Strange Reasons American Movies Are Censored Abroad

Film is a universal language, but sometimes the content of a film may be acceptable in some cultures but not in others. American movies are imported around the world, but not without adjustments: these are the strangest reasons why Hollywood movies have fallen out of favor with censors abroad…

Return to the future (1985)

Censored Country: China

Back to the Future – Credit: Universal

Chinese censors had nothing against Robert Zemeckis’s temporary thriller in particular; it just so happens that they have a problem with time travel in general. Any film that features time travel is heavily censored or banned because it is seen as detracting from a much more serious problem: history itself.

“Producers and writers are treating the serious story in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged any more,” the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television of China said. Marty McFly, troublemaker! Stop trying to erase history!

the simpsons movie (2007)

Censored Country: Burma

The Simpsons movie 2... could be on the way - Credit: Fox

The Simpsons movie 2… could be on the way – Credit: Fox

The Incredibly Weird Reason You Didn’t Get To See the simpsons movie in a Burmese cinema in 2007? The colors were too vibrant. The country’s Film and Video Censorship Board issues an extremely strange edict banning any film that features prominent uses of red and yellow. Why? Who knows?

Is it possible to release a movie that doesn’t have red and yellow? Obviously, the Simpson family didn’t qualify, and since Matt Groening wasn’t about to let Lisa and company lose their lemony shine, the film was never released in Burma.

fallen from heaven (2012)

Censored Country: China

Skyfall - Credit: Sony Pictures

Skyfall – Credit: Sony Pictures

James Bond may travel the world, but his antics are not always well received by foreign authorities. fallen from heaven it was a huge hit everywhere, but in order for the film to have a wide release in China, the producers had to cut several scenes to comply with Chinese censors.

The scene where Ola Rapace’s hit man shoots a Chinese guard in the hotel lobby was removed, as was any mention of Silva being tortured by Chinese authorities. When Bond questions Severine about her tattoo and how it means she was sold into child slavery, the Chinese subtitles tell a completely different story about how she was sold to the mob. Bond complied and went East.

die hard (1988)

Censored Country: Germany

Die Hard - Credit: 20th Century Fox

Die Hard – Credit: 20th Century Fox

Perhaps unsurprisingly, German audiences weren’t too keen on being painted as calculating villains, so when John McTiernan’s timeless action-thriller premiered there in 1988, some adjustments were necessary.

As it turns out, the ‘German’ language spoken by Hans Gruber and goons bears very little resemblance to actual German. That sort of thing wouldn’t work with real-life Germans, so for his domestic release, Hans’ terrorists hailed from the ultra-vague nation of ‘Europe’.

Titanic 3D (2012)

Censored Country: China

Kate Winslet in Titanic - Credit: 20th Century Fox

Kate Winslet in Titanic – Credit: 20th Century Fox

That’s right, China has done it again, even forcing the hard-nosed James Cameron to bow to censorship. Chinese audiences were devastated when they discovered that the film’s infamous nude scene, with Kate Winslet sprawled on a deckchair, had been slashed at the neck.

The reason is priceless: “Considering the vivid 3D effects, we fear that viewers may reach out their hands to touch and thus interrupt other people’s viewing,” an official said. They were right to be cautious: covering Kate’s chest may have contributed to what would become the biggest movie opening in Chinese box office history.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

Censored Country: Iran

John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.  (Images from Colombia)

John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. (Images from Colombia)

Iran’s relationship with cinema has been tumultuous, to say the least, after theaters were burned down under the Khomeini regime in the 1970s. Filmmakers like Abbas Kiarostami would prosper, and eventually even Western movies would hit the mainstream. Iranian cinemas, but not without heavy censorship. No costly retouching work for the Iranians: when men and women are judged to be too close, they are clumsily separated with special effects or objects superimposed on the scene.

the scene in Talladega Nights, where Ricky Bobby runs off the track in just his pants, was significantly altered in Iran: they just covered it up with an elongated wall. Seamless!

Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Censored Country: China

Mission Impossible III - Credit: Paramount

Mission Impossible III – Credit: Paramount

Another strange request from China, which granted JJ Abrams and the crew permission to film on their beautiful land, but had a few requests once the film went through their censorship board. One scene, in which a group of men are seen playing mahjong, was removed due to the implication that all Chinese villagers were gamers, while another scene was edited out because it was felt that clothes hanging on clotheslines above the streets of Shanghai was too dirty.

Until the edits were made, the film did not pass the Chinese Communist Party’s guidelines.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

Censored Country: China

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - Credit: Disney

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – Credit: Disney

You might think that the casting of Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun-Fat might have been to appease the Eastern market, but you’d be wrong; in fact, her casting caused all kinds of problems for Jerry Bruckheimer.

The character of the Chinese pirate Sao Feng was considered extremely offensive to Chinese audiences, so in order to ensure that the film was released in the region, director Gore Verbinski, or more likely the poor guy who was in charge of the editing section that day, had to cut. the character entirely.

Never mind that the movie didn’t make sense, it didn’t make sense in the uncut English version either.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Censored Country: India

Cursed Temple - Credit: Paramount

Cursed Temple – Credit: Paramount

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas blundered colonial-era stereotypes with their Indy prequel, portraying Indians as savages who had not yet been introduced to the concept of table manners; no wonder they were denied filming permission in India.

The villain, Mola Ram, is more caricature than character, ripping men’s hearts out and putting boys to work in the mines, but it’s the scenes where Indy eats with his Indian hosts that are the most offensive.

Harrison Ford is threatened with a knife in a scene from the film 'Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom,' 1984. (Photo by Paramount/Getty Images)

Harrison Ford is threatened with a knife in a scene from the film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom1984. (Paramount/Getty Images)

Snakes and spiders were on the menu, but the final insult was the monkey brains course, because monkeys are considered sacred in India. The film was banned in India after its release and is still frowned upon decades later.

Zoolander (2001)

Censored Country: Iran

Zoolander - Credit: Paramount

Zoolander – Credit: Paramount

It wasn’t surprising that Ben Stiller’s cult comedy didn’t open in Malaysia, with the plot about the assassination of the Malaysian prime minister and all, but it was revealing to learn the reasons why Iran banned Zoolander: for its ‘homosexual themes’.

What homosexual themes, you might ask? Good question, because no characters are actually gay (although several are fabulous to hitherto uncharted levels) and there are no gay jokes, so it seems the fashion industry was too over the top for the Iranian censors.

Clock: Light-year banned in saudi arabia

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