Since the beginning of cinema, films have been pushing the boundaries of what society deems to be “acceptable entertainment.” If filmmakers did not take chances, did not dare to question the establishment, and instead opt to walk the line - films like The Wild Bunch and Psycho would never have been made. Thankfully artists have always been there to challenge authority. These are the most controversial movies of all time.
Some of the movies on this list were banned and/or denounced because they were too graphic like Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Horror films like Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist may be considered tame by today’s standards, but at the time of their release, many moviegoers and critics were shocked and appalled by what they depicted.
Some of the movies on this list are made for nothing more than shock value. Horror films like Cannibal Holocaust are meant to disgust and push the boundaries of good taste, while other films like Midnight Cowboy and Bonnie and Clyde have stood the test of time and have become Hollywood classics.
For whatever the reason, these are the most controversial movies of all time. Upvote those you think are the most controversial, whether or not you like the film itself.
- Photo: Good Machine Releasing16,968 VOTES
Todd Solondz's 1998 independent film sort of tricks its viewers into caring about offenders. Universal Pictures, which financed the film after it won the International Critic Award, ultimately cancelled distribution plans after seeing the film for the first time, on the basis of "moral grounds." The movie was eventually released by a different studio and without an MPAA rating.
- 27,705 VOTES
This shockumentary, and sleepover party staple, which reports to show "real" demises, has been banned in 46 countries. There are a total of five films in the series.
- Photo: United Artists Europa37,353 VOTES
Although the horror film was made in 1980, it is still banned in several countries, partly due to its treatment of animals. Director Ruggero Deodato was even brought in by the authorities due to the scene in which he filmed a woman being skewered (it was just excellent special effects work).
- Photo: IFC Midnight46,916 VOTES
In the original Human Centipede, for no particular reason, a Dutch scientist snatches a few tourists and turns them into one stitched-together creature. Sequels are typically a "bigger" event, and director Tom Six promised audiences even more grotesqueness: "The movie makes the first film look like My Little Pony in comparison."
- 55,504 VOTESOriginally titled The Clansman, D.W. Griffith's 1915 silent film, and film school staple, is often criticized for its glorification of the KKK. Although the film is considered a cinematic classic, viewers still get upset when it airs on television today.
- Photo: The Jerry Gross Organization65,109 VOTES
I Spit on Your Grave
This controversial revenge movie was largely bashed by critics when it was released in 1978. Several countries including Ireland, Iceland, Norway, and the former West Germany banned the horror flick because it "glorified [aggression] against women."