Throughout film history, local, state, and national governments have stopped movies from being shown in theaters. This may seem like a violation of a director’s freedom of speech. But some of these movies have been banned for good reasons—others, not so much. In at least one case, the director decided to limit the viewing of his own movie. Regardless of the reasons, controversies over banned movies are intriguing and often create their own dramas.
10. A Clockwork Orange
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange depicts rape, brutality, and violence in future Britain. This movie follows Alex DeLarge, a charming psychopath, and his twisted path of crime and therapy.
Released without cuts in Britain in 1971, controversy erupted over the on-screen violence. Soon, the British press began writing articles about “copycat” crimes based on the movie. Kubrick then limited the release of his movie until 1973 when it arrived in the United States. It did not create as much controversy in the United States because the film’s setting was in Britain.
During this time, people believed that this movie glorified violence and sparked crime in Britain. In 1973, a Dutch girl was raped by men who sang “Singing in the Rain” just like DeLarge does in the movie. Kubrick then cut 30 seconds of footage to receive an R rating (contrasting with the movie’s previous X rating).
A Clockwork Orange was banned in Britain for 27 years. In 2000, an uncut version was released again on British screens. Based on a novel, this movie distorts the views of society and still makes viewers cringe in their seats.
9. Scarface: The Shame Of The Nation
Not to be confused with the 1983 film starring Al Pacino, Scarface: The Shame of the Nation was scheduled for release in 1932 by coproducer and director Howard Hawks. This film depicted the violent crimes of gangsters in the 1930s and was banned in several states in the US as well as Nazi Germany. It was not until 1979 that the film was fully released to the American public.
Gangster films were popular in the 1930s. But due to the ethics this movie tested, United Artists did not release it in multiple states. The viewing was also delayed in Chicago because gangster culture was growing in the city during that time.
This film received no nominations but was based on the 1930 novel, Scarface, by Armitage Trail. It depicted the violent life of gangster Al Capone, even though Capone was in jail during the time of the film.