The 100+ Most Controversial
Films of All-Time

Introduction



The 100+ Most Controversial Films of All-Time: Films always have the ability to anger us, divide us, shock us, disgust us, and more. Usually, films that inspire controversy, outright boycotting, picketing, banning, censorship, or protest have graphic sex, violence, homosexuality, religious, political or race-related themes and content. They usually push the envelope regarding what can be filmed and displayed on the screen, and are considered taboo, "immoral" or "obscene" due to language, drug use, violence and sensuality/nudity or other incendiary elements. Inevitably, controversy helps to publicize these films and fuel the box-office receipts. Note: The films that are marked with a yellow star are the films that "The Greatest Films" site has selected as the "100 Greatest Films".

Controversy-invoking films may be from almost any genre - documentaries, westerns, erotic-thrillers, dramas, horror, comedy, or animated, and more. Standards for what may be considered shocking, offensive or controversial have changed drastically over many decades. From the earliest silent films, to the gunfights in early 30s gangster films, to the mid-60s countercultural changes when the ratings were modified, to current day bloodbaths, violence in films has always stirred controversy. The voluntary ratings system of the Motion Picture Association of America can influence a film's public showing in a theatre -- an NC-17 rating or an unrated film may often close down a film's screening and lead to commercial failure.

The following illustrated list is a solid collection of over 100 of the Most Controversial Films in cinematic history. They are found in the next set of web pages, in chronological order by film title. Each one is described and provides information about the controversy.
  1. The Kiss (1896)
  2. The Birth Of A Nation (1915)
  3. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
  4. Freaks (1932)
  5. Scarface (1932)
  6. Ecstasy (1933, Czech.) (aka Exstase)
  7. Triumph Of The Will (1935, Ger.)
  8. Child Bride (1938)
  9. Citizen Kane (1941)
  10. The Outlaw (1943)
  11. Song of the South (1946)
  12. The Moon Is Blue (1953)
  13. Baby Doll (1956)
  14. Peeping Tom (1960, UK)
  15. Psycho (1960)
  16. Victim (1961, UK)
  17. Viridiana (1961, Sp./Mex.)
  18. Lolita (1962, UK)
  19. Mondo Cane (1962, It.)
  20. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  21. I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967, Swe.)
  22. Titicut Follies (1967)
  23. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
  24. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  25. The Wild Bunch (1969)
  26. Carnal Knowledge (1971)
  27. A Clockwork Orange (1971, UK)
  28. The Devils (1971, UK)
  29. Dirty Harry (1971)
  30. The Last Picture Show (1971)
  31. Straw Dogs (1971)
  32. Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
  33. Deep Throat (1972)
  34. The Last House on the Left (1972)
  35. Last Tango In Paris (1972, It./Fr.)
  36. Pink Flamingos (1972)
  37. The Exorcist (1973)
  38. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  39. Thriller: A Cruel Picture (aka They Call Her One Eye, Hooker's Revenge) (1974, Swed.)
  40. Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1975)
  41. A Real Young Girl (1975, Fr.) (aka Une Vraie Jeune Fille)
  42. Salo (1975, It.) (aka The 120 Days of Sodom)
  43. Bloodsucking Freaks (1976) (aka The Incredible Torture Show and Sardu: Master of the Screaming Virgins)
  44. In the Realm of the Senses (1976, Jp.) (aka Ai No Corrida)
  45. The Message (1976, 1977) (aka Mohammed, Messenger of God)
  46. Snuff (1976, Arg/USA)
  47. The Deer Hunter (1978)
  48. Faces of Death (1978) (aka The Original Faces of Death)
  49. I Spit On Your Grave (1978) (aka Day of the Woman)
  50. Pretty Baby (1978)
  1. Caligula (1979)
  2. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979, UK)
  3. The Warriors (1979)
  4. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
  5. Cruising (1980)
  6. Heaven's Gate (1980)
  7. The Evil Dead (1981)
  8. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
  9. Hail, Mary (1985, Fr.) (aka Je vous salue, Marie)
  10. Year of the Dragon (1985)
  11. Blue Velvet (1986)
  12. Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer (1986, released in 1990)
  13. Nekromantik (1987, Germ.)
  14. The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988)
  15. Men Behind the Sun (1988, Jp.) (aka Hei tai yang 731)
  16. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989, UK)
  17. Do The Right Thing (1989)
  18. Henry & June (1990)
  19. JFK (1991)
  20. Aladdin (1992)
  21. Basic Instinct (1992)
  22. Boxing Helena (1993)
  23. Bandit Queen (1994, India)
  24. Natural Born Killers (1994)
  25. Kids (1995)
  26. Crash (1996)
  27. Lolita (1997)
  28. Dogma (1999)
  29. Romance (1999, Fr.) (aka Romance X)
  30. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
  31. Stigmata (1999)
  32. Baise Moi (2000, Fr.) (translated "Screw or F--k Me")
  33. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
  34. The Crime of Father Amaro (2002, Mex.)
  35. Irreversible (2002, Fr.)
  36. Ken Park (2002)
  37. The Brown Bunny (2003)
  38. The Dreamers (2003)
  39. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
  40. Kinsey (2004)
  41. 9 Songs (2004, UK)
  42. The Passion of The Christ (2004)
  43. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
  44. Hard Candy (2005)
  45. The Da Vinci Code (2006)
  46. Shortbus (2006)
  47. United 93 (2006)
  48. Hounddog (2007)
  49. September Dawn (2007)
  50. Martyrs (2008, Fr/Can.)
  51. Antichrist (2009, Denmark)
  52. The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009)
For the many other milestone films with sexual scenes that were especially notorious, infamous, controversial, or scandalous, see this site's special write-ups on Sex in Cinema and the genre of Sexual/Erotic Films. Entertainment Weekly's June 16, 2006 issue contained a listing of their top 25 "Most Controversial Movies of All-Time" - all included here plus many more entries.

Please do not proceed any further if you are not interested in this kind of material


The 100+ Most Controversial Films of All-Time
(chronologically, by film title)
Intro | Silents-1930s | 1940s-1950s | 1960-1961 | 1962-1967 | 1968-1969
1970-1971 | 1972 | 1973-1974 | 1975 | 1976-1977 | 1978 | 1979
1980-1982 | 1983-1986 | 1987-1989 | 1990-1992 | 1993-1995 | 1996-1999
2000-2002 | 2003-2005 | 2006-Present

You may indicate your own preferences for the 100 Most Controversial Films of All-Time described here
on the AMC Movie Guide website (opens in new window):

Rank Filmsite's 100 Most Controversial Films


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