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Controversial Films

These are the films that, love them or hate them, tend to bring out the passion in people. This is actually an important thing that art is supposed to do. While most filmmakers are content to make a pile of money putting butts in theater seats by giving them the visual and audio equivalent of chewing gum, controversial filmmakers want to shake the audience up, make them think, and make them question their beliefs.

What makes a film controversial? Sometimes it's a perfectly acceptable film, but a meddlesome band of special-interest cases came out and picketed it. Other times, it's a fringe film meant to appeal to a specific culture, and the general public has a hard time grappling with it. Sometimes a film pushes social norms and standards of what is acceptable at the time. So here, we'll also include films that were notable for controversy on release - even if they barely raise an eyebrow now.

  • 1971 A Clockwork Orange
    A Clockwork Orange Director: Stanley Kubrick
    Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Adrienne Corri, Miriam Karlin
  • American History X
    American History X Director: Tony Kaye
    Starring: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Fairuza Balk, Beverly D'Angelo, Avery Brooks
  • Antichrist
    Antichrist Director: Lars Von Trier
    Starring: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg
  • 1979 Apocalypse Now
    Apocalypse Now Director: Francis Ford Coppola
    Starring: Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms
  • 1966 Django
    Django Director: Quentin Tarantino
    Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson
  • 1973 Exorcist, The
    Exorcist, The Director: William Friedkin
    Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack Macgowran
  • 1967 Graduate, The
    Graduate, The Director: Mike Nichols
    Starring: Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross, William Daniels, Murray Hamilton
  • 1979 Monty Python's Life of Brian
    Monty Python's Life of Brian Director: Terry Jones
    Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones
  • 2014 Noah
    Noah Director: Darren Aronofsky
    Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins
  • 1960 Psycho
    Psycho Director: Alfred Hitchcock
    Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam
  • 1974 Texas Chain Saw Massacre
    Texas Chain Saw Massacre Director: Tobe Hooper
    Starring: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, William Vail
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