AMC Website's Most Controversial Films of All-Time

Films always have the ability to anger us, divide us, shock us, disgust us, and more. Usually, films that inspire controversy, outright boycotting, picketing, banning, censorship, or protest have graphic sex, violence, homosexuality, religious, political or race-related themes and content. They usually push the envelope regarding what can be filmed and displayed on the screen, and are considered taboo, "immoral" or "obscene" due to language, drug use, violence and sensuality/nudity or other incendiary elements. Inevitably, controversy helps to publicize these films and fuel the box-office receipts.
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1.
The Kiss (1896 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Two people kiss. (1 mins.)
Director: William Heise
 
2.
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The American Civil War divides friends and destroys families, but that's nothing compared to the anarchy in the black-ruled South after the war. (165 mins.)
Director: D.W. Griffith
 
3.
Freaks (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance. (64 mins.)
Director: Tod Browning
 
4.
Ecstasy (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Eva has just gotten married to an older gentleman, but discovers that he is obsessed with order in his life and doesn't have much room for passion... (82 mins.)
Director: Gustav Machatý
 
5.
Triumph of the Will (1935 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The infamous propaganda film of the 1934 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg, Germany. (114 mins.)
 
6.
Citizen Kane (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance. (119 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
7.
The Outlaw (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Western legends Pat Garrett, Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid are played against each other over the law and the attentions of vivacious country vixen Rio McDonald. (116 mins.)
Director: Howard Hughes
 
8.
Song of the South (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The kindly story-teller Uncle Remus tells a young boy stories about trickster Br'er Rabbit, who outwits Br'er Fox and slow-witted Br'er Bear. (94 mins.)
 
9.
Baby Doll (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A steamy tale of two Southern rivals and a sensuous nineteen-year-old virgin. (114 mins.)
Director: Elia Kazan
 
10.
Peeping Tom (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A young man murders women, using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of terror. (101 mins.)
Director: Michael Powell
 
11.
Victim (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A prominent lawyer goes after a blackmailer who threatens gay men with exposure (homosexual acts still being illegal). But he's gay himself... (90 mins.)
Director: Basil Dearden
 
12.
Viridiana (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Viridiana, a young nun about to take her final vows, pays a visit to her widowed uncle at the request of her Mother Superior. (90 mins.)
Director: Luis Buñuel
 
13.
Lolita (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A middle-aged college professor becomes infatuated with a fourteen-year-old nymphet. (152 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
14.
Mondo cane (1962 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A "shockumentary" consisting of a collection of mostly real archive footage displaying mankind at its most depraved and perverse, displaying bizarre rites, cruel behavior and bestial violence. (108 mins.)
 
15.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A somewhat romanticized account of the career of the notoriously violent bank robbing couple and their gang. (111 mins.)
Director: Arthur Penn
 
16.
Titicut Follies (1967 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside the Massachusetts Correctional Institution Bridgewater where people stay trapped in their madness. (84 mins.)
 
17.
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young couple move into an apartment, only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life. (136 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
 
18.
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A naive hustler travels from Texas to New York to seek personal fortune but, in the process, finds himself a new friend. (113 mins.)
 
19.
The Wild Bunch (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the "traditional" American West is disappearing around them. (145 mins.)
Director: Sam Peckinpah
 
20.
Carnal Knowledge (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The concurrent sexual lives of best friends Jonathan and Sandy are presented, those lives which are... (98 mins.)
Director: Mike Nichols
 
21.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem - but not all goes according to plan. (136 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
22.
The Devils (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun. (111 mins.)
Director: Ken Russell
 
23.
Dirty Harry (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When a mad man calling himself 'the Scorpio Killer' menaces the city, tough as nails San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan is assigned to track down and ferret out the crazed psychopath. (102 mins.)
Director: Don Siegel
 
24.
The Last Picture Show (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A group of 1950s high schoolers come of age in a bleak, isolated, atrophied West Texas town that is slowly dying, both economically and culturally. (118 mins.)
 
25.
Straw Dogs (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A young American and his English wife come to rural England and face increasingly vicious local harassment. (113 mins.)
Director: Sam Peckinpah
 
26.
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
After saving a Black Panther from some racist cops, a black male prostitute goes on the run from "the man" with the help of the ghetto community and some disillusioned Hells Angels. (97 mins.)
 
27.
The Last House on the Left (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Two teenage girls head to a rock concert for one's birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, they are kidnapped and brutalized by a gang of psychotic convicts. (84 mins.)
Director: Wes Craven
 
28.
Last Tango in Paris (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young Parisian woman meets a middle-aged American businessman who demands their clandestine relationship be based only on sex. (129 mins.)
 
29.
Pink Flamingos (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine goes up against a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as "The Filthiest Person Alive". (93 mins.)
Director: John Waters
 
30.
The Exorcist (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter. (122 mins.)
 
31.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Two siblings visit their grandfather's grave in Texas along with three of their friends and are attacked by a family of cannibalistic psychopaths. (83 mins.)
Director: Tobe Hooper
 
32.
Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A young woman, muted after a sexual assault as a child, is trained to seek violent revenge on those who have wronged her after being kidnapped and forced to work as a prostitute. (104 mins.)
 
33.
Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
Ilsa is an evil Nazi warden at a death camp that conducts "medical experiments". Ilsa's goal is to prove that women can withstand more pain and suffering than men and therefore should be allowed to fight on the front lines. (96 mins.)
Director: Don Edmonds
 
34.
A Real Young Girl (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
August, 1963; Alice, 14, an only child, and physically well developed, is home for vacation. She's moody... (93 mins.)
 
35.
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Four fascist libertines round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to one hundred and twenty days of physical, mental and sexual torture. (116 mins.)
 
36.
Bloodsucking Freaks (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  
Sardu, master of the Theatre of the Macabre, and his assistant Ralphus run a show in which, under the guise of 'magic', they torture and murder people in front of their audience. But what the punters see as a trick is actually real. (84 mins.)
Director: Joel M. Reed
 
37.
In the Realm of the Senses (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A passionate telling of the story of Sada Abe, a woman whose affair with her master led to a sexual obsession which then came to a violent end. (109 mins.)
Director: Nagisa Ôshima
 
38.
The Message (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
In the 7th century, Mohammed is visited by Angel Gabriel who urges him to lead the people of Mecca and worship God... (177 mins.)
Director: Moustapha Akkad
 
39.
Snuff (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.8/10 X  
A so-called "snuff" movie involving the exploits of a cult leader leading a gang of bikers in a series of supposedly real killings on film. (80 mins.)
 
40.
The Deer Hunter (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An in-depth examination of the ways in which the U.S. Vietnam War impacts and disrupts the lives of people in a small industrial town in Pennsylvania. (183 mins.)
Director: Michael Cimino
 
41.
I Spit on Your Grave (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
An aspiring writer is repeatedly gang-raped, humiliated, and left for dead by four men whom she systematically hunts down to seek revenge. (101 mins.)
Director: Meir Zarchi
 
42.
Pretty Baby (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A teenage girl lives as a prostitute in New Orleans in 1917. (110 mins.)
Director: Louis Malle
 
43.
Caligula (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Details the graphic and shocking, yet undeniably tragic story of Rome's most infamous Caesar, Gaius Germanicus Caligula. (156 mins.)
Director: Tinto Brass
 
44.
Life of Brian (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Brian is born on the original Christmas, in the stable next door. He spends his life being mistaken for a messiah. (94 mins.)
Director: Terry Jones
 
45.
The Warriors (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In 1979, a charismatic leader summons the street gangs of New York City in a bid to take it over. When he is killed, The Warriors are falsely blamed and now must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down to kill them. (92 mins.)
Director: Walter Hill
 
46.
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew. (95 mins.)
Director: Ruggero Deodato
 
47.
Cruising (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A police detective goes undercover in the underground S&M gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer who is preying on gay men. (102 mins.)
 
48.
Heaven's Gate (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A dramatization of the real-life Johnson County War in 1890 Wyoming, in which a sheriff born into wealth attempts to protect immigrant farmers from rich cattle interests. (325 mins.)
Director: Michael Cimino
 
49.
The Evil Dead (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons. (85 mins.)
Director: Sam Raimi
 
50.
Hail Mary (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
In this modern retelling of the Virgin birth, Mary is a student who plays basketball and works at her... (72 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
 
51.
Year of the Dragon (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A police detective cracks down on organized crime in Chinatown after the murders of Triad and Mafia leaders. (134 mins.)
Director: Michael Cimino
 
52.
Blue Velvet (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child. (120 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
 
53.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Henry, a drifter, commits a series of brutal murders, supposedly operating with impunity. (83 mins.)
Director: John McNaughton
 
54.
Nekromantik (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
A street sweeper who cleans up after grisly accidents brings home a full corpse for him and his wife to enjoy sexually, but is dismayed to see that his wife prefers the corpse over him. (75 mins.)
 
55.
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The life of Jesus Christ, his journey through life as he faces the struggles all humans do, and his final temptation on the cross. (164 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
56.
Men Behind the Sun (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Japanese troops round up Chinese and Russian prisoners of war and take them to a place called Squadron 731, where they are grotesquely tortured and experimented on to test new biological weapons. (105 mins.)
Director: T.F. Mous
 
57.
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The wife of an abusive criminal finds solace in the arms of a kind regular guest in her husband's restaurant. (124 mins.)
Director: Peter Greenaway
 
58.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence. (120 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
59.
JFK (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A New Orleans DA discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story. (189 mins.)
Director: Oliver Stone
 
60.
Aladdin (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
When a street urchin vies for the love of a beautiful princess, he uses a genie's magic power to make himself off as a prince in order to marry her. (90 mins.)
 
61.
Basic Instinct (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A violent, suspended police detective investigates a brutal murder, in which a manipulative and seductive woman could be involved. (127 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
 
62.
Boxing Helena (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  
A surgeon becomes obsessed with the seductive woman he once was in an affair with. Refusing to accept that she has moved on, he amputates her limbs and holds her captive in his mansion. (107 mins.)
 
63.
Bandit Queen (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The movie tells the story of the bandit queen Phoolan Devi who was sent to prison in 1983 and got free in 1994... (119 mins.)
Director: Shekhar Kapur
 
64.
Natural Born Killers (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media. (118 mins.)
Director: Oliver Stone
 
65.
Kids (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A day in the life of a group of teens as they travel around New York City skating, drinking, smoking, and deflowering virgins. (91 mins.)
Director: Larry Clark
 
66.
Crash (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife. (100 mins.)
 
67.
Lolita (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A man marries his landlady so he can take advantage of her daughter. (137 mins.)
Director: Adrian Lyne
 
68.
Dogma (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An abortion clinic worker with a special heritage is called upon to save the existence of humanity from being negated by two renegade angels trying to exploit a loop-hole and reenter Heaven. (130 mins.)
Director: Kevin Smith
 
69.
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When the four boys see an R-rated movie featuring Canadians Terrance & Phillip, they are pronounced "corrupted", and their parents pressure the United States to wage war against Canada. (81 mins.)
Director: Trey Parker
 
70.
Rape Me (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  
Two young women, marginalised by society, go on a destructive tour of sex and violence. Breaking norms and killing men - and shattering the complacency of polite cinema audiences. (77 mins.)
 
71.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep. (102 mins.)
 
72.
The Crime of Father Amaro (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Politics and sexual passions threaten to corrupt a young, newly-ordained priest in a small Mexican town. (118 mins.)
Director: Carlos Carrera
 
73.
Irreversible (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in the underpass. (97 mins.)
Director: Gaspar Noé
 
74.
The Brown Bunny (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.0/10 X  
Professional motorcycle racer Bud Clay heads from New Hampshire to California to race again. Along the way he meets various needy women who provide him with the cure to his own loneliness, but only a certain woman from his past will truly satisfy him. (93 mins.)
Director: Vincent Gallo
 
75.
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Michael Moore's view on what happened to the United States after September 11; and how the Bush Administration allegedly used the tragic event to push forward its agenda for unjust wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (122 mins.)
Director: Michael Moore
 
76.
Kinsey (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A look at the life of Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the area of human sexuality research, whose 1948 publication "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" was one of the first recorded works that saw science address sexual behavior. (118 mins.)
Director: Bill Condon
 
77.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Depicts the final twelve hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, on the day of his crucifixion in Jerusalem. (127 mins.)
Director: Mel Gibson
 
78.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years. (134 mins.)
Director: Ang Lee
 
79.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A murder inside the Louvre and clues in Da Vinci paintings lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years -- which could shake the foundations of Christianity. (149 mins.)
Director: Ron Howard
 
80.
United 93 (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A real-time account of the events on United Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked on September 11th, 2001 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when passengers foiled the terrorist plot. (111 mins.)
Director: Paul Greengrass
 
81.
September Dawn (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
A love story set during a tense encounter between a wagon train of settlers and a renegade Mormon group. (111 mins.)
 
82.
Antichrist (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A grieving couple retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse. (108 mins.)
Director: Lars von Trier
 
83.
The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  
A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a trio of tourists in order to reassemble them into a human centipede, created by stitching their mouths to each others' rectums. (92 mins.)
Director: Tom Six