12.9.12

Top 10 Religiously Controversial Films of All Time

With riots all over Islamic countries and the death of American Ambassadors because of one indie movie, I felt this topic was worth discussing...



10. The Exorcist

It was the sensationalist and graphic presentation of possession and exorcism that annoyed the church here. US bishops film office disapproved of it and didn't allow any of the film to be shot in a church.



9. History of the World: Part One (1981)

The plot pretty much follows the title of the film, bringing up evolution, homosexuality and the Roman Empire all with some religious satire. Mel Brooks classic got its expected banning in conservative parts of the world.



8. Dogma

Smith's comedy - about two fallen angels who attempt to use a Catholic loophole to return to heaven (by way of New Jersey) - had sparked much-publicized protests from the Catholic League. Disney-owned Miramax then refused to distribute the film for fear of tax increases to their two theme parks.



7. Hail, Mary (1985, Fr.) (aka Je vous salue, Marie)

Goddard's modern retelling of the virgin birth sparked protests all around the world, even getting him a pie in the face at Cannes.



6. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979, UK)

Up until fairly recently, Life of Brian had been banned by BBC, ITV and a host of town halls across the UK and caused outrage among the religions mentioned in the film.


5. Battlefield Earth (2000)

If you don't know anything about Scientology I suggest you do some wiki-ing. Those guys are crazy! Staring and produced by John Travolta, the film went on to bankrupt its production company and is widely regarded one of the worst films ever made. It has been since known as Scientology propaganda. Based on the bible -if you will- of Scientology.



4. Water (2005)

Water follows the story of a group of widows trying to escape social restrictions imposed on widows in India. 2000 protesters stormed their set and destroyed it before shooting, based on false accusations towards the content of the script. Believing it discriminate Hindu customs. One activist organised a suicide protest to prevent the films production. It was later filmed in Sri Lanka rather than India. Wise choice.



3. The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988)

Portraying any part of Jesus' life seems to be pretty controversial. Aside from the expected banning and outrage, there were Molotovs thrown at Saint Michel theater, Paris by religious extremists during a showing injuring 13 people and shutting down the theater for 3 years.



2. The Message (1976, 1977) (aka Mohammed, Messenger of God)

It was one of the most controversial films of the 70s: an English-language biopic of the prophet Muhammad that was bankrolled by Gadafy. The Message sparked controversy in the US when it was rumoured that Quinn was starring as Muhammad. In March 1977, 12 members of the Black Muslims organisation stormed three buildings in Washington DC, taking 149 people hostage and demanding that the film be destroyed. The notorious Hanafi Muslim Siege resulted in the deaths of a police officer and a radio reporter, while council member – and future mayor – Marion Barry was wounded by a shotgun pellet. The hostages were eventually released after a 39-hour stand-off.



1. Innocence of Muslims (2012)

I presume the title is meant to be ironic. This is the film that has sent Islamic extremists into frenzies all over the middle east causing the deaths of American Ambassadors in retaliation.

Written and Directed by Sam Bacile, an Israeli-American, and supported by Qur'an burning pastor Dr Terry Jones, it has been reported to portray Muhammad as a homosexual and a promoter of pedophilia.

I'm not sure how I feel about religion being involved in film. Part of me wants it to just stay out of discussion but you wouldn’t do that for books or art so why film? Religion should not however have any involvement in a films production or distribution. Ireland is a perfect example of where religion can have a major effect of the industry, essentially shutting down Irish film until the late 80s.

It is unclear however how much of an effect 'Innocence of Muslims' will have on the world and how many more people are to suffer for it and therefore its place at no.1 is in question. The director has no regrets and expected such a backlash. With recent American involvement in the Arab Spring and now those countries people turning against them; this should get pretty interesting...