10 Most Controversial Movies Ever Made

Controversial movies area byproduct of art that is inevitable. Due to the wide scope and size of the film industry in the world, movies have created controversy on massive scales compared to other types of art. Most controversial movies incite mass protests and are sometimes banned for many years from the industry. Furthermore, they receive anti-humanist award as most of the directors are either arrested or jailed. Controversial films are somehow puzzling and they do confuse curious audiences across the globe. The following are some of the 10 most controversial films of all time.

Most Controversial Movies of All Time

10. Antichrist

The Danish film-maker Lars Von Trier has never shied away from controversies or producing controversial films, he will probably have his own controversy list as he’s not new to controversies but if there’s one movie that stands out in his career as a movie maker, then it has to be the movie Antichrist. This movie is the work of Lars Tiers, which is an art-horror film. The piece features a couple without a name who go to the woods to seek the reason for their child’s death but it becomes a worse experience. The couple begins to torture each other from a slow ton till the scenes became severe later. Both physical and psychological torture is evident in the film. Its launch in 2009 caused uproar in the film industry and led to longstanding arguments.

9. Da Vinci Code

The film was greeted with great protests. This is the work of Dan Brown. He had earlier written the book Da Vinci Code and the movie was extracted from the book. The subject matter of religion in which Dan claims that Jesus was married was a mystery to many. The movie was particularly met with harsh criticism by the Roman Catholic Church for the accusation that it is behind a two-thousand-year-old coverup with respect to what the Holy Grail really is and the concept that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and that their union produced a daughter. A Roman catholic Archbishop described the movie as full of calumnies, offences, and historical and theological errors. The movie was banned in several countries where it was highly criticised although this did little to hamper its box office performance. This movie remains one of the most controversial films till date

8. The Excorcist

Many people have had contradictory issues over the content of this movie, while some people claim that the movie glorifies Satan, others view it as religious pornography berating the modern world for old school superstition. However, the film earned ten Academy Award nominations, eventually winning two (Best Sound Mixing and Best Adapted Screenplay), but lost Best Picture to The Sting. It turned out to become one of the highest-grossing films of all time, grossing over $441 million worldwide. It is also the first horror film to be nominated for Best Picture. In the UK, it was placed at No. 2 in Channel 4’s The 100 Greatest Scary Moments in 2003, it is highly regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time

7. I Spit On Your Grave

This is among the films that have received a very hot debate in the world today. It is ponographically violent and seen as a movie that degrades women. The story at first is simple and starts with a woman going to the city to start her writing. When she reaches there, she is brutally injured after severe beatings and rape. After the incident, she tracks the men in revenge. This movie is regarded by many as one of the most controversial films ever made

6. Song of the South

The movie features African-Americans in the south. The film was greeted with criticism from different organizations including Negro Congress. The major criticisms were the perceived African -American stereotyping, offensive African American reconstruction as well as inhumanity and slavery. The signature song  (hit song) of this movie, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” won a 1947 Academy Award, and the Br’er Rabbit animation sequences have been used in several TV spots and Disney specials for some years now but a lot of film critics and analysts perceive it as politically incorrect and racist toward black people by today’s standards.

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5. Last Tango in Paris

The movie director Bernardo Bertolucci was served with a four-month suspended sentence in prison as a result of this film. It was heavily edited for British release and was banned in several countries that include Italy, Portugal, and Chile for thirty years.  In Italy for instance, it was banned for the following reasons “Obscene content offensive to public decency… presented with obsessive self-indulgence,…. permeated by scurrilous language… accompanied off the screen by sounds, sighs, and shrieks of climax pleasure.

4. Bonnie and Clyde

The robbery and murder played before audiences create great controversy in this movie. The robbery-picture depicted in the story is just an amazing concept in the whole story, making the movie a great controversy in the world. The movie is considered a landmark film and is widely regarded as one of the first films of new hollywood era that broke the many taboos, it was also very popular with younger folks but perhaps the most iconic part of the film is the ending which has been described as “one of the bloodiest death scenes in cinematic history”. The film was controversial for its glorification of murderers and violence graphic violence, which was unprecedented at the time.

3. A Clockwork Orange

This film was banned in the UK for 27 years because the British authorities considered the sexual violence in the film to be extreme, it’s condemned by the Roman Catholic Church and was initially slapped with an X rating in the US. It employs disturbing, violent images to comment on psychiatry, youth gangs, and other social, political, and economic subjects in a dystopian future Britain but despite the controversies surrounding it, it was nominated for several awards including the Academy and BAFTA awards, it was also a hit with American viewers, grossing over $26 million on a low budget of $2.2 million.

2. The Passion of the Christ

Although this did not question the divinity of Christ or toy with the scriptures in the same way that The Last Temptation of Christ did, but it earned much more controversy partly due to its larger distribution and the off screen antics of the creator. Critics argue that the unrelenting brutality and violence obscured the message of sacrifice and mercy.

Mel Gibson has this to say about the movie: “I wanted it to be shocking; and I wanted it to be extreme … So that they see the enormity – the enormity of that sacrifice; to see that someone could endure that and still come back with love and forgiveness, even through extreme pain and suffering and ridicule. The actual crucifixion was more violent than what was shown on the film, but I thought no one would get anything out of it”.

What makes this movie even more controversial were series of charges of antisemitism that were leveled against the film. Early screenings led to several debates that the film essentially blamed the Jewish community for the death of Jesus.

1. The Last Temptation of Christ

Any movie that questions the divinity of Jesus will always spark controversy, so it didn’t come as a surprise when Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, adapted from an already controversial non-biblically based novel by Nikos Kazantzakis became controversial especially amongst the higher ups in the Christian community. The Last Temptation of Christ‘s tells the story of Jesus the man rather Jesus the divine, it portrays the crucified Jesus who was tempted by what eventually turned out to be Satan in the form of a beautiful, androgynous child—experiencing a dream or alternative reality where he comes down from the cross, marries Mary Magdalene (and later Mary and Martha), and lives his life as a full mortal man. The outrage that was provoked by the film was huge even to the extent that a group of French fundamentalist Christians had to attack a theater showing the film in Paris injuring several filmgoers. In countries like Turkey, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina, the film was banned or censored for several years. As of July 2010, the movie remains banned in Chile, the Philippines and Singapore.

Amara Onuh
Amara Onuh
Amara is a personal finance and entertainment writer and journalist by trade with several years of experience covering businesses, CEOs, and celebrity profiles. She has worked as a full-time writer since 2015, and while she finds almost all the topics she writes about interesting, her favourite subjects are personal finance, business, entertainment, celebrities, and travel. Other than writing, she either spends most of her time reading Christian books or keeping up with the latest international news


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