30 of the most controversial films of all time

These movies have taboo storylines, graphic sex scenes, and gruesome violence

most controversial films of all time

There are a lot of factors that can make or break a movie. While critics and audiences mainly look at directing, writing, and acting, when judging the greatness of a film, there are instances when controversies surrounding a movie dictate its critical and commercial success, as well as its overall legacy. Flicks that are dubbed controversial usually feature sensitive and taboo storylines, but there are also some that become a hot topic because of their overly graphic sex scenes, grossly gruesome violence, and extremely vulgar language, among many others. To give you some examples, below are 30 of the most controversial films of all time.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

30 of the most controversial films of all time 15

Set in a dystopian near-future Britain, A Clockwork Orange centers on antisocial delinquent Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) and his small group of thugs as they go on crime sprees that include theft, rape, murder, and other forms of “ultra-violence”. When Alex is jailed, he submits to a conduct-aversion experiment that conditions him to abhor violence. Though he eventually earns his freedom, he returns to the world defenseless, becoming the victim of his prior victims.

Because of its graphic depictions of violence, the Stanley Kubrick-directed film became very controversial at the time of its release and was ultimately withdrawn from British cinemas at Kubrick’s behest. Despite its portrayal of excessively graphic violence, A Clockwork Orange still scored Best Picture, Best Writing, Best Director, and Best Film Edition nominations at the 44th Academy Awards.