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The 50 most controversial movies of all time

The Devils (1971)

The Movie: Ken Russell's drama about witchcraft in 17th century France appalled censors with its mix of horror and religious satire and was heavily cut. The full version is occasionally shown in cinemas, but Warner Brothers has vetoed the inclusion of the restored footage on the forthcoming DVD release.

Most Controversial Moment: The Rape of Christ sequence in which nuns led by Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave) sexually assault a statute of Jesus.

The Evil Dead (1981)

The Movie: Sam Raimi's darkly comic tale of demonic possession became one of the most high-profile whipping boys on the 1980s list of banned 'video nasties,' and not released uncut in the UK until 2001.

Most Controversial Moment: Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) is pursued by the Sumerian spirits into the wood, where they possess a tree and rape her.

The Passion Of The Christ (2004)

The Movie: Mel Gibson's ultra-violent take on the Crucifixion was praised by religious die-hards, but drew flak from others for perceived anti-Semitism.

Most Controversial Moment: Roman Pontius Pilate is on the verge of letting Jesus Christ (Jim Caviezel) go, until Jewish priests led by Caiaphas lobby for Crucifixion.

Psycho (1960)

The Movie: Alfred Hitchcock ordered that nobody be refused entry after the start, in order to preserve his thriller's shocking twist. But never mind the shower scene – the real scandal had happened minutes before.

Most Controversial Moment: Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) flushes incriminating evidence down the loo – the first on-screen use of a toilet in a mainstream Hollywood film.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

The Movie: Quentin Tarantino's debut sparked a tabloid witchhunt on release for its amoral characters and realistic violence. It was banned on home video in the UK until 1995 as part of the panic over what children could watch in the wake of the Jamie Bulger case.

Most Controversial Moment: The ear-slicing, even though we never actually see it; Tarantino pans away to look at the warehouse wall while it's happening.

The Last House On The Left (1972)

The Movie: Wes Craven's remake of Bergman's The Virgin Spring swapped art-house austerity for squalid realism. It took until 2008 for the BBFC to release it uncut, the year before its mainstream Hollywood remake.

Most Controversial Moment: The prolonged rape/torture sequence, still a yardstick for gruelling on-screen sadism.

Crash (1996)

The Movie: "Ban this sick filth!" cried the Daily Mail, and Westminster Council duly obliged. Everybody else, though, was free to see David Cronenberg's icily comic tale of car-crash fetishists.

Most Controversial Moment: Gabrielle (Rosanna Arquette) invites James Ballard (James Spader) to give her a good seeing-to via a wound in her thigh.

Natural Born Killers (1994)

The Movie: Blamed for copycat killings, cut in America, banned in Ireland, the VHS release delayed in Britain until 2001 in the wake of the Dunblane massacre... and don't even get Quentin Tarantino started on Oliver Stone's hyperreal adaptation of his killing spree comedy-thriller.

Most Controversial Moment: Warden McCluskey (Tommy Lee Jones) is pulled apart by rioting prisoners. In the uncut version, his decapitated head is held aloft on a spike.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The Movie: The BBFC couldn't handle Tobe Hooper's gruelling horror, but since the on-screen gore was minimal, they couldn't cut it. So instead they banned it... until Camden Council stuck two fingers up by granting it a local license in 1998.

Most Controversial Moment: The dinner sequence, in which a perma-screaming Sally (Marilyn Chambers) is terrorised by a grotesque parody of the American family.

Faces Of Death (1978)

The Movie: A compendium of death scenes. Some were faked, but enough was culled from newsreel footage to get this, as the film's own publicity put it, "banned in 40+ countries."

Most Controversial Moment: Any of the real scenes. Show some sensitivity.