4 Famous Movies That Were Banned Outside the U.S.

While some movies were box office hits, gaining great revenue and ravenous fans in the United States, other countries used their power to censor. These nations have their reasons for choosing not to show these movies. Some movies are just too violent. Others are offensive to the beliefs, culture or traditions of that nation. Then for other movies, there is a fear of the film presenting “inappropriate” ideas or behaviors to their citizens. While we can get into a deep analysis over the freedom of speech, freedom of art, and the dark side of censorship, today we will simply present four famous movies that were banned outside the U.S.. Feel free to ponder on the sensitive matters that such decisions encompass. 

1. North Korea banned 2012


The disaster movie 2012 was quite impressive. Even if it wasn’t the best movie in the world, it certainly made a good impression with fans and critics alike, particularly for its special effects. However, in 2010, North Korea banned the movie from the country’s cinemas based on a superstition:

The year 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the nation’s founder, Kim Il-sung, and has been designated by the North Korean government as “the year for opening the grand gates to becoming a rising superpower”.

You can imagine why the movie was banned. What is harder to imagine is the fact that some people, who managed to put their hands on pirated copies of the movie and see it, were arrested and charged with “grave provocation against the development of the state”.

2. New Zealand banned Maniac


Maniac is a first person slasher movie featuring New Zealand’s favorite Hobbit – Elijah Wood. However, the 2013 movie was banned in New Zealand because it was too graphic, too personal, and was invited viewers to vicariously participate. In other words, the country believed that the peaceful population of the country would have been enticed to violent behaviors against their will. Still, the Kiwi audience was able to see the movie, as “Maniac” was restricted only in festivals’ screenings and we’re sure that alternative means have been found since then.

3. Vietnam banned The Hunger Games

the hunger games

Why did the Vietnam Government decide to ban The Hunger Games in their country? Because it depicts too much violence and the Vietnamese can’t stand to see youngsters fighting each other in an arena. There is just too much death to handle in this movie. We didn’t check this out, but how about the original Old Boy? Did the Vietnamese even hear about it? There were some rumors that Vietnam banned the Hunger Games books too, but this still needs further investigation.

4. More than one country banned Bruce Almighty

bruce almighty

We are talking about Egypt, Malaysia, Myanmar and Iran and the reasons for taking such decisions revolved around the movie’s depiction of God. It’s portrayal of God as a simple, ordinary man (although Morgan Freeman is far from being ordinary), is something that offended the religious views of said populations. According to the sources,

the director of artistic censorship, Madkour Thabet, said the American film “Bruce Almighty” was banned because “it harms the Almighty by daring to have him incarnated by an actor.”

Among the most famous movies that were banned outside the U.S., we can objectively pick the ones that have a pretty powerful display of violence and understand why such movies are subjects of controversy. We also can understand that some audiences should be kept safe from nudity and other touchy issues. However, banning a movie out of a superstition or because an actor interpreted the role of the Almighty, that is perhaps a bit too much. What do you think?

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