30 of the most controversial films of all time

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

The Outlaw (1943)

30 of the most controversial films of all time 15

In this Howard Hughes-directed movie, Western legends Billy the Kid (Jack Buetel), Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell), and Doc Holliday (Walter Huston) are played against each other over the law and the attentions of vivacious country vixen Rio McDonald (Jane Russell).

Although The Outlaw was ready to be shown in theaters in February 1941, Hughes had trouble getting it approved by the Hollywood Production Code Administration due to its emphasis on and display of Russell’s breasts. However, after reluctantly removing about 40 feet of footage that prominently featured Russell’s bosom, 20th Century Fox decided to cancel its agreement to release the film. This forced Hughes to create a scheme that would make the public call for the banning of the movie.

The resulting controversy created enough interest to get The Outlaw into theaters for one week in 1943. It then became a box-office hit three years later when it was released widely by RKO Radio Pictures in San Francisco.