Banned in the UK

A more or less comprehensive list of the films which at one time or another have been (and in some cases still are) banned in the UK, along with notes on the history of each one, courtesy of Melonfamers.

It isn't as comprehensive as I would have liked but the following films are either banned (how ironic) by Letterboxd or have not proved possible to track down:
Appointment with Lust (1970)
Arrowhead (1995)
The Awakening of Emily (1976)
Birds Mean Business (1968)
Black Market of Love (1967)
Blew! (1976)
Boys Just Wanna Have Fun (1999)
Brave, Bashed, Battered and Bruised (1997)
A Brief Encounter (1997)
A Caning for Miss Granger (2000)
Chained (1986)
Changing Room Exposed (1998)
The Classic Films…

  • Battleship Potemkin

    Battleship Potemkin

    Banned due to "inflammatory subtitles and Bolshevist Propaganda". The film was exhibited in private showings and in certain localities. Unbanned after the death of Joseph Stalin, in 1954.

  • Freaks

    Freaks

    ★★★★★

    Rejected by British censors and banned due to disturbing content and again in 1952 for a cinema rating certificate. Available from 1963 - passed with an X rating

    Read Review
  • Island of Lost Souls

    Island of Lost Souls

    ★★★★½

    Submitted to and refused a certificate by the British Board of Film Censors in 1933, 1951, and 1957, primarily due to concerns over footage and dialogue references to vivisection. It is likely that the 1951 and 1957 refusals were informed by concern that distribution of the film would constitute an offence under the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937. Certified for release in 1958.

  • Red Hot Mamma

    Red Hot Mamma

    On its initial release this Betty Boop animated short was banned for depicting Hell in a humoristic manner, which was deemed blasphemous.

  • Glen or Glenda

    Glen or Glenda

    Rejected/banned from distribution in the United Kingdom due to its subject matter. In 1981, it was distributed and reviewed in the Monthly Film Bulletin under the title "I Had Two Lives", and in 1995, it was released on VHS uncut with a 15 rating.

  • The Vanquished

    The Vanquished

    Refused a certificate in 1954, and never subsequently resubmitted for theatrical or home release since.

  • The Wild One

    The Wild One

    Banned from distribution in the United Kingdom until 1967.

  • Private Property

    Private Property

    Banned by the BBFC in 1961. Not released in the UK since. The film is currently being restored and will be released in 2016.

  • Black Sunday

    Black Sunday

    Banned by the BBFC for 1961 cinema release UK: The cut US Version was passed 15 without BBFC cuts for 1986 Stablecane VHS, which was missing around 3 minutes of dialogue and violence. Uncut European Version was passed 15 uncut for 1992 Redemption VHS.

  • Anatomy of a Psycho

    Anatomy of a Psycho

    Banned for 1961 cinema release and not released since.

  • Mr. Sardonicus

    Mr. Sardonicus

    ★★

    Banned by the BBFC for 1961 cinema release titled Sardonicus. A pre-cut version was passed X for 1961 cinema release titled Sardonicus. Passed 12 uncut for 1996 Encore VHS as Mr. Sardonicus.

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  • Mermaids of Tiburon

    Mermaids of Tiburon

    Nude version of Mermaids of Tiburon which was created a couple of years after the clothed and black & white version of 1962. Banned for 1967 cinema release.

  • Mondo Cane

    Mondo Cane

    ★★

    Banned by the BBFC for 1962 cinema release. Resubmitted in 1963 and passed X after about 14 minutes of cuts. Not released since in the UK.

  • Blood Feast

    Blood Feast

    ★★

    Astra released the video in May 1982. It was an early casualty of the video nasty scare and was banned in July 1983. It stayed on the list throughout the panic and so is one of the collectable DPP39s. Passed 18 with 23s of cuts in 2001 for Tartan Video. Passed 18 uncut in 2005 for an Odeon DVD release.

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  • Shock Corridor

    Shock Corridor

    Banned by the BBFC for 1963 and 1966 cinema release. Passed X by the GLC for London screenings in 1969. Passed 15 uncut for VHS and DVD.

  • 491

    491

    Banned for UK 1968 cinema release and has not been released since.

  • Fanny Hill

    Fanny Hill

    Banned for 1965 cinema release. A number of local authorities overruled the BBFC ban and allowed the film to be shown. The film remains banned.

  • Kiss Me Quick!

    Kiss Me Quick!

    Banned by the BBFC for UK 1971 cinema release. Passed 18 uncut for UK 2012 Freemantle/Revelation Harry Novak Collection R2 DVD.

  • The Naked Kiss

    The Naked Kiss

    ★★★½

    Banned in 1964, but given an uncut release for a 1990 home video release, with an 18 certificate.

  • Onibaba

    Onibaba

    ★★★½

    Banned for 1965 cinema release. Passed X, with cuts for 1968 cinema release. Passed 15 uncut for 1994 VHS.

    Read Review
  • Bloody Pit of Horror

    Bloody Pit of Horror

    Banned for 1967 cinema release and not released since.

  • Chelsea Girls

    Chelsea Girls

    Banned for 1967 cinema release and not released since.

  • Django

    Django

    The BBFC banned the 1969 cinema release. In 2014 they commented: "When the BBFC saw Django they were concerned by the excessive violence in the film & the moral tone. Django was refused a certificate unless heavy cuts were made to violence in the film. The distributor decided the film would be of little value to him if heavily cut & so withdrew it". The film was passed 18 without cuts for the 1993 Arthouse VHS. The film was passed 15 without cuts for the 2004 Argent DVD.

  • Trans-Europ-Express

    Trans-Europ-Express

    The film was first screened privately for Trevelyan by the distributor, Connoisseur, to gauge his personal opinion. He indicated that all references to and depictions of sexual sadism would have to be removed. When officially submitted to the BBFC the film was rejected, a ruling which this time was backed by the GLC and other councils (However there is no record of a formal ban in the BBFC database). The film was eventually granted an X certificate in 1977, having already been granted a certificate by the Bristol authority and screened successfully at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Passed 15 uncut in 2013.

  • The Wild Angels

    The Wild Angels

    Banned by the BBFC for 1966 cinema release. Cut by the BBFC for an X rated 1972 cinema release. Uncut and 18 rated for VHS. Uncut and 15 rated for DVD.

  • Bedtime

    Bedtime

    Banned for 1967 cinema release and not released since.

  • Depraved!

    Depraved!

    Banned for 1976 cinema release but resubmitted the same year and then passed X after cuts.

  • Hells Angels on Wheels

    Hells Angels on Wheels

    Banned by the BBFC for 1967 cinema release. Unbanned after cuts for 1977 X rated cinema release. Massively cut for 18 rated 1988 VHS, and slightly less cut for 2005 15 rated DVD.

  • The Incident

    The Incident

    Banned by the BBFC for 1968 cinema release. Passed 12 uncut for 2014 DVD.

  • The Trip

    The Trip

    Banned by the BBFC for 1967, 1971 and 1980 cinema releases and 1988 Rank VHS. Later passed 18 uncut for TV in 2002 and DVD in 2004.

  • Violated Angels

    Violated Angels

    Rejected in 1976 and still banned.

  • Andrea

    Andrea

    Banned for 1969 cinema release. Passed with cuts in 1970. Released on pre-cert video in 1981.

  • One Swedish Summer

    One Swedish Summer

    Banned for 1969 cinema release, passed for 1970 release after cuts.

  • The Ghastly Ones

    The Ghastly Ones

    Released on video by Scorpio in March 1983. Banned as a video nasty in August 1984. It stayed on the list throughout the panic and so became one of the collectable DPP39s. No UK release since ban.

  • Mantis in Lace

    Mantis in Lace

    Banned by the BBFC for UK 1972 cinema release. Passed 18 uncut for the UK 2012 Freemantle/Revelation Harry Novak Collection R2 DVD.

  • Without a Stitch

    Without a Stitch

    Banned by the BBFC for 1969 cinema release. Passed X after BBFC cuts for an X rated 1975 cinema release.

  • 99 Women

    99 Women

    Banned for the UK 1969 cinema release titled Ninety Nine Women.
    The 2007 Redemption video was cut by 1:00s for animal cruelty

  • Language of Love

    Language of Love

    The BBFC banned the 1970 cinema release. No cuts noted for the 1973 X rated cinema release. A short version was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for the 1988 Sheptonhurst video. The film was passed 18 uncut for the 2008 Revelation DVD.

  • Love Camp 7

    Love Camp 7

    One of the 39 prosecuted "Video Nasties" during the early 1980s. The film was entered for classification in 2002 and was rejected.

  • Night of the Bloody Apes

    Night of the Bloody Apes

    The film was released in cinemas with around a minute of BBFC cuts in October 1974. It was released uncut in January 1983 by Iver Film Services. By November 1983 it had been listed as a video nasty and suffered a successful prosecution. It remained on the list throughout the panic and so became one of the collectable DPP 39s. Passed 18 uncut with previous BBFC cuts waived and distributor cuts restored for the 2012 Nucleus DVD.

  • Top Sensation

    Top Sensation

    Banned by the BBFC for 1970 cinema release. passed 18 uncut for 2016 DVD.

  • The Save The Children Fund Film

    The Save The Children Fund Film

    In 1969, Ken Loach was commissioned by the Save the Children Fund charity to make an hour-long documentary promoting its work. Upon viewing the rough cut, the charity's executives refused to sanction the film's distribution or broadcast in the belief that it was a negative portrayal of their organisation. The dispute resulted in a court ruling to the effect that the film's master elements be preserved in the National Film and Television Archive, but that no access be allowed without Save the Children's Permission. Following negotiations between the British Film Institute and Save the Children, the first public screening of the film took place at London's National Film Theatre in August 2011.

  • Venus in Furs

    Venus in Furs

    The BBFC rejected the 1970 cinema release. Passed X after cuts for UK 1971 cinema release. Passed 18 after 2:32s of BBFC cuts for 1993 Redemption VHS. Passed 18 after 1:05s of BBFC cuts for UK 2007 Argent/Shameless DVD.

  • All Together Now

    All Together Now

    Banned for 1970 cinema released and not released since.

  • Bloody Mama

    Bloody Mama

    Banned by the BBFC for the 1970 cinema release but passed X (18) after cuts for the 1971 cinema release. Passed 18 after 11s cuts for the 1986 Rank VHS. Passed 18 uncut for the 2009 Optimum R2 DVD.

  • Daddy, Darling

    Daddy, Darling

    Banned for 1970 cinema release but passed uncut in 1973.

  • A Girl Called Jules

    A Girl Called Jules

    Banned by the BBFC for 1971 cinema release. Unbanned for 1975 cinema release and uncut on home video.

  • Love Variations

    Love Variations

    Banned by the BBFC in April 1970 for UK 1970 cinema release. Passed X uncut in November 1970 for UK 1971 cinema release

  • More About the Language of Love

    More About the Language of Love

    The BBFC banned the 1972 cinema release under the title More about Language of Love. The BBFC cut 2:55s under the title Language of Love 2 for the 1983 cinema release and 1987 video. Passed 18 uncut for the 2009 Revelation R2 DVD titled Swedish Erotica Collection 2.

  • The Other Side Of Madness

    The Other Side Of Madness

    Rejected in 1983 and remains banned.

  • Quiet Days in Clichy

    Quiet Days in Clichy

    Banned for 1970 cinema release. Passed 18 uncut for 2003 DVD.

  • Sexual Freedom in Denmark

    Sexual Freedom in Denmark

    The cinema release was banned by the BBFC in 1972. Still banned.

  • Trash

    Trash

    Banned because of its drugs theme. A censored version was later passed in 1972, which the distributor claimed was "cinematic history down the drain", but then ironically cut more material out of the film for the film's release, on the ground that the censored material was "either boring or possibly distasteful". Both BBFC and distributor cuts added to a total of 11 minutes. These cuts were mostly waived for future releases, and the film was finally released uncut in 2005.

  • A Bay of Blood

    A Bay of Blood

    ★★★★½

    The BBFC refused this a cinema certificate in 1972 titled A Bay of Blood. The uncut version was released on the Hokushin label in February 1983 titled Blood Bath . It was listed as a video nasty in March 1984. It stayed on the list throughout so became one of the collectable DPP39s. Re-released after 43s of BBFC cuts as Bay of Blood (Redemption, 1994). The BBFC waived their cuts for the 18 rated 2010 Arrow DVD/Blu-ray.

    Read Review
  • The Big Doll House

    The Big Doll House

    Banned by the BBFC for 1971 cinema release. Cut by the BBFC for 1987 VHS. Uncut for 2003 DVD.

  • The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh

    The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh

    ★★★★

    Banned by the BBFC for UK 1971 cinema release. Passed 18 uncut for UK 2011 Argent/Shameless R2 DVD.

  • Blindman

    Blindman

    Initially banned, but soon resubmitted and cut for an X rated 1972 cinema release.

  • A Clockwork Orange

    A Clockwork Orange

    Withdrawn two years after its release by Warner Bros. following a request from Stanley Kubrick. This was not because of the alleged copycat violence inspired by the film contemporaneously reported by the media, as commonly believed, but because Kubrick had received death threats against his family. It was not allowed to be shown again in the UK until after his death in 1999.

  • Cry Uncle!

    Cry Uncle!

    Banned for 1972 cinema release. Soon resubmitted and passed 'X' after cuts still for 1972 cinema release A pre-cut version was passed 18 after 1:10s of further BBFC cuts for 1987 Global Sales VHS titled American Oddballs.

  • The Devils

    The Devils

    Cut by Warners and the BBFC for cinema release. The BBFC X rating was overruled and banned by 17 local councils (including Surrey, Blackpool, Sevenoaks, Plymouth and Nottingham). The Director's Cut has been found but never released except for a BBFC cinema event. A pre-cut version was passed X cuts for 1971 cinema release. In Tunbridge Wells, the film was in the middle of its run when it was subject to pickets from local church bodies and, despite a petition signed by 2,500 people in support of the film, the decision was made to cease screenings.

  • Ginger

    Ginger

    Banned by the BBFC for 1971 cinema release. Passed 18 after 14:20s of BBFC cuts for 1983 cinema release. Not released on UK home video.

  • The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire

    The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire

    Banned by the BBFC for 1972 cinema release and not released since then.

  • The Lady Hermit

    The Lady Hermit

    Banned by the BBFC for the UK 1972 cinema release and not released since.

  • The Panic in Needle Park

    The Panic in Needle Park

    Banned by the BBFC for 1971 cinema release. Passed X uncut for 1974 cinema release. Passed 18 after 57s of BBFC cuts for 1987 Film & Video VHS. Passed 18 uncut with previous BBFC cuts waived for 2002 ILC Prime DVD.

  • Requiem for a Vampire

    Requiem for a Vampire

    The cinema release of 1972 was banned by the BBFC. Video cut by 6:55s when submitted in 1993 by Redemption Films.

  • Straw Dogs

    Straw Dogs

    ★★★★

    Originally rated X for the cinema with cuts in 1971. Two attempts of distributing the cut American version of the film were both rejected by the BBFC in 1999. The uncut version of the film was finally re-released in 2002.

  • The Telephone Book

    The Telephone Book

    Banned for 1971 cinema release and remains unreleased.

  • Wild Riders

    Wild Riders

    A cinema release was banned by the BBFC in 1971. The AVR Entertainment video was banned by the BBFC in 1987. The DVD was passed in 2003 with 32s of cuts but was never actually released.

  • Women in Cages

    Women in Cages

    Banned by the BBFC for 1972 cinema release. Passed 18 after 3:19s of cuts.

  • The Bloody Fists

    The Bloody Fists

    Banned by the BBFC for UK 1973 cinema release. Passed X after BBFC cuts for UK 1976 cinema release A short version was passed 18 after 57s of cuts for UK 1986 Sheptonhurst VHS titled The Bloody Fist. A re-edited version was passed 18 uncut with previous BBFC cuts waived for UK 2004 Firefly R2 DVD titled Dragon Showdown.

  • Bloody Friday

    Bloody Friday

    ★★★½

    Banned for 1973 cinema release and not released since.

    Read Review
  • Brute Corps

    Brute Corps

    Banned for 1972 cinema release and not released since.

  • Fever

    Fever

    Banned by the BBFC for 1975 cinema release, no release since.

  • Love Apprentices

    Love Apprentices

    Banned for 1974 cinema release.

  • Innocent Girls Abroad

    Innocent Girls Abroad

    Banned by the BBFC for 1975 cinema release but resubmitted and passed X with extensive cuts in 1976.

  • Man from Deep River

    Man from Deep River

    Rejected for a cinema release in 1975 as The Man from Deep River. Derann released the uncut version on video in November 1982. It was listed as a video nasty in March 1984 but it was dropped from the list in September 1985. Re-released in 2003 after 3:45s cuts for animal cruelty for an 18 certificate. Slightly fewer cuts for 2016 DVD & Blu-ray.

  • The Last House on the Left

    The Last House on the Left

    Rejected for a cinema release in 1974. The video was released by Replay in June 1982. It was an early casualty of the video nasty panic and got banned in July 1983. It stayed on the list throughout and so became one of the collectible DPP39s. A cinema release was banned again in 2000. However it achieved an cinema club circuit release in 2000. A subsequent video release was rejected in 2001. The video was again submitted in 2002 but this time the BBFC offered cuts. An appeal against the cuts proved unsuccessful and in fact resulted in additional cuts to those originally requested by the BBFC. The resulting Blue Underground video/DVD release of 2002 suffered 31s of censor cuts. Further 2003 video/DVD releases (including one titled Krug & Company) from Anchor Bay have been edited differently but maintained the previous BBFC 2002 cuts. Finally passed 18 uncut by the BBFC in 2008.

  • Last Tango in Paris

    Last Tango in Paris

    Cut by the BBFC for an X rated 1973 cinema release, although a few local authorities banned the film anyway. Later passed uncut for all releases since 1978.

  • Massage parlor '73

    Massage parlor '73

    Banned by the BBFC for UK 1973 cinema release. Not release since.

  • Oh! Calcutta!

    Oh! Calcutta!

    The 1972 cinema release was banned. The 1978 cinema release was passed uncut.

  • A Private Collection

    A Private Collection

    The pre-cut Theatrical Version was banned by the BBFC for 1977 cinema release although further cuts qualified it for an X rating later in the same year. The Theatrical Version censors real sex via masking by the narrator's carefully placed finger. The uncut Oberhausen Cut reveals what's behind the masking, but real bestiality has proved too much for modern day censors and so has been cut from recent 2014 release.

  • Tropic of Cancer

    Tropic of Cancer

    Banned by the BBFC for 1970 cinema release. Later the film was granted a London X certificate but hasn't been released since.

  • Virgin Witch

    Virgin Witch

    ★★★

    Banned by the BBFC for UK 1971 cinema release. Passed X by the GLC (Greater London Council) for London 1971 cinema release. Passed X (18) after BBFC cuts for UK 1972 cinema release. Released uncut for UK 1983 Intervision VHS. Passed 18 uncut by the BBFC for UK 1993 Redemption VHS.

    Read Review
  • What Have You Done to Solange?

    What Have You Done to Solange?

    ★★★★

    Banned by the BBFC for 1973 cinema release. Later passed 18 after cuts for 1996 VHS. Uncut for 2015 DVD and Blu-ray.

  • The Bamboo House of Dolls

    The Bamboo House of Dolls

    Banned for 1975 cinema release and not released since.

  • The Best of the New York Erotic Film Festival

    The Best of the New York Erotic Film Festival

    Cinema certificate rejected in April 1975. Resubmitted and cut for cinema in August 1975.

  • La Grande Bouffe

    La Grande Bouffe

    ★★★½

    Banned by the BBFC for 1973 cinema release but was allowed to be shown in London cinemas with a GLC X rating. The film was originally shown unlicensed in the UK at the Curzon Cinema in Mayfair, and led pro-censorship campaigner Mary Whitehouse to bring a prosecution against the film under the Vagrancy Act (accusing the cinema owners of keeping a disorderly house ). The case was thrown out and led censor James Ferman to extend the Obscene Publications Act to cover films, thus preventing movies with artistic merit from suffering prosecution. The film was eventually passed fully uncut for video in 1994.

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  • The Black Alley Cats

    The Black Alley Cats

    Banned for 1984 cinema release and still banned.

  • The Candy Snatchers

    The Candy Snatchers

    ★★★½

    Refused a certificate for 1973 cinema release and is still currently banned.

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  • The Cannibal Man

    The Cannibal Man

    Released by Intervision uncut in November 1981. It was banned as a video nasty in July 1983. It stayed on the list throughout the panic and became one of the collectable DPP39s. Re-released after 3s BBFC cuts in 1993 (Redemption).

  • Coffy

    Coffy

    Initially banned for 1973 cinema release. Resubmitted and then cut for 1974 cinema release. Passed 18 uncut in 1988.

  • The Demons

    The Demons

    The cinema release of 1972 was banned by the BBFC although it was granted a GLC X certificate for screening in London. The 1981 pre-cert Go Video is a short 79 minute English language version. The Director's Cut was passed 18 uncut for the 2008 Redemption DVD.

  • The Dirty Mind of Young Sally

    The Dirty Mind of Young Sally

    Banned by the BBFC for 1975 cinema release. A very short version was further cut by the BBFC for 1986 VHS.

  • Don't Look in the Basement

    Don't Look in the Basement

    The BBFC cut the 1977 cinema release. Derann released an even shorter version of the film on its Crystal video label in February 1983. It is thought that this may have been a TV version. It was listed as a video nasty in August 1984 but was dropped from the list in December 1985. The BBFC waived its film cut for the 2005 Stax DVD which it passed 15 uncut.

  • The Exorcist

    The Exorcist

    ★★★★★

    The theatrical version was passed, uncut, with an X rating, by the BBFC in 1974 and has never been banned. Warner decided not to submit the film for classification for a few years following the video nasty crisis (as they didn't want to take any chances due to high probability of an official ban). It was not until 1999 that the video was finally submitted and passed, uncut, with an 18 rating.

  • Flesh for Frankenstein

    Flesh for Frankenstein

    The BBFC cut the 1975 cinema version by about 8 minutes. Video Gems released an uncut VHS in September 1981. The BBFC cut the 1982 cinema re-release by 2:08s. VIPCO released the 1982 cut cinema version on video in November 1982. The video got added to the Video Nasties list in March 1984. It stayed on the list throughout the panic and so became one of the collectable DPP 39s. The BBFC cut 56s from the 1996 First Independent VHS. BBFC cuts were finally waived when resubmitted for a Tartan DVD in 2006.

  • Little Miss Innocence

    Little Miss Innocence

    Banned by the BBFC for 1976 cinema release, never released since.

  • Love Me Deadly

    Love Me Deadly

    Banned by the BBFC for UK 1973 cinema release titled Secrets of Death Room. Not released since ban.

  • Stranger from Canton

    Stranger from Canton

    Banned by the BBFC for UK 1976 cinema release. A shortened version was passed X (18) after further extensive BBFC cuts for UK 1976 cinema release. Passed 18 after 35s of BBFC cuts for UK 1987 VPD VHS.

  • Thriller: A Cruel Picture

    Thriller: A Cruel Picture

    Banned by the BBFC and Swedish film censors for 1973-4 cinema release. Passed X by the BBFC after heavy cuts for 1976 cinema release. Never submitted on video.