30 of the most controversial films of all time

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

In the Realm of the Senses (1976)

30 of the most controversial films of all time 14

Directed by Nagisa Ōshima, In the Realm of the Senses is a pornographic art film that tells the story of former sex worker Sada Abe (Eiko Matsuda), whose affair with her married employer Kichizō Ishida (Tatsuya Fuji) led to an obsessive and ultimately destructive sexual relationship.

The film generated great controversy during its release because it contains scenes of unsimulated sexual activity between Matsuda and Fuji. Since strict censorship laws in Japan would not have allowed the movie to be made according to Ōshima’s vision, the production was listed as a French enterprise, and the undeveloped footage was shipped to France for processing and editing.

In the Realm of the Senses was initially banned in the U.S. upon its premiere at the 1976 New York Film Festival because of a scene in which Kichizō pushes an egg into Sada’s vulva and forces her to push it out of her vagina so he could eat it. The movie was not available on home video in the country until 1990, although it was sometimes seen uncut in film clubs.