10 Controversial Comedies That Were Banned in the USA

10 Controversial Comedies That Were Banned in the USA
Image credit: Legion-Media, New Line Cinema, National Entertainment

Back in the day, movies were actually banned in the United States, and often for rather bizarre reasons. These 10 comedies met the harsh verdict of the censors.

10. Convention City (1933)

Convention City follows the convention of the fictional Honeywell Rubber Company. While arguably there was serious business on the table, the employees were generally worried about getting drunk or laid, preferably both. After its release in 1933, Convention City was banned until 1934 for being quite a racy sex comedy.

9. Two-Faced Woman (1941)

An independent woman discovers that her husband expects her to be a conventional stay-at-home wife. To prove him wrong, she employs her “twin” alter-ego and seduces him again, proving herself right. Two-Faced Woman was briefly banned in NYC for its “un-Christian attitude toward marriage” and suggestive scenes.

8. Brewster’s Millions (1945)

Brewster, a young man, finds out he can receive a huge inheritance if only he spends $1M in two months without keeping any actual assets from it. The man does all he can to waste the money but his random schemes end up being profitable. Brewster’s Millions was briefly banned in Tennessee for “too much social equality.”

7. The Moon Is Blue (1953)

A young lady invited to a man’s house finds herself between his and an older gentleman’s advances but is decidedly more interested in discussing complex moral topics than in their physical company. For the entire night, her philosophy clashes with their desires. This “indecent and obscene” movie was banned in several American states.

6. Flaming Creatures (1963)

Following weird creatures in several disconnected scenes including a questionable commercial, an orgy, and an earthquake, Flaming Creatures was immediately blamed for indecency. The movie’s graphic depictions of sexual interactions and provocative topics got it briefly banned in New York City which caused a backlash.

5. Viva Maria! (1965)

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Two women named Maria, one of whom accidentally invented striptease, become entangled in a socialist revolution in one of the Central American countries. The friends succeed in their mission, forming a quasi-socialist state in its place. For its “sexual and anti-Catholic content,” the movie was banned in Texas until 1968.

4. Pink Flamingos (1972)

Pink Flamingos follows the drag queen criminal protagonist who prides on being “the filthiest person alive” and has to compete with two other criminals who, too, want to wear that proud title. The movie was banned in Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Norway, and the USA (until 1997) for its “wide range of perversions in explicit detail.”

3. Female Trouble (1974)

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A spoiled teenager rages after her parents refuse to get her the Christmas present she wants and runs away, indulging in the most decadent and criminal activities imaginable. Female Trouble belongs to the same “Trash trilogy” as Pink Flamingos, so to no one’s surprise, the movie was banned in the United States until 1999.

2. The Thorn (1971)

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Exploiting the recent fame of its only semi-known star, Bette Midler, and the revived interest in Christianity in the US, The Thorn presented itself as religious satire. Its alternative names were The Greatest Story Overtold and The Divine Mr. J, alluding to Jesus Christ. For such “desecration,” the movie was banned until 1984.

1. Life of Brian (1979)

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Also known as Monty Python's Life of Brian, this British movie, too, was a religious satire about Christianity. Life of Brian was accused of “attacking the Church” and banned in numerous Catholic countries for many years, but in the United States, the movie was only briefly banned in the year of its release.