The 20 Most Controversial Movies Of All Time
Every once in a while a film arrives which causes great controversy around the world, and in some cases, the film ends up being banned. Sometimes, in the case of politics and sex, filmmakers can be liberators, leading a charge that elevates the medium’s significance. Elsewhere—especially in the case of violence—a movie can warn us of where we might be headed.
This is a list of the top 20 movies that have caused controversy – and, in fact, many of them are still controversial to this day.
20. Last Tango In Paris
The Movie: Grieving widower Paul (Marlon Brando) and French fille Jeanne (Maria Schneider) embark on a no-names affair, the graphical nature of which sent censors into a tizzy. It was X-rated in America and Britain.
Most Controversial Moment: Paul gets out the butter as a lubricant for anal sex.
19. In The Realm Of The Senses
The Movie: Nagisa Oshima’s erotic tale of a torrid sexual affair, full of unsimulated sex, bridged the gap between sincere art-house cinema and pornography. Too scandalous to be made in his native Japan, Oshima edited in France.
Most Controversial Moment: Sada Abe (Eiko Matsuda) strangles lover Kichizo (Tatsuya Fuji) to death during sex, then cuts off his penis.
18. The Last Temptation Of Christ
The Movie: Devout Catholic Martin Scorsese reckoned his film was a tribute to Jesus’ inner strength. French fundamentalists thought differently, firebombing the Paris cinema showing the film.
Most Controversial Moment: The temptation, as Jesus (Willem Dafoe) sees a visitation of a normal life, which includes making love to Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey).
17. Cannibal Holocaust
The Movie: The godfather of ‘found footage’ movies – about a documentary crew becoming the victims of their cannibal subjects – saw director Ruggero Deodato arrested for murder after allegating of killing his actors.
Most Controversial Moment: Deodato proved that he hadn’t really had a girl impaled… but the footage of animal slaughter, including a monkey being macheted in the skull, is real enough.