Couch Potato Pickings – Straw Dogs

On Channel 4 tonight at 11.05pm

This controversial film from 1971 was famously banned by the BBFC for two decades because of its graphic portrayal of violence and two brutal rapes. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George, it’s the story of an American academic and his English wife who find their farmhouse under siege when they shelter a mentally-handicapped man who has murdered a teenage girl. Click here to find out more.

Dustin Hoffman

The BBFC finally passed the film in 1995, but continued to ban it from being released on video/DVD until 2002.

Dustin Hoffman

Off the top of my head here are a few other films that are (or once were) considered controversial:

A Clockwork Orange

Shortly after its release, director Stanley Kubrick withdrew this film from circulation. Click here to find out why.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

This film was considered gratuitously violent in its day. Many still consider it to be the scariest movie of all time. Personally I find it quite boring.

Last Tango in Paris

This caused a storm for its depictions of sexuality. Read about the controversy here.

The Last Temptation of Christ

Because it contains many ideas not present in the Bible, this 1988 movie (showing on Sky Modern Greats on Thursday) became the subject of much angry theological debate before the film had even finished production. Click here to read an article that covered its release at the time.

Natural Born Killers

This film was accused of encouraging and inspiring several murderers. Click here for more detail about that.


At the time of its release people were divided over whether this film was exploitative or or a wake-up call to parents.


This shocking 1932 film was banned in Britain for almost 30 years. Read more about it here.

I’m sure there are many more famously controversial movies out there but I have a cold today so my memory is struggling. Please let me know if you think of any more.