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Added by SwornShadow on 10 Apr 2012 02:09
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The 101 Most Controversial Films of All-Time

Sort by: Showing 1-50 of 101
Decade: Rating: List Type:
People who added this item 33 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 5.2

When Broadway sensations May Irwin and John Rice's notorious lip lock was immortalized on film, people were shocked!
People who added this item 518 Average listal rating (260 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.3

Even in 1915, D.W. Griffith's Civil War epic caused a stir for its stereotypical depiction of African-Americans.

The scars of WWI were still fresh when this Oscar-winning anti-war movie drew fire for portraying young German soldiers in a sympathetic light.
People who added this item 1029 Average listal rating (600 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.9
Freaks (1932)

Though its sympathies were with the sideshow performers, this circus drama was criticized for casting real-life "human oddities.
People who added this item 515 Average listal rating (294 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8
Scarface (1932)

Howard Hawks' classic was banned in several states despite pre-release changes designed to counter claims that it glorified gangsters.
People who added this item 145 Average listal rating (51 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.7
Ecstasy (1933)

Americans were shocked by the nudity and sexual frankness of this Czech drama about an unhappy wife searching for fulfillment.
People who added this item 319 Average listal rating (168 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.3

Often called the most powerful propaganda movie of all time, Leni Riefenstahl's gorgeous documentary glorified Nazi ideals and iconography.
People who added this item 18 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 4 IMDB Rating 4.6
Child Bride (1938)

This exploitation 'road-show' shocker was promoted as educational, although its underage nude swimming scene was considered offensive.
People who added this item 2786 Average listal rating (1706 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3
Citizen Kane (1941)

Critics loved it, but media mogul W. R. Hearst -- the inspiration for Kane -- used his influence to discredit Orson Welles' groundbreaking movie.
People who added this item 93 Average listal rating (49 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.5
The Outlaw (1946)

Busty starlet Jane Russell's breasts cast a long shadow over this erotically-charged Western, outraging guardians of public decency.
People who added this item 187 Average listal rating (105 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1

Never available on video or DVD in the US, Disney's charming animated take on Southern folklore was tainted by its live-action sequences depicting happy slaves.
People who added this item 57 Average listal rating (35 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7

Well-bred people in the 1950s didn't use words like "virgin," "seduce" and "mistress" in public, but this mild sex farce did and became a cause celebre.
People who added this item 175 Average listal rating (79 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.4
Baby Doll (1956)

The Catholic Legion of Decency condemned Tennessee Williams' lurid tale of a thumb-sucking child bride and the men who lusted for her.
People who added this item 653 Average listal rating (383 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7
Peeping Tom (1960)

British critics called Michael Powell's disturbing thriller about a tormented murderer perverted, necrophilic and trashy; his career never recovered.
People who added this item 4147 Average listal rating (2738 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.5
Psycho (1960)

Viewers accustomed to Hitchcock's polished Technicolor thrillers were stunned by this B&W shocker that dared to kill star Janet Leigh before the halfway mark.
People who added this item 138 Average listal rating (58 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.7
Victim (1961)

Homosexuality was still a criminal offense in England when this thriller dared to take the side of gay men victimized by ruthless blackmailers.
People who added this item 466 Average listal rating (247 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1
Viridiana (1961)

Luis Bunuel's surreal masterpiece was widely condemned for its suggestions of incest, rape and necrophilia.
People who added this item 2023 Average listal rating (1028 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6
Lolita (1962)

Stanley Kubrick played up the dark humor in Nabokov's novel about a middle-aged man infatuated with a pubescent girl, but the subject was still a shocker.
People who added this item 135 Average listal rating (65 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4
Mondo Cane (1962)

This Italian shockumentary was castigated for exploiting footage of lurid cultural practices from around the world.
People who added this item 1535 Average listal rating (869 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8

One of the most stylistically influential movies of the '70s was accused of glamorizing Depression-era bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.
People who added this item 139 Average listal rating (48 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.1

This avant-garde mockumentary about '60s youth was condemned as pornographic, even though it's more about political protests than free love.
People who added this item 114 Average listal rating (51 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7

Frederick Wiseman's disturbing documentary exposed abuse in mental institutions, but its unflinching footage of patients was called insensitive.
People who added this item 2546 Average listal rating (1576 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8

The National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures reviled Polanski's dark horror classic for mocking religion and making "perverted use" of Christian beliefs.
People who added this item 1015 Average listal rating (626 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8

The only X-rated Best-Picture winner, this gritty movie discomfited some viewers with its frank, non-judgmental depiction of homosexuality.
People who added this item 805 Average listal rating (502 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 7.9

Sam Peckinpah's movie was both praised for its realistic vision of the dying West and lambasted for its graphic portrayal of savagely explicit violence.
People who added this item 170 Average listal rating (87 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7

Moviegoers expecting to be titillated were taken aback by this drama's raw, taboo-breaking examination of misogyny and dysfunctional relationships.
People who added this item 6141 Average listal rating (4157 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3

The second (and last) X-rated Best-Picture nominee, Stanley Kubrick's evocation of a dystopian future appalled some viewers with its ultra-violence.
People who added this item 339 Average listal rating (163 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.8
The Devils (1971)

Ken Russell's historical drama about womanizing priests, sex-crazed nuns, hypocrisy and hysteria in 17th-century France was banned in deeply Catholic Italy.
People who added this item 1538 Average listal rating (980 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.7
Dirty Harry (1971)

Was San Francisco cop Harry Callahan's contempt for modern criminal-justice protocols a liberal critique of vigilantism or reactionary propaganda? Debate raged.
People who added this item 579 Average listal rating (324 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8

Obscene or mature? Peter Bogdanovich's melancholy look at adultery, alcoholism and promiscuity in 1950s Texas divided moviegoers and critics.
People who added this item 911 Average listal rating (525 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.5
Straw Dogs (1971)

A graphic double rape and its aftermath made Sam Peckinpah's movie about a mild-mannered mathematician driven to explosive violence a hot-button topic.

Violent, politically radical and sexually transgressive, Melvin Van Peebles' indie movie reflected the simmering rage of disillusioned African-Americans.
People who added this item 204 Average listal rating (78 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 5.1
Deep Throat (1973)

The dirty movie that ushered in "porno chic," Deep Throat sparked heated debate and precedent-setting court cases that challenged assumptions about obscenity.
People who added this item 669 Average listal rating (390 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6

Wes Craven transformed Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring, a fable about rape, revenge and redemption, into a crude, taboo-breaking shocker.
People who added this item 1061 Average listal rating (577 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7

Art or pornography: That was the question raised by Bernardo Bertolucci's juxtaposition of lust and despair, starring Hollywood icon Marlon Brando.
People who added this item 634 Average listal rating (328 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.1

Cult provocateur John Waters used bizarre, crude, tasteless and sexually grotesque images to challenge cultural mores in his first feature.
People who added this item 4038 Average listal rating (2662 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 8
The Exorcist (1973)

The sight of 13-year-old Linda Blair vomiting, swearing and abusing herself with a crucifix horrified a broad swath of moviegoers and critics.
People who added this item 1881 Average listal rating (1211 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5

Disenfranchised rural cannibals slaughter soft city folks in the first "meat movie," a horror tale rooted in realistic violence and social malaise.
People who added this item 234 Average listal rating (117 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.4

A US distributor added hardcore inserts to Bo Vibenius' grim rape-revenge movie, and the combination of porn and violence confused and angered moviegoers.
People who added this item 243 Average listal rating (118 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.1

Inspired both by art-house sensation The Night Porter (1974) and real-life "Bitch of Buchenwald" Ilse Koch, this sex/torture movie spawned a wave of "nasty Nazi" movies.
People who added this item 137 Average listal rating (41 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.3

Hired to make a soft-focus, sexy-teen movie, French filmmaker Catherine Breillat instead delivered an explicit evocation of disturbing desires.
People who added this item 878 Average listal rating (516 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 5.9

Radical Italian artist Pier Paolo Pasolini's movie equated fascism and sexual torture, and its graphic images aroused outrage and disgust.
People who added this item 70 Average listal rating (41 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 4.9

Women Against Pornography unwittingly raised this ugly horror movie's profile by denouncing its relentless, misogynistic violence.
People who added this item 434 Average listal rating (215 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.6

Nagisa Oshima's graphic examination of all-consuming sexual obsession was seized by US Customs and cut before being released.
People who added this item 85 Average listal rating (47 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 8.2
The Message (1977)

Though this epic biopic deferred to Islamic law by never showing Mohammed, it was still condemned as sacrilegious and banned in many Arab countries.
People who added this item 44 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 4 IMDB Rating 2.8
Snuff (1976)

Tacking a cynical "real" murder sequence onto a ho-hum exploitation movie generated enough media outrage to make Snuff a lucrative hit.
People who added this item 2009 Average listal rating (1289 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1

Michael Cimino's depiction of friendships tested by the horrors of Vietnam won a Best-Picture Oscar, despite accusations of historical inaccuracy and racism.
People who added this item 151 Average listal rating (83 ratings) 4.9 IMDB Rating 4.2

The fact that it was "banned in 40+ countries" was a selling point for this morbid collection of death scenes, some real and some fake.
People who added this item 493 Average listal rating (292 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.7

Vilified as a misogynistic wolf in faux-feminist clothing, this rape-revenge movie so incensed critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel that they tried to have it pulled from theaters.
People who added this item 212 Average listal rating (108 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.6
Pretty Baby (1978)

Louis Malle's decision to cast 12-year-old Brooke Shields as an underage New Orleans prostitute struck many as verging on child exploitation.
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These are the films that caused uproars around communities during the time of their release. Whether a film be a documentary, a western, a thriller, a drama, a horror, a comedy, or an animated feature film; any film has the potential to shock and anger the world. Those film makers who pushed against the norm either intentional or by total accident should be remembered for their films and the affect they had on the time period. *Add on note plot summaries credit goes to AMC movie site*

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