldwide.

Video courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Zoolander Banned by Iran for Depicting Homosexuals

Video: YouTube

We know what you’re thinking. The movie about a secret plot to kill the prime-minister of Malaysia for enacting child labor laws was banned in Malaysia, right? Well aren’t you just Mr. Smarty Pants. Zoolander, the goofy film about male models was banned in Iran for depicting homosexuals. That’s it. They didn’t want to show the film because there might have been some gays in it. Iran, you need to stop resting on ugly and sashay away.

Video courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The Interview Makes North Korea Really Super Mad

Video: YouTube

Why is the banning this bro-mantic comedy about two hapless dopes that try to kill the leader of North Korea so ridiculous? Because it’s absurdly hilarious that a film made by the brains behind Pineapple Express could endanger world peace. The country’s UN ambassador called the film “an act of war” and affected Sony’s original release plans for the film.

Trailer courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Monty Python’s Life of Brian Is Blasphemy, According to the UK

Video: YouTube

The Monty Python comedy rode a dangerous line by telling the story of Brian, a child born in a stable near Jesus, who gets mistaken as the Messiah. Upon release, the film was considered blasphemous and banned by several UK councils, some of which have only recently lifted the ban. Lighten up fellas, it’s only a movie.

Video courtesy of Cinema International Corporation (UK), Orion Pictures/Warner Bros.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno Banned in Utah (While Saw V Was Released without Issue)

Video: YouTube

The Kevin Smith helmed romantic comedy revolves around two friends who are flat broke. To make some extra money, they decide to make a porno, and fall in love (duh). The film was outlawed in Trinidad and Tobago, Malaysia, and Thailand because censors felt the teens would try to make their own porn films. The film was also banned in Utah; the same weekend, Saw V was released with no issues.

Video courtesy of The Weinstein Company

Deadpool Banned in China Due to Violence

Video: YouTube

Despite high levels of anticipation for Marvel’s latest anti-superhero movie, China has decided to ban Deadpool for graphic violence, nudity, and bad language. The Chinese government is known for working with Hollywood to “clean up” some of the movies that don’t pass their censorship guidelines, but in Deadpool‘s case, any edits would cause serious plot problems for the film.

Marvel is going to take a hard hit for this one, because their movies normally do extremely well in China.Video courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Goldfinger Banned Because Gert Frobe Was a Nazi?

Video: YouTube

Upon Goldfinger‘s release in 1964 it was banned in Israel. Once the Israeli government discovered that Gert Frobe, who is AMAZING as Goldfinger, was a member of the Nazi party they banned the film. But once they did a little more digging they discovered that Frobe used his membership in the Nazi party to save Jews from the Gestapo, they overturned their ruling.

Trailer courtesy of United Artists

The Bohemian Girl Banned During the Third Reich

Video: YouTube

The Bohemian Girl is a fairly sweet film starring Laurel and Hardy as a couple of gypsies who end up taking care of a kidnapped baby. The Nazis were not happy about this. Not the kidnapped baby thing, but the fact that Laurel and Hardy portrayed gypsies in a favorable light. The film was banned from Germany during the Third Reich.

Video courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Monkey Business Banned in Ireland for Too Many Hijinks That Might Incite Anarchy

Video: YouTube

This 1931 Marx Brothers classic involved the trio stowing away on a ship and getting caught up in some classic hijinks with a bunch of gangsters. It was very groundbreaking stuff for 1931! So groundbreaking that Ireland banned the film out of fear that it would incite anarchy. Oh Ireland, you’re the worst.

Video courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Banned for Monkey Brains

Video: YouTube

The second, and darkest, installment of the Indiana Jones franchise saw the adventurer stumble upon an ancient cult in India. Save for a couple of scenes of hearts being ripped from human bodies and a feast of monkey brains, it was a pretty fun family movie. Speaking of monkey brains, the Indian government felt that the film was racist and offensive to their culture so they banned it for a brief period of time.

Video snippet courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The Big Sleep Banned for Sexy Dialogue

Video: YouTube

The 1946 adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s 1939 book of the same name was a milestone for noir cinema and it thrust Humphrey Bogart into the lime light, but Ireland thought the film was a bit racy. They banned the film for “sexual references,” specifically, the line “Speaking of horses, I like to play them myself. But I like to see them workout a little first, see if they’re front runners of if they come from behind, find out what their whole card is, what makes them run.” Get you head out of the gutter, Ireland!

Video Courtesy of Warner Bros.

The Evil Dead Makes the UK’s Video Nasty List

Video: YouTube

One of the greatest horror films of all time, it is often copied but never duplicated. The film was banned in the UK for the violent tree molestation, and even after the producers re-edited the film for distribution it was still heavily censored in the UK, making the it one of the films on England’s “Video Nasty” list.

Video Courtesy of New Line Cinema

The Da Vinci Code Banned for Undermining Christianity

Video: YouTube

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare stated that the film “undermines the very roots of Christianity on the Solomon Islands,” prompting a giant “NO DOY!” from the rest of the world.

Video courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Blue Jasmine Banned Because Andrew Dice Clay Lights Up

Video: YouTube

Blue Jasmine was a much needed critical and commercial success for Woody Allen, proving that the filmmaker famous for turning first drafts into feature films and marrying his son’s sister is still capable of creating a memorable movie. India never got to see the film that momentarily halted the barrage of Woody Allen jokes because the government blacklisted it for showing Andrew Dice Clay light up cigarettes on screen. In India, scenes containing smoking must be followed by scrolling text containing anti smoking PSAs. Allen balked, and India never got to see Blanchett come unravelled, or that cameo by the girl from The Bachelorette.

Video courtesy f Sony Pictures Classics

District 9 Banned for Being Racist

Video: YouTube

Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 was a scathing piece of social commentary barely disguised as science fiction; the only way it could have been more on the nose was if it had been titled, Apartheid, The Musical! So it’s surprising that the film was banned in Nigera… for being too racist. That’s because the movie casts Nigerians as violent, ruthless, criminals taking equal advantage of the aliens as a predominately white paramilitary group. After a toothless apology from Sony, Nigeria relented and lifted the ban.

Video courtesy of TriStar Pictures

Ben-Hur Banned for Being Propaganda

Video: YouTube

The iconic 1959 sword and sandals epic was banned in China for containing “propaganda of superstitious beliefs, specifically Christianity,” prompting a chariot race between Charlton Heston and the Chinese Prime Minister.

Video courtesy of Loew’s, Inc.

Milk Banned for Not Representing Samoan Culture

Video: YouTube

Milk, the biopic of civil rights leader Harvey Milk was destined to anger a few people on its road to award city. The film was banned in Samoa, the island that gave us Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and The Fa’afafine, men raised as women to create a third gender. The Samoan censorship board said that Milk was “contradictory to Samoan culture and Christian beliefs…”

Video courtesy of Focus Features

Barney’s Great Adventure Banned for Being Unacceptable for Children

Video: YouTube

Barney’s Great Adventure was banned in Malaysia because the censors “found it unacceptable for children to watch” without providing any further explanation. Malaysia was probably right about this one.

Video courtesy of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Banned in Four Different Countires

Video: YouTubeThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre was Tobe Hooper’s magnum opus that inspired millions of imitators. Unfortunately, upon rerelease in 1999, it was banned for violent and sadistic content in Brazil, Sweden, Singapore, and France, where Jerry Lewis is still enjoying a blossoming career.

Video courtesy of Bryanston Pictures

Noah Banned for It’s Portrayal of the Prophets of Islam

Video: YouTube

Darren Aronofsky’s 2014 biblical epic starring Russell Crowe in the eponymous role managed to bring in $360 million (two by two probably!) despite middling reviews and being banned in Indonesia, Bahrain, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and even China for giving an artistic portrayal of the prophets of Islam.

Video courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The Wild One Banned for Inspiring British Youths to Rebel (Maybe)

Video: YouTube

Marlon Brando’s 1953 film about motorcycle gangs terrorizing a small town defined a generation of teens that wanted to rebel, which is why it was banned in the UK for 14 years after its release. The UK censorship board was afraid that it would have a negative effect on youths who found Brando’s character “attractive and imitable.” Where were they when The Island of Doctor Moreau was released?

Video courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Sex and the City 2 Banned Because of “Cultural Values”

Video: YouTube

Even though the popular film franchise’s second film was set in Abu Dhabi, the National Media Council for the UAE banned the movie from being released there due to “cultural values.” Which is weird, because we’ve always thought that Abu Dhabi was the Samantha of the United Arab Emirates.

Video Courtesy of New Line Cinema

Borat Not Well Received by the Kasakh Government

Video: YouTube

The Sacha Baron Cohen film that still has people saying, “my wife” for seemingly no reason followed the Cohen’s character as he traveled from Kahzakhstan to America. The Kazakh government loathed the film so much they made sure it never saw the light of day, although, Amazon reports a large number of import copies being ordered to the country. Very nice!

Video courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Last Tango in Paris Banned Because of All That Butter

Video: YouTube

In this 1972 Oscar nominated film, Marlon Brando played Paul, an American widower who began a relationship with a younger woman. There is a lot of sex in this film. Like, A LOT A LOT. But the part that freaked Italy out was an improvised scene were butter is used as lube for a*** sex. The butter really hit the fan when the the film’s director was sentenced to four months in prison for creating “self serving pornography” and all existing copies of the film on Italian soil were destroyed.

Video courtesy of United Artists

Brokedown Palace Results in a Filipino Ban of All Claire Danes Films

Video: YouTube

Brokedown Palace is a 1999 drama that you’ve probably never seen, about two women who are imprisoned in Thailand after trying to smuggle drugs. The film criticizes the Thai government, so, duh, it’s banned there. But it’s also banned in the Philippines (where principal photography took place) because Claire Danes took every chance she could to trash talk the Philippines and how awful it is. After issuing a lackluster retraction of her statement, the government banned EVERY MOVIE STARRING CLAIRE DANES. You do not mess with the Philippines.

Video courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Natural Born Killers Banned in Ireland for Fear of Copycat Killings

Video: YouTube

Oliver Stone’s violent satire focused on a young couple’s rise to celebrity serial killers, and it was banned in Ireland immediately. The UK followed suit after fear of copycat killings. The video release was set back five years after the unrelated Dumblane massacre. Although the real tragedy in Natural Born Killers is Robert Downey Jr.’s Australian accent.

Video courtesy of Warner Bros.

Brüno Banned Because of Genital Organs

Video: YouTube

Brüno, the satire about a gay Austrian fashion reporter who travels to the US was a hit upon its release, but the Ukrainian Ministry of culture failed to see what was so funny. They felt that the movie contained “unjustified showing of genital organs,” and “homosexual perversions in an explicitly realist manner.”

Video courtesy of Universal Pictures

Cannibal Holocaust Banned in Over 50 Countries for Being a Snuff Film

Video: YouTube

For a film made in 1980, this found footage pioneer still holds up as one of the most controversial and morally questionable films ever created. The director of the film contractually obligated the four main actors to stay out of the press for one year after the film’s release, giving the impression that a film crew had actually perished in the Amazon jungle. Upon its release, Cannibal Holocaust was banned in 50 countries over allegations of being a snuff film.

Video courtesy of United Artists Europa

Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story Banned by Carpenter’s Family

Video: YouTube

I’m Not There and Velvet Goldmine director Todd Haynes gained international notoriety when he released a 43 minute documentary about the life of singer Karen Carpenter. Her brother, Richard Carpenter, saw the film and objected to Haynes’s depiction of Karen’s anorexia and his struggle with his sexual identity. Since the film has been banned it’s become a cult hit.

Video courtesy of American International Video Search, Inc.

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