It’s hard to imagine, but films still often get banned. Governments give a variety of reasons for doing so. Sometimes, movies are too explicit. More often than not, though, governments ban films they view as politically or morally controversial.
Each country has its censorship standards with its commission to regulate the film and TV industry. Without further ado, let’s take a look at six popular movies that are banned in many countries.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Critics and audiences consider Apocalypse Now the most significant film on the Vietnam War. The film is a modern adaptation of the classic novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It’s dark, gritty, and morally ambiguous. And it shines through the work of director Francis Ford Coppola’s masterful techniques.
Yet, even such a classic can get a ban somewhere. South Korea banned this film due to its anti-war theme. Oddly enough, many people still aren’t sure if this film is actually anti-war or pro-war. Either way, it’s an incredible and harrowing insight into the bloody conflict that Koreans couldn’t see for decades.
Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)
It’s hard to imagine any Monty Python film getting banned. The team’s raucous comedies are outlandish, but pretty tame compared to the movies released today. Life of Brian’s tagline, “He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy”, was enough to stir trouble. The film goes on to show the life of a boy born in the stable next door to Jesus. From here on, everyone mistakes him for Jesus for the rest of his life.
The film was critically acclaimed and is a fan favorite. Yet it got banned in Iceland, Norway, and even parts of the UK. Either way, Life of Brian is still considered one of the most cutting edge films of the 1970s.
The Yes Men Fix the World (2009)
Even modern films sometimes get banned in western countries. The 2009 HBO documentary, The Yes Men Fix the World, is a sequel to 2003’s The Yes Men. The film follows Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum, two troublemakers stirring up controversy. The Yes Men Fix the World had great reviews and even got a sequel, The Yes Men Are Revolting.
But a lawsuit from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce blocked its release in 2010. The filmmakers got creative and used peer-to-peer sharing to distribute the film. It remains difficult to watch the movie in the US.
Brokeback Mountain (2004)
It’s not surprising that some countries banned Brokeback Mountain. Ang Lee’s award-winning film tells the complex yet romantic and sexual story of two cowboys set in 1963. The movie was successful but lost the Academy Award for Best Picture to Crash. Many then accused the Academy Awards of homophobia. These accusations haunted the Academy Awards for years.
Brokeback Mountain faced not only Academy rejection. Many countries in the Middle East and China banned the movie for portraying homosexuality. Even Italians at first got to see only the edited version of the film in 2008. It had all erotic references removed. Of course, it drew widespread condemnation for censorship in Italy.
Last Tango in Paris (1972)
Film legend Marlon Brando appears again on this list. Last Tango in Paris focuses on the relationship between a grieving American man and a young Parisian woman. Many critics regard it as one of the most erotic and controversial films of the decade.
Explicit sexual content got the movie banned in many countries, including Singapore, Italy, Chile, South Korea, and Portugal. It was banned for more than 30 years, and even today, the film still creates a widespread dialogue on taboo subjects while facing bans worldwide.
The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013)
The Wolf of Wall Street is one of the most popular films of the 2010s. It’s both unapologetic and deep insight into the excesses of capitalism. This morality tale is a favorite of fans and critics. But the film is graphic and loaded with nudity, drug use, and profanity. Thus, it has created a backlash in many countries around the world.
The Wolf of Wall Street was a complete success in Europe. But the film’s debut in the Middle East and Asia met heavy censorship and restriction. Malaysia, Nepal, Zimbabwe, and Kenya banned the film entirely. Despite its excesses, the film remains insightful depiction of Wall Street culture.
How To Bypass Government Censorship
No matter where you live, you should be able to watch what you want. It is particularly true for films banned for political or moral reasons. Some of the most influential movies of all time have banned because governments felt threatened by their message.
Censorship was a considerable problem in the past. But it’s never been easier than now to bypass government censorship and watch what you want. You only need to use a VPN.
A VPN or virtual private network encrypts your connection to the internet. Your traffic then goes through a VPN server in a different country (of your choice). For example, if you live in a country with high levels of censorship (e.g., China), you can use a UK VPN to access content available in the United Kingdom. VPNs are easy to use and provide you with security, flexibility, and internet freedom.