Morally Bankrupt Classic Movies

by urbanemovies | created - 06 Mar 2016 | updated - 14 Mar 2017 | Public

The Catholic Legion of Decency from 1933 to 1980 provided moral guidance to Americans, telling them which films were okay to see and which ones were not okay to see. The Catholic Legion of Decency was a powerful organization; their diligent efforts altered the content of some 16,251 films over a fifty year period. Despite their best efforts to eradicate morally questionable content over 150 movies still had to be condemned.

Condemnation by the powerful Legion meant parishioners were forbidden by the church from attending a screening of the film under the notion that it was a mortal sin. The original Catholic Legion of Decency was merged into the reorganized United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting in 1980 and still provides the same moral guidance for films to this day. Source: Catholic News Movie Reviews

Which movie classic condemned by the original Catholic Legion of Decency from 1933 to 1980 is your favorite? * minimum IMDb 7.0+ rating and at least 5,000 votes

Cast your vote here or Discuss the topic here.

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1. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

R | 136 min | Crime, Drama, Sci-Fi

80 Metascore

In the future, a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn't go as planned.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke

Votes: 697,346

2. Taxi Driver (1976)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama

94 Metascore

A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Albert Brooks

Votes: 645,375 | Gross: $28.26M

3. Psycho (1960)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

97 Metascore

A Phoenix secretary embezzles forty thousand dollars from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin

Votes: 545,481 | Gross: $32.00M

4. Some Like It Hot (1959)

Not Rated | 121 min | Comedy, Music, Romance

97 Metascore

When two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft

Votes: 223,454 | Gross: $25.00M

5. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

R | 178 min | Western

90 Metascore

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè

Votes: 631,022 | Gross: $6.10M

6. The Exorcist (1973)

R | 122 min | Horror

82 Metascore

When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb

Votes: 337,691 | Gross: $232.91M

7. Grease (1978)

PG-13 | 110 min | Musical, Romance

70 Metascore

Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer. When they unexpectedly discover they're now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance?

Director: Randal Kleiser | Stars: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway

Votes: 213,260 | Gross: $188.76M

8. Rosemary's Baby (1968)

R | 137 min | Drama, Horror

96 Metascore

A young couple moves in to 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.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer

Votes: 172,173

9. Spartacus (1960)

PG-13 | 197 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

87 Metascore

The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton

Votes: 114,341 | Gross: $30.00M

10. From Russia with Love (1963)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

85 Metascore

James Bond willingly falls into an assassination plot involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by S.P.E.C.T.R.E.

Director: Terence Young | Stars: Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya, Daniela Bianchi

Votes: 107,036 | Gross: $24.80M

11. Carrie (1976)

R | 98 min | Horror

85 Metascore

Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, John Travolta

Votes: 153,584 | Gross: $33.80M

12. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Unrated | 127 min | Horror, Thriller

71 Metascore

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross

Votes: 104,231 | Gross: $5.10M

13. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

R | 100 min | Comedy, Musical

58 Metascore

A newly engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must pay a call to the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

Director: Jim Sharman | Stars: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O'Brien

Votes: 122,725 | Gross: $139.88M

14. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Not Rated | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing.

Director: George Seaton | Stars: Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Gene Lockhart

Votes: 37,073 | Gross: $2.65M

* Movie issued morally objectionable B rating due to divorcee portrayal.

15. The Omen (1976)

R | 111 min | Horror

62 Metascore

Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the Antichrist? The Devil's own son?

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey Stephens, David Warner

Votes: 99,008 | Gross: $4.27M

16. (1963)

Not Rated | 138 min | Drama

A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.

Director: Federico Fellini | Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée, Claudia Cardinale, Sandra Milo

Votes: 100,205 | Gross: $0.05M

17. Breathless (1960)

Not Rated | 90 min | Crime, Drama

A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard | Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Henri-Jacques Huet

Votes: 65,315 | Gross: $0.34M

18. The Producers (1967)

PG | 88 min | Comedy, Music

96 Metascore

Producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom make money by producing a sure-fire flop.

Director: Mel Brooks | Stars: Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Estelle Winwood, Renée Taylor

Votes: 46,725 | Gross: $0.11M

19. The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

PG | 135 min | Western

69 Metascore

A Missouri farmer joins a Confederate guerrilla unit and winds up on the run from the Union soldiers who murdered his family.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Chief Dan George, Bill McKinney

Votes: 60,622 | Gross: $31.80M

20. Blow-Up (1966)

Not Rated | 111 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

82 Metascore

A mod London photographer finds something very suspicious in the shots he has taken of a mysterious beauty in a desolate park.

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni | Stars: David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, John Castle

Votes: 51,247

21. The Wicker Man (1973)

R | 88 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

87 Metascore

A Police Sergeant is sent to a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl who the townsfolk claim never existed. Stranger still are the rites that take place there.

Director: Robin Hardy | Stars: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland

Votes: 60,302 | Gross: $0.06M

22. Last Tango in Paris (1972)

NC-17 | 129 min | Drama, Romance

77 Metascore

A young Parisian woman meets a middle-aged American businessman who demands their clandestine relationship be based only on sex.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci | Stars: Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, Maria Michi, Giovanna Galletti

Votes: 45,529 | Gross: $36.14M

23. High Plains Drifter (1973)

R | 105 min | Drama, Mystery, Western

69 Metascore

A gunfighting stranger comes to the small settlement of Lago and is hired to bring the townsfolk together in an attempt to hold off three outlaws who are on their way.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill, Mitchell Ryan

Votes: 45,721 | Gross: $15.70M

24. The Last Picture Show (1971)

R | 118 min | Drama

93 Metascore

In 1951, a group of high schoolers come of age in a bleak, isolated, atrophied West Texas town that is slowly dying, both culturally and economically.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich | Stars: Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson

Votes: 38,272 | Gross: $29.13M

25. The Odd Couple (1968)

G | 105 min | Comedy

86 Metascore

Two friends try sharing an apartment, but their ideas of housekeeping and lifestyles are as different as night and day.

Director: Gene Saks | Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, John Fiedler, Herb Edelman

Votes: 29,408 | Gross: $44.53M

26. Dressed to Kill (1980)

R | 104 min | Mystery, Thriller

74 Metascore

A mysterious blonde woman kills one of a psychiatrist's patients, and then goes after the high-class call girl who witnessed the murder.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon

Votes: 31,105 | Gross: $31.90M

27. Jules and Jim (1962)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Romance

Decades of a love triangle concerning two friends and an impulsive woman.

Director: François Truffaut | Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre, Vanna Urbino

Votes: 33,744

28. Contempt (1963)

Not Rated | 102 min | Drama, Romance

Screenwriter Paul Javal's marriage to his wife Camille disintegrates during movie production as she spends time with the producer. Layered conflicts between art and business ensue.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard | Stars: Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Michel Piccoli, Giorgia Moll

Votes: 25,146 | Gross: $0.04M

29. All That Jazz (1979)

R | 123 min | Drama, Music, Musical

72 Metascore

Director/choreographer Bob Fosse tells his own life story as he details the sordid life of Joe Gideon, a womanizing, drug-using dancer.

Director: Bob Fosse | Stars: Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Leland Palmer, Ann Reinking

Votes: 24,670 | Gross: $37.82M

30. Rififi (1955)

Not Rated | 118 min | Crime, Thriller

97 Metascore

Four men plan a technically perfect crime, but the human element intervenes...

Director: Jules Dassin | Stars: Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel, Janine Darcey

Votes: 23,186 | Gross: $0.06M

* Movie issued C rating, edited to receive morally objectionable B rating.

31. Viridiana (1961)

Not Rated | 90 min | Comedy, Drama

Viridiana, a young nun about to take her final vows, pays a visit to her widowed uncle at the request of her Mother Superior.

Director: Luis Buñuel | Stars: Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey, José Calvo

Votes: 19,945

32. Love in the Afternoon (1957)

Not Rated | 130 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A middle-aged playboy becomes fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Maurice Chevalier, John McGiver

Votes: 12,590

* Movie issued C rating, ending changed to receive morally objectionable B rating.

33. The Pawnbroker (1964)

Approved | 116 min | Drama

A Jewish pawnbroker, victim of Nazi persecution, loses all faith in his fellow man until he realizes too late the tragedy of his actions.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters, Jaime Sánchez

Votes: 7,357

34. The Boston Strangler (1968)

Approved | 116 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

A series of brutal murders in Boston sparks a seemingly endless and increasingly complex manhunt.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Tony Curtis, Henry Fonda, George Kennedy, Mike Kellin

Votes: 7,430

35. Baby Doll (1956)

Approved | 114 min | Drama

A steamy tale of two Southern rivals and a sensuous nineteen-year-old virgin.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, Eli Wallach, Mildred Dunnock

Votes: 6,190



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