Censorship in China is mandated by the Communist Party. The governing party can censor any form of media - films, television, literature, etc.- in order to maintain a certain level of control over its citizens. China is also the world’s second largest movie market. So if a movie can’t make it past the Chinese censors, that means millions of dollars of lost revenue for the film studio. Unfortunately for Chinese people, it also means they miss out on some of the world's best cinematic offerings, including the ones on this list of great American movies banned in China.
In terms of Chinese censorship, there are few countries in the world with stricter policies. There are a plethora of reasons why movies are banned in China. Some reasons are pretty obvious. They’re clearly not going to allow any movie that negatively depicts the Chinese Government, but how about something as seemingly innocent as time travel? Yes, all movies that depict time travel, like Back to the Future, are censored.
Any media that blends live action with animation is also banned. Films depicting homosexual romances will never hit the Chinese silver screen. Movies that are deemed too violent or gratuitous, or contain too much nudity are also off limits to Chinese citizens.
This is only a short list of films banned in China, but they are some of the best. Make your voice heard, vote up your favorite movies banned in China.
- Photo: Loew's, Inc.
Yes, William Wyler's Academy Award winning 1959 epic Ben-Hur is still banned in China. The story about freedom and revenge was axed for "objectionable superstitious parts." The superstitious beliefs in question are mainly regarding Christianity.
- Actors: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Hugh Griffith, Stephen Boyd, Sam Jaffe
- Released: 1959
- Directed by: William Wyler
This one is probably not much of a surprise. The 2005 Academy Award winning movie was banned for depicting a romance between two men.
- Actors: Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Mara, Anna Faris, Michelle Williams
- Released: 2005
- Directed by: Ang Lee
- Photo: Paramount Pictures
The 2003 Tomb Raider sequel was banned in China because it portrayed the country in a negative manner. An unidentified Chinese censor stated, "After watching the movie, I feel that the Westerners have made their presentation of China with malicious intention."
- Actors: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Djimon Hounsou, Ciarán Hinds, Til Schweiger
- Released: 2003
- Directed by: Jan de Bont
- Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
Martin Scorsese's Academy Award winning crime film The Departed is banned in China because of an objectionable reference regarding the Chinese military. A source within the country's cultural ministry stated, "There is no chance The Departed will be shown in mainland cinemas, because [filmmakers] declined to change a plot line in describing how Beijing wanted to buy advanced military computer hardware."The ban is a bit ironic since The Departed is based on a 2002 Hong Kong film called Internal Affairs. That film was extremely popular in China. In fact, it earned 16 Hong Kong Film Awards nominations and won for Best Film.
- Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg
- Released: 2006
- Directed by: Martin Scorsese