Top 10 Banned Comedy Movies



Top 10 Banned Comedy Movies

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
These controversial movies were deemed too shocking and/or political in some countries. For this list, we'll be looking at instances where comedic films were banned in certain parts of the world. Our countdown includes "The Simpsons Movie”, "Deadpool", "Borat", and more!

Top 10 Banned Comedy Movies

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Banned Comedy Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at instances where comedic films were banned in certain parts of the world.

Which of these comedies do you think is the most outlandish? Let us know in the comments below.

#10: “Deadpool” (2016)

While there had been R-rated superhero movies before Ryan Reynolds’ first solo outing, “Deadpool” was on an entirely different level. Its incredibly crass humor, harsh language, and gnarly violence made it unlike anything else Marvel and Fox had previously released. Normally, any movie that releases in China has to go through certain edits before it can be shown. However, there was no way to do this for “Deadpool” without completely butchering the plot. So, the country banned it, as did Uzbekistan, claiming it went against their societal norms. It would eventually be shown in China without edits, although only during the 2018 Beijing International Film Festival, which only lasted a week.

#9: “The Death of Stalin” (2017)

Any film that deals with politics is bound to rub some the wrong way. This satirical black comedy follows the Council of Ministers after the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. The hilarious power struggles, carried by wonderful performances from the likes of Jason Isaacs and Steve Buscemi, led to glowing reviews. Although, you can probably guess which countries took issue with it. Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan banned the British film under the thought that it displayed anti-Soviet themes and made fun of their history. It would briefly play at the Clique festival in Kazakhstan, but many saw it as a distortion of real-world events. The head of Russia’s Great Fatherland Party, Nikolai Starikov, even called it part of an anti-Russian information war.

#8: “The Simpsons Movie” (2007)

“The Simpsons” is one of the longest-running shows of all time. And in 2007, fans got to experience the family on the big screen with higher quality animation and a bit more risque humor. However, while content plays a big part in the banning of many films, the reason “The Simpsons Movie” was banned has nothing to do with its plot. Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, prohibited the film for its frequent use of yellow and red. Yes, a color scheme led to the country banning it. Those colors were actually used in the flag of Burmese rebel group, the National League for Democracy. And the government didn’t want to show bias or incite violence.

#7: “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” (2008)

With a title like that, it may be obvious why Kevin Smith’s raunchy comedy didn’t release in certain locations. The film follows two down-on-their-luck pals who decide to solve their money problems by making an adult film together. Its first poster was actually banned in the US by the MPAA, prompting the marketing team to create one with stick figures. In Utah, cinema chain Megaplex Theatres refused to show it on the grounds that its content was too vulgar for religious, conservative audiences. Elsewhere in the world, some countries in Southeast Asia reportedly banned it outright out of fear that younger viewers may be inspired to make their own adult films.

#6: “The Great Dictator” (1940)

It’s definitely the most serious movie on our list, but “The Great Dictator” still includes all the comedic trappings of Charlie Chaplin, even if it was his first movie with sound. Chaplin made the satirical dramedy in the early days of WWII before America had even entered. Yet, it was a scathing denouncement of Nazi Germany and its practices, with Chaplin playing both a Hitler-like dictator and a Jewish barber. Unsurprisingly, it was banned in many parts of Europe. But it was also banned in certain Latin American countries that were Nazi sympathizers. By this point, Chaplin wasn’t a stranger to Germany banning his films. 1936’s “Modern Times” was also prohibited due to its supposed advocation for communism.

#5: “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” (1979)

This film from the renowned comedic group follows Brian, a Jewish-Roman man born on the same day as his next-door neighbor, Jesus himself. As an adult, he’s mistaken for the Messiah and hilarity ensues. Although, it didn’t ensue for some. Several town councils within the UK banned “Life of Brian” without having watched it simply due to its parody-based religious content. Ireland banned it for 8 years and Norway banned it for 1. This led to a genius marketing move in Sweden, where posters stated it was so funny, it was banned in Norway. Theaters that did show it in the UK, as well as some in New York, were met with protests. But they say no press is bad press.

#4: “Zoolander” (2001)

Ben Stiller’s “Zoolander” is a hilarious look at the culture of male modeling with a terrific cast and endlessly quotable dialogue. However, its flare was seemingly a bit too much for Iran. The country banned the movie upon release due to its apparent support of gay rights. While there are no same-sex couples in the movie, outside of an implied threesome, showing male characters act so flamboyantly was enough. “Zoolander” is also banned in Malaysia and Singapore, though for very different reasons. With it revolving around a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia, we can see why they might not have been too thrilled about it.

#3: “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)

Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s autobiography is overflowing with drug use, nudity, moral corruption, and a Guinness World Record-setting amount of swear words. Naturally, there are some countries that took issue with its content. Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malaysia, and Nepal all forbid the movie from being shown. Other countries, such as India and Singapore, only allowed it after significant re-edits. And the United Arab Emirates only showed it after around 45 minutes of controversial content was removed and much of its harsh language muted. Many of this version’s viewers expressed dissatisfaction as it was understandably hard to follow. At that point, why show it at all?

#2: “Borat” (2006)

Sacha Baron Cohen is more than familiar with his movies being banned by certain countries. Ukraine refused to show 2009’s “Brüno” and 2012’s “The Dictator” is banned in several countries within the Commonwealth of Independent States. However, when it comes to Baron’s bans, it’s the movie that put him on the map that’s most impressive. “Borat,” a mockumentary where he played a Kazakh with no knowledge of American customs, earned him a ton of recognition and a Golden Globe. But the very real nation of Kazakhstan condemned the movie, refusing to show it. It was also banned by most Arab countries, save for Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, due to its extreme content.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Duck Soup” (1933)
Mussolini Took It as a Personal Insult & Banned It in Italy

“You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” (2008)
Banned in Arab Cinemas Over Israeli-Palestinian Content

#1: “The Interview” (2014)

This comedy from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg is one of the most famous cases of a movie being banned. It follows two journalists who get the chance to interview Kim Jong-un, only to be pulled into a plot to assassinate him by US government agents. This ruffled more than a few feathers in North Korea, who threatened action if Sony released it. After delaying the movie, Sony was then hacked by the Lazarus Group, which also promised attacks on any US theaters that showed it. This prompted Sony to release it digitally as well as in limited theaters. The film ended up being prohibited from releasing in Russia to avoid any political incitement.