Saturday, June 10, 2006

The 25 Most Controversial Movies of all Time

This week's issue of Entertainment Weekly has a wonderful list of the 25 most controversial films of all time. These are movies which
"...get someone's goat without any studio goosing, whose incendiary elements can inspire an offended party to picket, call for a boycott, even pray for divine intervention. These can be important, progressive, taboo-shattering films -- or merely films that feature a lot of randy humping. They can also be films that are truly, objectively despicable. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all reflected in [this list]." (issue #882, 6/16/06, p 32)
Passion of the Christ came in at #1, with A Clockwork Orange a close second. Two films now in theaters -- Da Vinci Code and United 93 -- also find a place on the list. It's worth reading the article for concise explanations of the controversy behind each film.

I put Tomatometer ratings next to the films (red = fresh, green = rotten), and as you can see, most were actually well received by the critics. Only six are rotten tomatoes -- The Da Vinci Code the most rotten of all, not suprisingly.

1. The Passion of the Christ. 51%
2. A Clockwork Orange. 93%
3. Farenheit 9/11. 83%
4. Deep Throat. ?
5. JFK. 85%
6. The Last Temptation of Christ. 78%
7. The Birth of a Nation. 100%
8. Natural Born Killers. 53%
9. Last Tango in Paris. 84%
10. Baby Doll. 100%
11. The Message. ?
12. The Deer Hunter. 90%
13. The Da Vinci Code. 23%
14. The Warriors. 92%
15. Triumph of the Will. 100%
16. United 93. 90%
17. Freaks. 97%
18. I Am Curious (Yellow). 59%
19. Basic Instinct. 63%
20. Cannibal Holocaust. ?
21. Bonnie and Clyde. 96%
22. Do the Right Thing. 100%
23. Kids. 56%
24. Caligula. 35%
25. Aladdin. 88%


Blogger Stephen C. Carlson said...

Thanks for this list, Loren. With The Da Vinci Code, I think we're too in the moment to be objective about its controversiality. I suspect that the movie isn't good enough or transgressive enough to be on a similar list five years from now.

Blogger Loren Rosson III said...

I was suprised to see Natural Born Killers ranked so high; I don't think it was that controversial. But in the case of Da Vinci, I don't think the film can be easily considered apart from the book -- and the latter has been controversial with a vengeance.

Blogger Rick Sumner said...

No Eyes Wide Shut?! Certainly not Kubrick's best work, but, I'd suggest, decidedly more controversial than A Clockwork Orange!

And where's Lolita? Either Kubrick's or the '97 remake?

I am aghast! Aghast!

Blogger Andrew Criddle said...

I'm surprised that Salo by the deceased controversial author and film-maker Pasolini is not on the list

Anonymous Francis said...

I'm surprised Cannibal Holocaust wasn't in the top 3 with the Passion and clockwork orange.

Blogger Alan F. Segal said...

I'm very interested in the contrast between "The Passion" and the "DaVinci Code." That they come so close in time is part of the contrast. Although "The Passion" had its antisemitic moments, it really galvanized the spiritual feelings of one section of the population. "The DaVinci Code," by contrast, really angered the same people.
I want to point out that this reflects the deep chasm between red and blue states, the mainline religious persons vs. the Evangelical/fundamentalist/born again side. The Gallup Poll suggested that the contrast between the two would be the big religion story of the 21St century--that Americans might have more in common with people in different religions if they were on the same side of the chasm line. So conservative Catholics might have more in common with born again Protestants than with liberal Catholics, etc.
These films only underline the growing chasm and points out that it is a red state/blue state chasm as well. The bifurcation that we see in these two films is one that goes to the heart of our current political debate as well.
In the Passion, the camera stays on Jesus. We are supposed to identify with him through his suffering and learn to endure any suffering for the sake of religion. In the DaVinci Code, by contrast, the camera stays on the professor. We are to identify with him and learn to figure out things for ourselves. There is a participatory aspect to all films and these two give us clues as to who is supposed to be energized by them. Oh yes, and there's no sex in either of them, just bizarrely eroticized violence.
So the controversy lays bare the growing bifurcation in our religious, social, economic, and political lives. I'm hoping that this will reverse itself after this election.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

American History X???


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