Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí had effectively fallen out by the time the film went into production to the extent that Dali refused to have anything to do with the actual making of the film. On the first day of shooting, Buñuel chased Dalí off the set with a hammer.
This film was granted a screening permit after being presented to the Board of Censors as "the dream of a madman." After the film opened in Paris at Studio 28 on October, 1930, word spread about the film's bizarre content. On the evening of 3 December, 1930, halfway through the film, the fascist League of Patriots and other groups began to throw purple ink at the screen. They then rushed out into the lobby of the theater, slashing paintings by Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Man Ray. The producers of the film, Le Vicomte de Noailles (1891-1981) and Vicontesse Marie-Laure de Noailles (1902-1970), soon withdrew the film from circulation. Threatened with excommunication by the French clergy, the Noailles family pulled the film from distribution for nearly 50 years.
The end sequence is introduced as "120 days of depraved acts" that took place at the Duke of Blangis' castle, an allusion to the Marquis de Sade's novel "120 Days of Sodom," which was later used as the basis for Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975). Blangis exits the castle, followed by three acolytes in tricorn hats (typical of the 18th century aristocracy and bourgeoisie) one of whom is lame (such as the bandits of the second segment of the film). That Blangis is portrayed with a long beard and a long white robe, resembling Jesus in most Christian iconography, emphasizes the film's opposition of religious and political powers over the innocent and loving gentry.