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The 25 Most Controversial Movies Ever

7th November 2006

Entertainment Weekly has uploaded their list of “The 25 Most Controversial Movies Ever.” According to Loren Rosson, this was previously published in June 2006 and only made it online this week. I recall his previous blog post on the films, though I didn’t post anything on it at that time.

Here is the list:

  1. The Passion of the Christ
  2. A Clockwork Orange
  3. Fahrenheit 9/11
  4. Deep Throat
  5. JFK
  6. The Last Temptation of Christ
  7. The Birth of a Nation
  8. Natural Born Killers
  9. Last Tango in Paris
  10. Baby Doll
  11. The Message
  12. The Deer Hunter
  13. The Da Vinci Code
  14. The Warriors
  15. Triumph of the Will
  16. United 93
  17. Freaks
  18. I Am Curious (Yellow)
  19. Basic Instinct
  20. Cannibal Holocaust
  21. Bonnie and Clyde
  22. Do the Right Thing
  23. Kids
  24. Caligula
  25. Aladdin

The list doesn’t contain many surprises, though I probably would have made a few changes. For instance, I was surprised that Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976) wasn’t on the list considering John Hinckley’s assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. Also, Hail Mary (Je vous salue, Marie; Jean-Luc Godard, 1985) should get the nod. Others that came to mind include Pink Flamingos (John Waters, 1972), Straw Dogs (Sam Peckinpah, 1971), and Cruising (William Friedkin, 1980). Of course, there are many gory and exploitation films which could have made the list as well (such as I Spit on Your Grave and other such banned films).


2 Responses to “The 25 Most Controversial Movies Ever”

  1. Matt Page Says:

    Never sure what to make of these type of lists. How do you quantify which films are most controversial. Column inches? Or is it just guess work? The balance seems to me to be fairly slanted towards more recent films, only 4 of the 25 are from before 1967, despite the rise and fall of the Hayes production code. And most of them are very American. Films that challenged some of the totalitarian regimes over the last century-plus don’t get much of a say.

    I was surprised as well not to see Life of Brian, or The Exorcist, or (going back to the Hayes’s code’s rise and fall) The Sign of the Cross (1932), or The Man With the Golden Arm, The Cardinal or Psycho?. Or how about Raise the Red Lantern which was banned in China for a number of years?

  2. Keith Demko Says:

    I think their list contains most of the right ones, so my only real beef would be with the order … For me, the top spot would have to be a heated battle between the thorougly racist but groundbreaking “Birth of a Nation” and Leni Reifenstahl’s Nazi propaganda “Triumph of the Will”