Top 10 Banned Movies of the 90s

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Top 10 Banned Movies of the 90s

VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb WRITTEN BY: Matt Klem
These 90s movies drew the ire of the censors. For this list, we'll be looking at films released in the 1990s that were banned in certain countries due to the nature of their content. Our countdown includes “The Shawshank Redemption”, "Kids", “Reservoir Dogs”, and more!
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Top 10 Banned Movies of the ‘90s


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Banned Movies of the ‘90s.

For this list, we’ll be looking at films released in the 1990s that were banned in certain countries due to the nature of their content. We will also be considering movies whose bans were lifted, so long as they were banned in the first place.

Have you ever seen a film that was banned? Let us know in the comments.

#10: “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

Malaysia
On any given day, you can probably turn on your TV at some point and find “The Shawshank Redemption” playing. Originally a box office disappointment, the story of Andy and Red’s time in prison has gone on to become noted by fans as one of the best movies ever made. Much like some of our other entries on this list, the movie was initially banned in Malaysia. Citing “depiction of cruelty, profanity and violence,” it was not available for viewing at any theaters. However, as time passed, the ban was eventually lifted for the DVD release, allowing fans there to enjoy this classic.

#9: “Babe: Pig in the City” (1998)

China & Malaysia
Who would have thought that movies about a talking pig would get banned anywhere? Sure enough, both the original “Babe” and its sequel “Babe: Pig in the City” were banned in Malaysia, with the latter also being prohibited in China. For the former, “Babe” sounded too much like the Malay word “babi,” which is the word for “pig,” and can be considered offensive in certain Islamic regions. In China however, the reasoning for preventing viewers from seeing the film was far more unusual. At the time, the movie was prohibited because it portrayed an animal that had the ability to speak, something that was prohibited by Chinese law.

#8: “The Bridges of Madison County” (1995)

The Philippines
Set in 1965, “The Bridges of Madison County” sees Meryl Streep’s character Francesca Johnson get wrapped up in an affair with Clint Eastwood’s ​​Robert Kincaid. It could have easily fallen to the wayside of countless other Hollywood films depicting marital indiscretion. Thankfully, the two leads elevate the film beyond that, making it a joy to watch. Which is why it comes as such a surprise to learn that the film was banned in the Philippines. The local ratings board gave it an “X” rating citing the partial nudity portrayed by Streep. Warner Bros., the studio that owns the film, was given an option to cut the scene to receive an “R,” but chose to leave the film intact.

#7: “The Prince of Egypt” (1998)

Several Countries
If you pick up a copy of the Holy Bible, you can read the story of how Moses led the Jews out of Egypt. Or if you prefer to watch your stories instead of reading them, you can catch the same tale in both “The Ten Commandments” or this entry’s title, “The Prince of Egypt.” The latter was Dreamworks’s first traditionally animated feature film. With a stellar cast of voice talent, the movie did very well with audiences, except in Malaysia, Maldives, Egypt, and Indonesia where it was banned. Since Moses was deemed an Islamic prophet, his likeness was forbidden from being shown visually. It was, however, eventually permitted to be released on DVD in Indonesia.


#6: “Dead Alive” (1992)

South Korea, Singapore & Finland
Long before he captured the attention of audiences with his “Lord of the Rings” films, Peter Jackson directed a horror movie called “Braindead,” also known as “Dead Alive.” Repeatedly cited as one of the goriest movies ever made, it showcases some of the most disturbing imagery ever put to film. One notable scene features one character’s creative use of a lawn mower to take down a room full of zombie-like individuals. The excessive gore found in the film triggered a ban in South Korea, Singapore and Finland. Given the explicit nature of the film, we’re surprised it wasn’t banned in other places as well.

#5: “Kids” (1995)

South Africa
For a movie with the name “Kids,” this is one you’ll want to keep clear from any children. Released in 1995, this little film remains as controversial now as it was when it hit theaters. The plot centers around a group of rowdy teenagers who could arguably beat “The Wolf of Wall Street’s” Jordan Belfort in the excesses of life. The movie has been called out repeatedly for the nature of its subject matter. Originally branded with an NC-17, the movie was released “unrated” stateside, but was still too much for South African audiences. Two years later, the ban was partially lifted, but still prevented anyone under sixteen from viewing the film.


#4: “Schindler’s List” (1993)

Indonesia, Malaysia & the Philippines
Steven Spielberg’s dramatization of Oskar Schindler’s involvement in the Holocaust has been heralded as one of the greatest historical dramas of all time. Yet, even with as much acclaim as it received, the movie did find itself absent in at least three different countries. The Philippines objected to certain scenes around nudity and sexual activity, but lifted the ban a year later. Indonesia banned the film outright due to the antisemitic views of some of its media and government. And finally, Malaysia prohibited the film claiming it was mere propaganda used to evoke sympathy from the viewer.

#3: “Reservoir Dogs” (1992)

United Kingdom
Quentin Tarantino made his feature length-debut with his tale around a group of guys and their botched jewelry heist. Unlike other films on this list, the ban didn’t come until after it had been in theaters. When it came time for the film to be released on VHS, the British Board of Film Classification wouldn’t issue it a rating; a charged political situation around violence depicted in film caused the delay. So although no official ban was ever issued, the lack of an official rating prevented the film from being available on home video, and was re-released to theaters in 1994 alongside “Pulp Fiction,” which had also seen a ban in Malaysia. Finally, in 1995 “Reservoir Dogs” received a rating and a home release.

#2: “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” (1999)

Iraq & Kuwait
This one comes as no surprise. If you’ve seen the “South Park” movie, you know that one of the primary antagonists is Saddam Hussein himself. To say that he’s not portrayed in the best of light is almost as funny as the jokes from this film. Shown to be in a romantic relationship with the devil, the Ba'athist Iraq did not take kindly to how their leader was depicted. The film was outright banned across Iraq, as well as in Kuwait where it was considered offensive to the Muslim Brotherhood. The “South Park” TV show remains banned in Kuwait to this day.


#1: “Natural Born Killers” (1994)

Ireland, UK & the Philippines
It’s a foregone conclusion that any movie focused on the glorification of violence is going to stir the pot. Although the controversial content in “Natural Born Killers” triggered a ban in the Philippines, it was the copycat artists who took inspiration from the film that first saw the movie banned in the UK. Some reports indicate it was banned in Ireland for similar reasons, while others claim it was purely over the excessive violence. It wasn’t until 2001 that the movie was released on home video in the UK. The long delay was related to a misconception around its possible influence on the Dunblane massacre.
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