16 Hollywood Movies Banned in Other Countries, From ‘Noah’ to ‘The Death of Stalin’ (Photos)
In recent years, films were banned for religious and cultural reasons — but sometimes, certain lines in movies angered officials
Beatrice Verhoeven | February 21, 2018 @ 8:05 AM
Last Updated: February 21, 2018 @ 8:11 AM
After "Wonder Woman" was banned in Lebanon because Gal Gadot is an Israeli, TheWrap takes a look at other Hollywood movies banned in other countries in recent years.
According to The Guardian, Ben Stiller's movie was banned in Malaysia because of its plot to assassinate the country's prime minister. The Malaysian Home Affairs Ministry Film Censorship Board said the film was "definitely unsuitable."
"Brokeback Mountain" (2005)
The film about two gay cowboys starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger was banned in most Middle Eastern countries where same-sex love is criminalized and considered taboo.
"The Da Vinci Code" (2006)
According to IndieWire, the Holy See condemned the film starring Tom Hanks as offensive and historically inaccurate. Protestors were seen outside of movie theaters, and soon, the film was banned in China, Egypt, parts of India, Jordan, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and more.
In 2006, The Guardian reported that "Borat" was banned from every Arab country except Lebanon. It was banned in Kazakhstan because Borat spoofs the country's culture and national anthem.
The Daily Mail then reported the foreign minister later thanked Sacha Baron Cohen for the film because it helped "attract tourists" and the "number of visas issues by Kazakhstan grew tenfold."
According to RealClearPolitics, Iran banned the film because they believed it was "hurtful American propaganda." IndieWire also reported that Tehran submitted a complaint citing that it misrepresented and hurt the country's national identity and history.
"The Departed" (2006)
According to Reuters, China banned "The Departed" because the filmmakers declined to change a plot line where the movie points out how Beijing wanted to buy advanced military computer hardware.
“The regulators just cannot understand why the movie wanted to involve China. They can talk about Iran or Iraq or whatever, but there’s no reason to get China in," a source said.
Ukraine banned the film starring Sacha Baron Cohen as a gay Austrian man because the film contained "obscene language, homosexual scenes, and other scenes of offensive nature never shown in Ukraine." The film also offended many members of the LGBTQ community.
North Korea banned the disaster film and vowed to prosecute anyone caught in possession of the film because it was considered "a grave provocation against the development of the state," according to the Telegraph. In 2010, Kim Jong-il had said that 2012 will be the year that North Korea will "open the grand gates to becoming a rising superpower."
"The Hunger Games" (2012)
According to Business Insider, the dystopian film starring Jennifer Lawrence was banned in Vietnam because kids battling it out till their death was considered too extreme for local audiences.
Darron Aronofsky's biblical epic starring Russell Crowe was banned in several countries including Bahrain, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and China because they felt it violated Islamic law prohibiting the artistic portrayal of a prophet.
"The Interview" (2014)
The comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen was banned in North Korea because the duo in the movie plans to assassinate the supreme leader. The country's UN ambassador called the film "an act of war." The impending release caused the "Guardians of Peace" to hack into Sony's computers and also threaten terrorist attacks against cinemas that showed the movie. Sony then only released the movie online.
"Ghostbusters" (2016)China declined to screen Sony's female-led reboot of the comedy, with commentators noting a long-standing objection by Chinse censors to depictions of ghosts and other supernatural phenomena.
"Suicide Squad" (2016)
Warner Bros.' R-rated superhero movie also failed to win clearance in China due to its dark tone and extreme violence. (The country also passed on the R-rated "Deadpool" as well.)
"Beauty and the Beast" (2017)
The live-action "Beauty and the Beast" was banned in several countries including Malaysia and Kuwait (and received an age restriction in Russia) because of a "gay moment" in the movie.
"Wonder Woman" (2017)
"Wonder Woman" was banned in Lebanon because its lead actress, Gal Gadot, is an Israeli and was a soldier in the Israeli Army.
Lebanon is at war with Israel and has a law that spans decades, boycotting Israeli products and barring Lebanese citizens from traveling or having contact with Israelis.
"The Death of Stalin" (2018)
Russia's Culture Ministry announced that it had banned "Veep" creator Paul Ianucci's satirical film about the final days of Josef Stalin and the power struggle after his death, citing "extremist" content.