Several weeks ago Entertainment Weekly listed what it considered to be the 25 most controversial movies. EW’s list included movies huddling around three predictable themes: violence, sex and religion.
Films targeted mainly for their violent content included “Natural Born Killers,” “The Deer Hunter” and “Bonnie and <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Clyde.” Sex-infused movies included “Deep Throat,” “Last Tango in Paris” and “Basic Instinct.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
And the religious films that kicked up dust included “The Last Temptation of Christ,” “The Da Vinci Code” and “The Passion of the Christ.”
“The Passion,” in fact, topped the list.
EW wrote that director Mel Gibson ignited “a culture-war firestorm unrivaled in Hollywood history. For months prior to its release, The Passion was both denounced and defended sight unseen.”
“Every now and then,” wrote EW’s Jeff Jensen (who outs himself as a Christian in the piece), “a film comes along that can genuinely get someone’s goat without any studio goosing. Films whose incendiary elements can inspire an offended party to pick up a picket, call for a boycott, even pray for divine intervention.”
What would you put on the list, and why?
Was “The Passion” controversial to you? Because of the theology? The violence? The portrayal of Jews?
What issues or types of content get your goat? Sex? Violence? Religion? Suggestions of conspiracy—as in the case of “Fahrenheit 9/11” or “JFK,” both of which made the list?
MovieFone offers its 10 most controversial religious films:
- “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988)
- “The Message” (1976)
- “The Da Vinci Code” (2006)
- “The Passion of the Christ” (2004)
- “Dogma” (1999)
- “Priest” (1994)
- “Water” (2006)
- “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” (1979)
- “The Crime of Father Amaro” (2002)
- “The Pope Must Die” (1991)
And Warner Home Video has released a Controversial Classics Collection on DVD. The collection offers seven films from the 1930s-1960s that dealt with hot issues of the day. The films: “A Face in the Crowd,” “Blackboard Jungle,” “Fury,” “Bad Day at Black Rock,” “Advise and Consent,” “The Americanization of Emily” and “I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang.”
Those films would hardly strike most of us as controversial today, but they were for their time, dealing as they did with racial tension and political corruption.
What films strike you as controversial now, but likely won’t strike future generations as contentious?
As EW points out, several upcoming films will likely spur debate—”WorldTradeCenter,” “Nativity” and “Sicko” among them.
Will they spark discussion for you and your friends, and even grab your movie-going dollar?
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com. E-mail him with your controversial movies.
Entertainment Weekly’s list of the 25 most controversial movies:
- The Passion of the Christ (2004)
- A Clockwork Orange (1971)
- Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
- Deep Throat (1972)
- JFK (1991)
- The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
- The Birth of a Nation (1915)
- Natural Born Killers (1994)
- Last Tango in Paris (1972)
- Baby Doll (1956)
- The Message (1977)
- The Deer Hunter (1978)
- The Da Vinci Code (2006)
- The Warriors (1979)
- Triumph of the Will (1935)
- United 93 (2006)
- Freaks (1932)
- I Am Curious (1969)
- Basic Instinct (1992)
- Cannibal Holocaust (1985)
- Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
- Do the Right Thing (1989)
- Kids (1995)
- Caligula (1980)
- Aladdin (1992)