The impact of cinema is extremely powerful. The immense power to influence people leads to many films being banned around the world. 

Religion, politics, sexual content, violence: these are the most common themes that lead to films being banned from releasing.

Here’s a list of well-known movies that were banned in various countries. 

1. Freaks (1932) 

Where was it banned: Britain (30 years), Canada 

Why was it banned: The film displayed humans with severe physical disabilities. The British government said it deforms the dignity of such people and is disturbing too. 


2. The devils (1971) 

Where was it banned: United States, United Kingdom 

Why was it banned: The film faced harsh reactions due to its disturbingly violent, sexual, and religious content. The film has never received a release in its original, uncut form in various countries. 


3. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) 

Where was it banned: Australia, New Zealand, Iran, Italy, Finland, Germany, Norway 

Why was it banned: The film has extreme violence, torture, sadism, perversion, sexuality, and fascism. 


4. Antichrist (2009) 

Where was it banned: France 

Why was it banned: In 2016, seven years after its original release, the film was banned in France when a traditionalist Catholic movement known as Promouvoir moved to have the film reclassified due to its depictions of sex and violence. A court ruled in favour of the group, and whilst the movie awaits a new rating it can no longer be shown anywhere in France. 


5. A Clockwork Orange (1971) 

Where was it banned: Britain

Why was it banned: There was a self-imposed ban on the movie by the director who withdrew it from British screens. Also some acts of violence coincided with the release of the film in Britain which did not go down too well. 


6. Last House On The Left (1972)

Where was it banned: UK, Singapore, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Germany, Australia

Why was it banned:  The film is bombarded with brutality, rape and torture. The level of violence was very shocking for the viewers. 


7. Last Tango In Paris (1972) 

Where was it banned: UK, Chile, South Korea, Portugal, Australia, Italy, Canada, Singapore 

Why was it banned: The film’s raw portrayal of sexual violence and emotional turmoil led to international controversy and drew various levels of government censorship.


8. I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

Where was it banned: Australia, Finland, UK, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Iceland, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, China

Why was it banned: For ‘acts of gross violence and cruelty towards humans.’


9. The Exorcist (1973)

Where was it banned: UK, Singapore, Malaysia

Why was it banned: The film was so scary that there were cases of people fainting, having a heart attack, vomiting etc. which led to its ban in various countries.


10. The Great Dictator

Where was it banned: Germany, Argentina

Why was it banned: For mocking Nazis and Hitler.