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Top 10 movies that were banned in the US and the reason behind it

Since beginning of the movie industry, films and documentaries somehow get subjected to controversies that lead to its banning from release. Here are the top 10 movies that were banned in the United States as they violated their rules for controversial content.

  1. The Profit(2001)

The Profit movie was about a cult that conned its followers in the name of religion. This movie was based on Scientology, a religion that was invented by L.Ron Hubbard(an American author) in 1952. Scientology is a religion of belief and practices that address man’s soul. The Profit was a parody of Scientology, which sparked outrage from the people of the Scientology community. Though initially the connection between the movie and the religion was denied, later they opposed it citing similarities to the creator of religion and the movie was banned.

2.Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922)

Written and directed by Benjamin Christensen Haxan was banned from 1922 to 1929 for showing Satanism and witchcraft in the movie. Haxan is a Swedish-Danish movie that was made with the purpose to show the viewers about witchcraft evolution through ages. This movie had scenes that were sacrilege and had many obscene parts showing satanic and demonic rituals like vomiting, arse kissing scenes of witches, lots of nudity and sexual frolics. After being banned for seven years this film was screened with lots of cuts and censors.

3.Titicut Follies(1967)

This documentary was banned by the Massachusetts court in 1967 for portraying the real-life inside the state-owned hospital-Bridgewater hospital for mentally unstable criminals. This documentary recorded how the inmates of this hospital were treated with brutality. Titicut Follies was banned for violating the patient’s privacy. It was found that the filmmaker had no records of consent for breaching the hospital’s inmates’ privacy. Though it violated the inmates’ privacy it showed the real picture of how situations were in the asylum and how the mentally ill patients were treated in the hands of their caretaker. The Massachusetts correctional institute objected to the release of this documentary thinking that large scale release of this documentary can harm the patients’ privacy and integrity.

4.Birth control(1917)

A long lost American documentary of 1917  “Birth Control” was banned by New York license commissioner George Bell giving reasons that it hampered people’s morality, dignity, and decency. Birth Control was written, directed and starred by birth control activist Margaret Sanger. She wanted the world to have knowledge about birth control and family planning. But it didn’t go as her plan and people were not happy about this film. Margaret Sanger’s paper project has some records which show that this documentary was screen only to a few people in a private screening. Prior to the 1960s, it was illegal for anyone to talk about birth control or sex education in public as it was considered obscene and cause of degrading public morals. Although the ban on Birth Control was released in 1952, it didn’t end up being released in the theatre as all copies of the movie were lost since its ban.

5.The Last Temptation of Christ(1988)

Though critically acclaimed this movie was criticized by Christian followers all over the world. Martin Scorsese film “The Last Temptation of Christ “ depicted how the life of Jesus Christ would have been had he not sacrificed himself. It showed how Jesus Christ would have led a life as a normal person if he had not died. The film showed Jesus Christ leading a normal life and having lewd thoughts, anger, fear and different human feelings which was a humiliation of his life as depicted in the Bible. It didn’t go down well with the people of Savannah Georgia and they passed an undertaking for banning the film. All the protests, controversies and vandalization of theatres were successful for banning the movie but all these were short-lived and the ban was released after a few weeks.

6.The Birth of a Nation(1915)

This film received a lot of hatred on its release and the reason was its depiction of the Ku Klux klan as the hero of the civil war. Based on the era of the civil war and reconstruction period of the US, this two-part movie showed a pathetic portrayal of African Americans. Instead of taking black Americans as actors in the movie, they took white people for the role of African  Americans using blackface makeup. These sparked outrage among many  African  Americans leaders and they demanded a ban on this movie for the reason that it spread racism.

7.I Am Curious(1967)

Banned for being a pornographic movie, this film shows zealous of a female who wants to know about her sexuality, relations and political aspects. The U.S. censor board banned this movie for a scene in the movie where the actress kisses the actors’ flaccid penis. However, the ban was lifted by the Supreme Court of the U.S. and obscenity rules for the movies were also changed.

  1. Monty Python’s Life of Brian(1979)

The satirical movie of its time ,Monty Phython’s Life of Brian was banned because it mocked about Christianity which did not go well with the Christian people. The movie was banned in several small towns as well as in Norway for sacrilegious against God and sacred things. The film made a great comeback after the ban was turned down and the movie was allowed to rerelease.

9.The Outlaw(1943)

Jane Russel’s breast garnered lots of controversies for this movie. Howard Hughes was so captivated with jane’s breast that he didn’t allow to cut obscene scenes from the movie. The release of The Outlaw was delayed for years because it took censor board members a lot of time going back and forth and deciding which breast scene has to be cut and censored. After all this, the film still got banned due to indecent advertisements and billboards used for its promotion.

10.The Tin Drum (1979)

A German movie that was banned because of portraying an indecent relation between a boy of fewer than 18 years and an adult woman. It was banned in Canada and Oklahoma for showing an oral sex scene with a child of underage.

So these are some of the movies that are banned in the United States and almost all inspired protests,  controversies, outrages and occasionally some court cases.

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