Even the animated Disney film 'The Aristocats' has crossed the line into racist territory! One of the cats exhibits extremely offensive Chinese stereotypes. He even plays the piano with chopsticks! It doesn't get much more obviously racist than that.
Finally, the most offensive characters of all apear in 'The Birth of a Nation,' a film that glorifies the Ku Klux Klan and makes them out to be the heroes of American history. As if that wasn't bad enough, all black characters in the film are played by white actors in blackface, and they are shown to be lazy, bumbling idiots who are dragging the United States down. It's hands down the most racist film of them all!
Unfortunately, racist and otherwise offensive characters are commonplace in American film. For example, Mr. Yunioshi in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's was an over-the-top racist portrayal of a Japanese man, played by the white actor Mickey Rooney in yellowface. Everything from his buck teeth to his squinty eyes to his accent are extremely awkward to watch nowadays. It's hard to believe that this type of thing was once considered funny!
Though Sacha Baron Cohen's character in 'Bruno' is purposefully exaggerated in order to get a rise out of bigoted Americans, we'd be remiss if we left the over-the-top stereotypically homosexual Bruno off the list. Viewers who aren't aware of his actual intent in making the film could easily be offended by his extreme flamboyance.
The crows in 'Dumbo' were clearly used to represent the African American community. In some ways this was a positive connection, but overall they were quite stereotypical. If you doubt the racial undertones were intentional, remember that the lead crow's name was Jim Crow. Case closed.
In the 2003 reboot of the Disney classic 'Freaky Friday,' a couple of characters were added to the cast that were questionable at best. They were Pei-Pei and her mother, two over-the-top Chinese women who worked in a Chinese restaurant. Everything about these two ladies, from their clothing to their extreme accents to the fact that the elder woman puts a curse on the two leads using fortune cookies. Chinese culture was used strictly for comic relief, which is totally unacceptable.
In 'Gone with the Wind,' which takes place during the days of slavery in the southern states, depicts the African American house slaves in an extremely stereotypical light. On top of that, they almost seem happy to be slaves! That may have been the case for some house servants during that time period, but the movie glorifies the south in such a way that you might think slavery wasn't such a bad thing after all.
Everything about Mike Myers in 'The Love Guru' is wrong on about a million different levels. The film mocks Hindu culture from start to finish, using an entire group of people as fodder in an extremely offensive and unfunny joke of a film.
Not even women are off the hook in the world of film. Though many examples of sexism exist, Eddie Murphy's portrayal of Rasputia Latimore in 'Norbit' is one of the most offensive of all. Not only is the character anti-feminist, but it's also intended to mock and belittle overweight people, much like 'Shallow Hal,' but without any attempted heart.
This film, which was supposedly intended to spread a positive message about inner beauty, spent most of its running time putting down overweight people everywhere with its crass fat jokes and offensive visual gags. Just like every other film in existence, 'Shallow Hal' perpetuates the idea that thin is good and fat is bad and deserving of mistreatment and bullying.
'Song of the South' is an early Disney film that was banned from DVD production due to its offensive and racist material. Uncle Remus is a kindly old African American man who appears to believe that everything in life is hunky-dory, despite the fact that slavery had existed not too long before he told the tale of 'Briar Rabbit and the Tar Baby.'
In 'Soul Man,' the main character takes pills to darken his skin so that he can get a Harvard scholarship that is meant for African Americans. Said character, Mark Watson, performs the entire movie in blackface.
*While watching 'The Phantom Menace,' you'd have to be completely ignoring the film to miss the fact that Watto is a racist depiction of Jewish people. His physicality is very stereotypically Jewish, and his accent is even worse -- but the most offensive part of all is that he is a slave owner and swindler who only cares about money.
Watto isn't the only borderline racist character in 'The Phantom Menace!' Nute Gunray, an alien-like creature that is dressed and built with stereotypical asian facial features, slanted eyes, and clothing, is another offensive character hidden behind the mask of "fiction." Not only does he look the part, but he even has an over-the-top Asian accent. Disgusting!
Jar Jar Binks may not be human and have a certain skin color, but his mannerisms and speech seem to be modeled on stereotypical and racist views of African Americans. Not only is the character completely pointless and annoying, but it's offensive, too!