The 100+ Most Controversial
Films of All-Time


The 100+ Most Controversial Films of All-Time
Movie Title Screen
Film Title/Year, Director

The Film's Title Screen Came at the End of the Film - the Copyright Title

The Brown Bunny (2003)
D. Vincent Gallo

Gossip about cult actor Vincent Gallo's directing debut centered on a graphic oral-sex scene and his feud with critic Roger Ebert.

This independent arthouse film from narcissistic and vain producer-director-actor-writer Vincent Gallo further broke down the division between pornography and erotica. When the self-absorbed film was first screened for the press at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003, critic Roger Ebert called it "the worst film ever shown at Cannes," prompting a prolonged feud of words between Gallo and Ebert. Other critics and audiences derided and scorned the film and its filmmaker. The feud with Ebert ended when the film was re-cut (approximately 26 minutes of the two hour film were excised) and re-released, and Ebert gave the film his 'thumbs-up' endorsement. Further controversy arose over large billboards conspicuously placed in Los Angeles on Sunset Blvd. that were soon taken down, heralding the infamous fellatio scene.

It was essentially a cross-country road-trip movie, about a past relationship between two individuals:

  • Bud Clay (Vincent Gallo), an unshaven, long-haired motorcyclist racer - a tortured, empty-hearted loner
  • Daisy Lemon (Chloe Sevigny, Gallo's real-life ex-girlfriend), Bud's former and estranged girlfriend

[Note: Reportedly at one time, Winona Ryder and Kirsten Dunst were to be in the film, but presumably dropped out due to the film's final scene.]

Bud often idealized and thought about Daisy. In a naturalistic style of story-telling, the flawed and widely-ridiculed film followed Bud's westward trip in his black van to Los Angeles, California after he had lost an East Coast (New Hampshire) biker race. During his trip, he met fleetingly with three women and connected only briefly with each of them before leaving each one - all were named after flowers:

  • Violet (Anna Vareschi), a teenaged New Hampshire gas-station cashier
  • Lilly (Cheryl Tiegs), a distressed middle-aged woman at a truck rest stop
  • Rose (Elizabeth Blake), a young Las Vegas street hooker, who ate a McDonald's fast-food meal in his van

Along the way, he also stopped briefly at the home of Daisy's parents (next door to his boyhood home) and spoke to Mrs. Lemon (Mary Morasky), where he saw Daisy's pet brown bunny in a cage, the film's title. After he arrived in Southern California, he also stopped at Daisy's apparently-abandoned house in Los Angeles. He recalled kissing her.

In the film's most notorious, explicit and controversial scene of unsimulated fellatio at the finale, Daisy appeared in Bud's starkly-white Best Western hotel room - they were both lonely and needy individuals who were attempting to connect and speak to each other. Twice, she went to the bathroom to smoke crack cocaine. Soon, the couple began kissing as he took her head/face forcefully with his two hands on her cheeks and hungrily kissed her. He undressed her down to her black bra and panties as she reclined back on the bed.

After more kissing and fondling of her naked breasts, as he stood before her at the side of the bed, he undid his belt buckle, released his pant's fly, and she took his male member into her mouth to begin the infamous 'blow-job' scene - as he held himself. As she pleasured him in her mouth, they still engaged in a conversation about their love for each other.

The Climax of the Infamous Scene -
A Fantasy Masturbatory Sequence

When he was finished and satisfied, he stuffed himself back into his underwear and zipped up his fly. He laid on the bed, in a blurry shot and told her: "Thank you so much."

Then, they talked about the last encounter of their tragic relationship, when Bud reacted jealously to Daisy's past indiscretion at a party, where she had smoked dope and acted provocatively with some other guys. She apologized ("I never meant to hurt you, Bud"). He moaned about her drug-addicted habit, especially when she was pregnant. She admitted that she was assaulted and raped by the guys after she passed out from getting high (which Bud witnessed passively through the partially-open door of the bedroom). Bud confessed that he didn't help her, but walked away. When he returned to the scene of the rape, an ambulance had already arrived at the scene, and he asked: "Why was there an ambulance there?", and she answered: "I was dead."

The controversy-provoking film ended with a shocking, melodramatic plot twist to explain Bud's complex personality and downer mood throughout the film regarding Daisy as his lost love - the only woman he ever loved. The film's ending gave greater meaning to everything that came before, including the sex scene. It was revealed that Daisy had in fact died as a result of the incident ("I got sick, I choked" - she explained how she had choked to death on her own vomit) - "I was dead" - and was later taken away in the ambulance. He sadly kissed her corpse on a stretcher.

Bud's intense guilt about abandoning her and his continuing crisis of masculine insecurity were informed by the appearance of the deceased Daisy (in his mind only!) - as Bud had been masturbating alone to his memory of her. The film ended with him curled up in a fetal position on the hotel bed.

Daisy (Chloe Sevigny)

The Beginning of the Hotel Room Love Scene

Flashback: Daisy's Deadly Assault and Rape

Bud - Alone and Pleasuring Himself in Memory of Daisy

The Dreamers (2003, Fr./It./UK)
D. Bernardo Bertolucci

Bernardo Bertolucci's NC-17-rated chronicle of sexual discovery hinted at incest and other taboos while deliberately evoking erotic art movies of the '60s.

Director Bernardo Bertolucci's NC-17 explicitly-rated film of sexual discovery and intimacy was set in the summer in Paris in 1968 during a time of student riots. It was the first NC-17 rated film in 6 years, after the release of the NC-17 rated independent film Orgazmo (1997), Bent (1997, UK) and Cronenberg's Crash (1996). An R-rated version reduced about three minutes of content.

The arthouse film involved a continual series of semi-incestuous, explicit and uncut encounters between the three characters, all fellow cineastes. [Note: In part, it resembled the threesome in Truffaut's Jules et Jim (1962, Fr.), and was a companion piece to Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris (1972) with a duo of lovers.] While the twin's parents, their mother and poet father, were away for a month at the seaside, the game-playing group became very close friends and sexual partners as a threesome:

  • Isabelle (Eva Green), an uninhibited, naturally-buxom blonde, Theo's twin
  • Theo (Louis Garrel), Isabelle's possessive, brooding twin brother
  • Matthew (Michael Pitt), an American cinema exchange student studying in Paris

During improvisational sexual games, mostly tests of cinema trivia, they asked questions of each other and play-acted about various classic films in cinema (Queen Christina, City Lights, Top Hat, Breathless, etc. - clips were interwoven) - with the loser forfeiting and having to engage in specified sex acts. Following Theo's failure to identify Blonde Venus, a film with a chorus line dancer-singer wearing a coat, he was forced to masturbate in front of them to a picture of Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel.

Soon after, Theo explained to Matthew how he and his sister were intimately synchronized - he pointed to his conjoined brain:

"She's my twin sister...Yes. She'd be me if she were a man...We're Siamese twins, joined here."

After Matthew's failure to identify the film Scarface (1932) for Theo, as Isabelle stripped down to be totally naked before him, his forfeit was to serve as a mediating lover between the twins by making love to Isabelle in front of Theo. She removed the underpants of a partially-resistant Matthew, finding a picture of herself stuck to his penis ("Oh, how sweet of you, Matthew, to keep my image next to your heart").

His declothing was followed by their noisy, grunting copulation on the apartment's kitchen floor (he lowered himself onto her and entered her for intercourse), as Theo non-chalantly fried eggs on the nearby gas stove. In the so-called "blood-on-the-face" scene, Isabelle was - surprisingly - shown to be virginal, when she was deflowered and bled. After they finished having sex, Theo touched Isabelle's forehead and thigh and brought up his fingers covered in blood - and Matthew also took some of the blood from her broken hymen/vagina and smeared it onto her face as he ardently kissed her.

The Kitchen Floor Copulation Scene Between
Matthew (Michael Pitt) and Isabelle (Eva Green)

In the next scene of subsequent lovemaking between the two, the camera panned slowly up Isabelle's completely naked body (with a full-frontal closeup) as Matthew lovingly kissed her. She called him: "My love. My first love. My great love. My great lover. My Valentino." He was surprised that he was her first lover: "You know, I thought you had many lovers" - and assumed she had been sexually bonded with Theo: "How did you and Theo... come together the way that you are?" She replied: "Theo and me? It was love at first sight." He asked: "But he's never been inside you?" Isabelle simply replied: "He's always inside me."

Shortly later, Theo revealed his slight jealousy that Matthew was enjoying the threesome ("You've made me feel like I'm a part of you"); Theo bluntly rebutted Matthew:

Let's get something straight, okay? You're a nice boy and I like you a lot... but no... it wasn't always meant to be the three of us. I told you something else, remember? That Isa and I are Siamese twins...I wasn't joking.

After a while, they became more isolated from the world, as Matthew narrated (in voice-over): "We hardly left the apartment anymore. We didn't know or care if it was day or night. It felt as if we were drifting out to sea, leaving the world far behind us." The threesome bathed together in a tub where Isabelle's menstrual blood was seen on the water's surface (a symbol of sexual awakening?). As the bath ended, Isabelle asked Matthew: "Are you ready to give us proof of your love?...Get out of the bath."

Isabelle's and Theo's Challenge to Shave Matthew's Pubic Hair

When brother and sister (Theo and Isabelle) proposed to shave Matthew's pubic hair, he strenuously objected: "You're both f--king crazy....This is what you call proof of love? Turning me into a freak?..." When the two called it just a game, Matthew still refused: "Is this something you do to each other? You want to shave my pubic hair? You want me to be a little boy for you? A little prepubescent Theo at six, who you can play games with? You can touch peepee...I'll show you mine. You show me yours." Although he called his criticisms loving, he cruelly noted that he was through with their game-playing, and that the two twins must grow more mature:

You sleep in the same bed together, every night. You bathe together. You pee in the john together. You play these little games. I wish you could step out of yourselves and just look...I look at you, and I listen to you and I think - you're never gonna grow. You won't grow like this. You won't. Not as long as you keep clinging to each other the way that you do.

He proposed to take Isabelle on regular dates - something she had not experienced before.

At the end of the film, they slept together nakedly-intertwined in an indoor tent, and unbeknownst to them, Theo's and Isabelle's parents briefly entered the apartment and found the disturbing sight, but did not wake them. A concluding self-destructive streak was exhibited by Isabelle (in homage to Bresson's Mouchette (1967, Fr.) about an abused girl) after she realized her parents had seen them - it was an unsuccessful attempt to commit group suicide by connecting a hose to the gas outlet, and extending the hose into the bedroom. Their indoor 'sexual revolution' was literally shattered when a protester’s stone from outside was hurled through their apartment window.

Theo Masturbating to Picture of Marlene Dietrich

Isabelle Stripping Naked

Prologue to Matthew-Isabelle Love-Making Sequence in Kitchen

Slow Pan Up Isabelle's Naked Body

Threesome Bathtub

Isabelle's Menstrual Blood in Bathwater

Isabelle as the Venus de Milo Sculpture

Isabelle, Theo, and Matthew in Tent

Group Suicide Failure

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
D. Michael Moore

Professional provocateur Michael Moore's scathing documentary about George W. Bush's war on terror was a hit despite conservative claims that it was anti-Bush propaganda.

Michael Moore's controversial 'documentary' film, an anti-Iraq War treatise, was a critical expose and scathing indictment of the George W. Bush presidency and administration for its handling of the terrorist crisis, his alleged connections to Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden's family, and his manipulation of the 9/11 tragedy to start wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was accused of being propagandistic - especially in an election year - and that it contained half-truths and distortions of facts, and some conservative groups called for theaters to not screen it.

The controversial film was rated R (due to its graphic images of war victims and some harsh language), under protest from filmmaker Moore, who hired ex-NY governor Mario Cuomo to appeal the decision. With Moore's urging, some theaters defied the rating and allowed teenagers (without guardians) to attend.

The documentary film was included among the Cannes Film Festival's main competition (only the second time in 48 years for a documentary) - and won the top prize called the Palme D'or - the first for a documentary in nearly 50 years. It also broke the record for highest opening-weekend earnings in the US for a documentary, and established a significant precedent for a political documentary (eventually earning $119 million) as the highest-grossing, non-concert, non-IMAX documentary film of all time.

It had earlier gained further publicity and notoriety when Disney opted not to distribute the film through its Miramax subsidiary unit, and Moore accused the company of censorship. Disney's refusal to let Miramax release it, because it would risk causing a partisan battle and alienate customers, actually contributed to the film's great success. [Supposedly, Disney also feared the film might endanger tax breaks Disney received in Florida where its theme parks were located, and where the president's brother, Jeb Bush, was governor at the time.]

Memorable images included:

  • Bush's continued reading of the children's book "My Pet Goat" in a Florida elementary school after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center (filmmaker Michael Moore narrated: "When informed of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, where terrorists had struck just eight years prior, Mr. Bush decided to go ahead with his photo opportunity...")
  • the many self-incriminating Bush clips (such as when he demonstrated his golf swing - "Now watch this drive!" - immediately after calling on nations to stop terrorist killers, his stumbling through speeches and delivering such damning lines as: "What an impressive crowd: the haves, and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base")
  • documentarian Moore's questioning of Democratic and Republican politicians about enrolling their sons for military duty
  • the mall scenes in which Marine recruiters targeted minority teenagers for enrollment
  • Bush's inept handling of the terrorist crisis and his agenda (after 9/11) to illegitimately launch a pre-emptive war in Afghanistan and Iraq

"My Pet Goat"

Golf: "Now watch this drive"

Moore's Street-Corner Questions

Kinsey (2004)
D. Bill Condon

Many groups claimed this honest portrait of the pioneering sex researcher advocated perversion and glorified his work.

This serious and engrossing biopic was about controversial, Midwestern human sexuality researcher Dr. Alfred Charles Kinsey (Liam Neeson) at Indiana University who laid the groundwork for the coming sexual revolution, with its tagline:

"Let's talk about sex."

It stirred up continuing protest about the impact of his pioneering work, interviews and liberal publications on morality and behavior. Kinsey startled the world with the publication of his Kinsey Report (aka Sexual Behavior in the Human Male) in 1948 and its follow-up Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953). This movie was the precursor to Showtime's cable series Masters of Sex beginning in 2013.

Concerned Women for America (CWA) protested that the film was "an attempt to cover up sex researcher Alfred Kinsey's horrifying reality." They accused the film of misrepresenting how Kinsey actually had encouraged pedophiles to molest children (in the name of science). Other neo-Puritanical proponents thought the film was another example of how Hollywood was normalizing perversion, attacking Christian values about sexual morality, and promoting a "pro-homosexual agenda." And an advertisement for the film was initially rejected by PBS' WNET in New York because the film was deemed too commercial and provocative.

The non-erotic, non-exploitative, and non-prurient film was attacked by morality extremists for its candid and frank drama about the famous Indiana University doctor's obsessive life-work. His revolutionary techniques were exhibited for example, in a b/w educational sex film of patient Barbara Merkle (Kathleen Chalfant) masturbating - one instance of using movie and still cameras to record sex acts.

It illustrated how Kinsey's own free-thinking wife Clara "Mac" McMillen (Oscar-nominated Laura Linney) had painful sexual problems with her inexperienced husband during their honeymoon. On their wedding night, the two virgins were so sexually naive that their attempts to consummate their marriage were a complete failure. They later realized that they were unaware of a physical challenge - Mac's thick hymen had impeded their union.

Later, she was engaged in an extra-marital affair with her husband's bi-sexual teaching assistant Clyde Martin (Peter Sarsgaard) - who also had a homosexual encounter with Kinsey and appeared in a full-frontal scene.

[Note: Kinsey also had a strict religious upbringing which impacted his own personal feelings about sex (feelings of shame when contemplating masturbation for himself as a young man) and his own inability to be completely comfortable with his own body. It told about how a young Kinsey was punished with a confining genital strap to prevent him from masturbating by his ultra-moralistic, bullying, and repressive minister father (John Lithgow).]

In the film's final heartbreaking interview scene with an older, middle-aged lesbian subject (Lynn Redgrave in a cameo), she expressed how she was freed from homosexual guilt after experiencing lesbian feelings: ("After I read your book, I realized how many other women were in the same situation. I mustered the courage to talk to my friend and she told me, to my great surprise, that the feelings were mutual. We-we've been together for three happy years now. (she stood and gratefully took his hand in hers to thank him) You saved my life, sir")

Kinsey (Liam Neeson) Interviews About Sexual Behavior

Honeymoon Sex: Kinsey with Clara (Laura Linney)

Educational Sex Film: Barbara Merkle (Kathleen Chalfant)

Kinsey's Affair with Clyde Martin (Peter Sarsgaard)

Concluding Interview with Lesbian (Lynn Redgrave)

9 Songs (2004, UK)
D. Michael Winterbottom

This UK movie received limited US distribution but revived the "porn or art" debate by charting a couple's relationship through nine unsimulated sex scenes.

Maverick British director Michael Winterbottom's ultra-graphic, 69-minute romantic love story was composed of the recollected memories of a male's affair with a female while flying over the snowy wastes of Antarctica. The film followed a traditional romantic arc, from initial infatuation, to passionate love, and then disenchantment and the end of the relationship.

It was artistically shot in digital chiaroscuro and released unrated, and consisted almost entirely of real-time, unsimulated sex scenes beginning with commonplace sex - and then culminating with more experimentation. This sexually-explicit, naturalistic mainstream British film brought up the main question: "Is this porn or cinematic art?

The explicit scenes included sexual intercourse (often in closeup), including oral sex (both male and female), cunnilingus (with a close-up of her genitals), masturbation, penetration, bondage, anal sex, and ejaculation.

The film was told from a single viewpoint, recalling the adventurous physical encounters over time between the young couple in London:

  • Matt (Kieran O'Brien), 31 year old young glaciologist
  • Lisa (Margo Stilley), 21 year-old slim, flat-chested yet attractive American vagabond exchange student

It began with Matt's voice-over narration about Lisa:

"When I remember Lisa, I don't think about our clothes or her work, or where she was from, or even what she said. I think about her smell, her taste, her skin touching mine."

Their relationship was interspersed with nine live-concert songs (the film's title) which supplemented the story line with their lyrics.

The first views of the couple were of the two engaged in vigorous cunnilingus and intercourse, with a large close-up of her breast being massaged. The next morning in their shared bedroom as he watched from bed, Lisa dressed for an appointment.

After one of many sexual encounters, Lisa became self-conscious when she realized that she was very skinny and flat. She asked Matt as she stood before their bathroom mirror: "Do you think I look like a boy?" He assured her: "Yeah, that's why I like it." In the bathtub scene, she played with his penis between her feet. He described her thusly:

She was 21, beautiful, egotistical, careless, and crazy.

While lounging on their bed, she read to him a pornographic excerpt from a book:

Immediately after undressing, I was a little embarrassed to discover that I had a hard-on. And I lay down on my stomach beside her. One of the misshaped pubic hairs, you could easily make out her slender delicate slit. 'I really go for that type of pussy,' Valery said in a lower voice.' It makes you feel like slipping your finger inside.' As she lay down, I can make out the thick plump lips of her pussy. I heard footsteps approaching across the sand and I closed my eyes again.

In the next bedroom sex scene, he first told her: "The sun is very hot on your skin." He grabbed a blindfold to cover her eyes, and began to instruct her to fantasize that she was pleasuring herself and that she was being watched as he massaged her body:

Forget who you are. Forget where you are. You're on a beach in Thailand. Your eyes are closed so you can't see them. You feel them watching you.

She continued the narration as she was orally pleasured by him:

There's a couple behind me. Am I right? I can feel them looking at me. I put my hand between my legs. Oh, I'm so wet. Then she slides down her boyfriend's body. She has the most amazing breasts. Oh, god. And she's rubbing them. (Deep breaths) And she's covered with oil. And she leans over to her boyfriend, grabs his balls, and puts his cock in her mouth. F--k me, Matt! Come up here and f--k me. Come up, come up here and f--ck me. F--k me. (He entered her, wearing a condom) F--k me faster. F--k me.

The Blindfold Massage and Cunnilingus Scene

During another sweaty bout of intercourse, she was again blindfolded (with a white kerchief) as he stroked her neck and she urged him to caress her: "Do it harder. Massage my pussy." Then, she confessed to him: "Sometimes when you kiss me, I just wanna bite you and not in a nice way. Like I want to hurt you, like I want to bite your lip really f--king hard and make you bleed."

After a table-dance experience in a night-club where she was the lesbian-esque recipient (not him!), she intensely masturbated to a white, buzzing dildo/vibrator by herself - and shortly later laid back limply on the bed and allowed him to watch her self-love, although he appeared disinterested and returned to the kitchen -- the turning point in their loss of intimacy. They had frequent spats over nothing, and in one S&M type instance, she sported long black leather boots and stood on his chest.

She asked: "Do my nipples feel sore to you? They are," but even though they were beginning to experience a love/power struggle, they continued to have make-up sex as things fell apart -- she reversed positions with him, stroked and kissed his genitals (and took one of his testicles into her mouth) and offered him fellatio, to completion - the film's most explicit scene.

The Most Controversial Sequence

He prophetically stated, in voice-over, that his cool, desolate explorations in Antarctica were like his relationship: "Exploring the Antarctic is like exploring space. You enter a void, thousands of miles, with no people, no animals, no plants. You're isolated in a vast, empty continent. Claustrophobia and agoraphobia are in the same place - like two people in a bed."

She gave him a book on Antarctica for his birthday, and they had sex in a hotel where a friend of hers worked. She also read portions of the book to him, possibly deeply symbolic of their own demise: "The ice is everywhere and everything. It spreads to all sides, an unbounded void of alien whiteness and geometric rigor. Antarctica is the highest, windiest, driest continent..." - and they had an explicit bout of sexual intercourse.

Eventually, she told him that she was going back to America, and he described her departure (in voice over) - "There was only a week before her flight home. She was like a tourist on holiday in London. She bought souvenirs and Christmas presents. She was happy to be leaving...The day she left was the first time she invited me to her apartment, but she didn't want me to come to the airport or to the station with her. She didn't want any long goodbyes. As you fly over the continent you see the journey of the ice in reverse. The sea, the iceberg, the sea ice, the ice-shelf and the ice sheet. Each year the ice inches its way from the heart of the continent to the sea into which it finally melts. (outloud) It's beautiful!"

First Views of Couple

"Do you think I look like a boy?"

Bathtub Scene

"Massage My Pussy"


Sex as a Birthday Present

The Passion Of The Christ (2004)
D. Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson's gory account of Jesus' suffering and death was called anti-Semitic but became the highest-grossing independent film ever.

Co-producer, co-writer, and director Mel Gibson's R-rated, self-financed, independent smash-hit film, a brutal depiction of Jesus of Nazareth's last 12 hours on Earth, stirred up considerable controversy after being denied by all major studios. Gibson had difficulty securing a distributor for his film.

It was filmed with dialogue in three languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin) with subtitles, and although Gibson claimed that the account was authentic, well-researched and 'truthful' - it would be nearly impossible to derive a strict and true historical account of the events from the Gospels. He also asserted that the film's goal was to inspire, not to offend.

In the quiet but agonizing prayer scene of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (Garden of Olives), there was the eerie appearance of the tempting figure of Satan (portrayed androgynously) who urged Jesus to not accept the burden of suffering and dying ("Do you really believe that one man can bear the full burden of sin? No one man can carry this burden, I tell you. It is far too heavy. Saving their souls is too costly. No one. Ever. No. Never"). Jesus continued to pray: ("Oh Father, You can do all things. If it is possible, let this chalice pass from me... But let your will be done, not mine").

Jesus' sentencing by Pontius Pilate was followed by the scourging (a 10-minute sequence) and crucifixion scenes in particular were overpoweringly graphic, bloody, torturous and vicious, and the film surely earned its R-rating. This was in spite of the fact that the flogging was only briefly mentioned in some of the Gospel accounts. Even Gibson admitted that the film was deliberately "shocking" and "extreme" in order to depict Jesus' enormous sacrifice.

The graphic and unforgiving torture scenes of Christ included a severe whipping and abusive mocking and scourging, the forced part-way carry of his own wooden cross to the hillside of Golgotha outside Jerusalem, a bloody crown of thorns, and the agonizing, unsparing crucifixion itself with nails driven into hands and feet.

Even before it was released and viewed, religious leaders were indignant over its Catholic-tinged interpretation of the Bible, its use of extra-Biblical sources, and its poetic license. Jews protested the film as anti-Semitic - believing that the "obscene" film would blame Jews for the blood-thirsty death of Jesus. This idea was based on the line of dialogue in Matthew 27:25 attributed by Gibson to High Priest Caiphas (Mattia Sbragia): "His blood be upon us and upon our children!" which he stated after Pilate had washed his hands and said "I am innocent of this man's blood" - although Caiphas' line was not sub-titled like the rest of the film.

Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was quoted as saying: "And when there is anti-Semitism rising throughout the world it can possibly again legitimize it and fuel it. The mail that we're getting in the ADL just on the debate is full of anti-Semitism."

The film went on to be the most successful R-rated film ever, with $370 million US box-office receipts (on a budget of $30 million), mostly due to its embracing by evangelical church groups. It also became the highest-grossing independent film of all time (at the time). An unrated, re-edited re-release of the film (still R-rated), named The Passion Recut (2005), with Gibson's own edits (removal of about 5 minutes of graphic violence) was shown in theatres for a short time a year later.

Garden of Gethsemane Prayer

Appearance of Satan (as Androgynous Figure)

The Crucifixion Sequence

Brokeback Mountain (2005)
D. Ang Lee

Deplored by political and religious conservatives, this was the first mainstream gay/bi-sexual romance; it garnered both critical and popular acclaim.

Almost a quarter of a century after the similarly-themed Making Love (1982), this Best Picture-nominated melodrama from major A-list film-maker and Best Director-winning Ang Lee appeared with its story about two young cowboys who had an unexpected tryst while shepherding in 1963. It told how their ill-fated love affected their married lives in the following three decades. This was the first mainstream gay/bi-sexual romance film, heavily-promoted by the media, to receive multiple awards and critical/public acclaim.

The much talked-about film had quickly become the most honored movie in cinematic history - it had more Best Picture and Director wins from various film organizations than previous Oscar winners Schindler's List (1993) and Titanic (1997) combined. It was also the critical darling of the media and the expected favorite to win, although Crash (2005) surprisingly took the top honor. It had eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and ultimately received three Oscar wins.

The plotline was based on the short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Proulx and an Oscar-winning adaptation for the screen by the team of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana. Gustavo Santaolalla's original music score accounted for the film's third and final Oscar win.

However, some conservative Catholic organizations cited the film as "morally offensive" for its open portrayal of a homosexual relationship, and others criticized the film as sexually propagandistic. Conservative Christian fundamentalist groups heavily cited the film as glorifying homosexuality and for pushing a sexual agenda. Those who were critical of the film were labeled "homophobic."

Although widely hailed as a "breakthrough" film for gay cinema, neither of the film's two lead actors, nor its director, nor its screenwriters were gay, and the film was originally advertised in trailers without specifically referring to the film's 'gay' themes or scenes.

The poignant love story was between two married bi-sexual Wyoming cowboys, who fell in love years earlier in 1963, and shared a secret lifelong bond and longing for love (forbidden):

  • Ennis del Mar (Best Actor -nominated Heath Ledger), a ranch-hand
  • Jack Twist (Best Supporting Actor-nominated Jake Gyllenhaal), a rodeo cowboy

The two grew close while herding sheep in the summer on an isolated Wyoming mountain. Their first meeting was an innocently exuberant skinny-dip into a pond. At first, they were initially confused about their attraction over a campfire, when Ennis rebuffed Jack's daring attempt to kiss him and to mutually touch each other, but then returned sheepishly with his hat in hand and accepted their first kiss - before their first sexual experience (anal intercourse) together, an under-one-minute sexual encounter in a shared sleeping bag in a two-man tent. Jack awkwardly declared his true love for Ennis with a painful admission: ("The truth is... sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it...").

Also, there were scenes of both men having sex with their girlfriends/wives, in strained relationships:

  • Jack in Texas with tomboyish rodeo queen Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway)
  • Ennis in Wyoming with fragile, waifish sweetheart Alma (Oscar-nominated Michelle Williams)
Heterosexual Scenes with the Two Cowboys

Jack with Lureen
(Anne Hathaway)

Ennis with Alma
(Michelle Williams)

Ennis taunted Jack at the end of a fishing trip:

I'm goin' a tell you this one time, Jack f--kin' Twist, and I ain't foolin'. What I don't know - all them THINGS that I don't know, I'd get you KILLED if I come to know them! I ain't jokin'!

The sexually-frustrated Jack responded back with an ultimatum speech to Ennis:

Well, try this one and I'll say it just once....Tell ya what. We coulda had a good life together! F--kin' real good life! Had us a place of our own. But you didn't want it, Ennis! So what we got now is Brokeback Mountain! Everything's built on that! That's ALL we got, boy! F--kin' ALL! So, I hope you know that. If you don't never know the rest! You count the damn few times that we have been together in nearly 20 years, and you measure the short f--kin' leash you keep me on, then, you ask me 'bout Mexico! And you tell me you'll KILL me for needin' somethin' that I don't hardly NEVER get! YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW BAD IT GETS! And I'm not you, I can't make it on a couple of high-altitude f--ks once or twice a year! YOU ARE TOO MUCH FOR ME, ENNIS! You son of a whoreson bitch! I wish I knew how to quit you!

Ennis gave a sobbed response: "Well, why don't you? Why don't you just let me be, huh? It's because of you, Jack, that I'm like this! I ain't got nothin', and I'm, I'm nowhere... Get the f--k off me!...Sorry I can't stand much anymore, Jack." They struggled with each other and ended up hugging.

Much later in the film during their reunion four years later, the two hugged each other tightly -- Ennis, nervously looking around, then forcefully grabbed Jack and pushed him into a secluded spot by stairs where they kissed hungrily - while Ennis' wife Alma accidentally spied on their embracing passion from above and turned away.

Ennis paid a visit to Jack's parents some time after Jack's death, and made a discovery of blood-stained shirts in Jack's childhood bedroom closet. The shirts belonged to himself and ex-lover Jack from when they fought together years earlier on Brokeback Mountain (Jack had died while changing a tire that exploded, although Ennis imagined it as a gay-bashing incident in a field) - Ennis held the intertwined shirts to his face and breathed in their scent.

In the melodramatic ending, Ennis once again saw their two old shirts (hanging in the back of a closet in the trailer of his father). The two shirts were both together on one hanger, intertwined - Jack's blood-stained shirt was tucked inside of Ennis's - he also saw a postcard of Brokeback Mountain tacked next to the shirts and straightened it - he tearfully and regretfully cried about their forbidden homosexual love affair: ("Jack, I swear...").

The Melodramatic Conclusion


Sexual Encounter in Tent: First Sexual Experience

Climactic Scene - Ennis to Jack: "I ain't jokin'!"

Jack: "We coulda had a good life together!...I wish I knew how to quit you!"

Years Later Reunion Kiss - Seen by Alma

Ennis' Discovery of Shirts in Jack's Bedroom Closet

Hard Candy (2005)
D. David Slade

Subtle performances helped make this thriller about a young teen sparring with a suspected pedophile seem thought-provoking rather than sleazy.

Music video director David Slade's first feature film was this thought-provoking, exploitative female revenge thriller.

[Note: In the mid-2000s, sadistic horror thrillers became extremely popular now that film audiences' threshold for sadistic and excessive gore (and guts), body mutilation, torture, and sickening violence had already been numbed by years of 'slasher' films. A new crop of low-budget "trash" horror scarefest films, often copycat horror flicks, was often tolerated and embraced by horror fans.

The so-called "pseudo-snuff films" (dubbed "horror-porn," "torture-chic," "gore-nography," and "claustrophobic cruelty") were accused of being like a "sicko video game" - containing visceral violence and unheard-of human suffering that severely tested the limits of R ratings. Two franchises in particular were long-lasting in this violent sub-genre: Saw (2004) (with lucrative sequels from 2005-2010) and Hostel (2005) (followed by sequels in 2007 and 2011).]

In many ways, the character and the behavior of the threatened young 'jailbait' teen was as reprehensible as her prey. She thoroughly tortured, abused (and murdered) a suspected pedophile who was targeting her, with actions including:

  • drugging her victim
  • asphyxiating him with plastic wrap
  • threatening castration
  • knocking him out with a stun gun
  • blackmailing him into eventually hanging himself with a noose

It began with a meeting between the two protagonists in an Internet chat room:

  • Hayley Stark (Ellen Page) (screenname Thonggrrrrrl14), a seemingly-innocent 14 year old, red-hooded femme fatale
  • Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson) (screenname Lensman319), a 32 year old photographer

During their first face-to-face meeting at the Nighthawks coffee shop, the potential predator bought her some chocolate cake (which he suggestively wiped from her lips). He also reassuringly told her: "You look older than you are and you, you certainly act older than you are." Later, she accused him of being a pedophile:

Jeff: "You were coming on to me."
Hayley: "Oh, come on. That's what they always say, Jeff."
Jeff: "Who?"
Hayley: "Who? The pedophiles! 'She was so sexy. She was asking for it.' Or 'She was only technically a girl, she acted like a woman.' It's just so easy to blame a kid, isn't it?! Just because a girl knows how to imitate a woman does NOT mean she's ready to do what a woman does."

With premeditated determination, she turned the tables on him in his Hollywood Hills home (in a tense and suspenseful cat-and-mouse interplay regarding the "predator" and the "prey") when she drugged his drink, tied him up in a chair (told him: "Teenage? Yes. Joke? No"), and then threatened to castrate him (as "preventative maintenance") with a scalpel and anesthetic ice. [She faked Jeff's castration although it was gruesomely performed (off-screen).] She told him:

"I am every little girl you ever watched, touched, hurt, screwed, killed."

When he realized he had been tricked, he went to attack her in the bathroom with a scapel, believing that she was showering. She incapacitated him with a stun gun from behind. When he regained consciousness, he found himself strung up in the kitchen (hung from a noose) with his hands bound. She bargained with him - if he killed himself by suicide, she would erase evidence of his involvement in the disappearance of another local girl, a young model named Donna Mauer. If he refused to admit his guilt, she would expose his crime - forcing him to be convicted to serve a prison term as a child molester.

As he both berated her and pleaded with his raging and sadistic captor, she forced her repentant victim to confess to a murder that he may/may not have committed of the young model that he once photographed - it was clear that he was definitely an accessory to her murder. In the plot's twist, it was revealed that Hayley had already kidnapped and tortured another pedophile named Aaron, Jeff's partner-in-crime during the murder of Donna (Hayley admitted: "Aaron told me you killed her, before he killed himself").

At the end of the film, after neighbor Judy Tokuda (Sandra Oh) arrived at the house and Jeff's ex-girlfriend Janelle Rogers (Jennifer Holmes/Odessa Rae) was on the way, Hayley and Jeff were on the roof, where she had strung a rope off the side. She offered to clean up incriminating evidence of him as a sexual predator in his home (he would also avoid prosecution and clear his name with Janelle) if he jumped and committed suicide, but at the last second when he stepped off the roof and the rope went taut, she promised with a caveat:

"I'll take care of it all - or not!"

First Face-to-Face Meeting with Hayley (Ellen Page) at the Coffee Shop

Jeff Tied Up in a Chair by Hayley

The Castration Scene

Pedophile Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson) - Tied Up and Hanging

Jeff's Suicidal Step Off the Roof - Noose Hanging

"I'll take care of it all - or not."

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 | 2006-2009 | 2010-present

Previous Page Next Page