40 Disturbing Movie Scenes

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

The Scene: Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen) cuts off the ear of hapless cop Marvin.

Look Away When: Tarantino finally shows us the bloody, earless side of Marvin's face.

BBFC Reaction: Censor-in-chief James Ferman thought the film couldn't be cut, but delayed the video release until 1995 anyway, as a by-product of media outrage about imitiable screen violence after the James Bulger killing.

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

The Scene: Drug addict Marion (Jennifer Connelly) is pimped out to a sex party.

Look Away When: She and another prostitute have to have anal sex using a double-ended dildo, while a baying crowd looks on.

BBFC Reaction: Uncut, but in America Darren Aronofsky has to release the film unrated, largely because of this scene.

Taxi Driver (1976)

The Scene: The ending, as Travis Bickle goes on a kill crazy rampage to rescue child prostite Iris (Jodie Foster).

Look Away When: Travis sticks a knife into the hand of a pimp.

BBFC Reaction: Uncut, but Scorsese had already been ordered by U.S. censors to desaturate the colours to lose the impact of the blood (an effect that, arguably, makes the scene seedier and more chilling.)

Last House on the Left (1972)

The Scene: Phyllis (Lucy Grantham) tries to escape a gang of rapists but is caught.

Look Away When: She is stabbed so often the gang can put their hands into her body.

BBFC Reaction: Banned in the Seventies, released briefly on video and then banned again during the Eighties, and finally passed uncut in 2008.

Psycho (1960)

The Scene: A slasher attacks Marion Bates (Janet Leigh) when she decides to take a shower in the Bates Motel.

Look Away When: The camera zones in on Marion's lifeless, unseeing eyeballs.

BBFC Reaction: "Passed with cuts," says the BBFC website, although the precise details of what went aren't recorded. What is known is that, in America, Hitchcock called the MPAA's bluff by resubmitting exactly the same film after the censors demanded tweaks.

Irreversible (2002)

The Scene: Pierre (Albert Dupontel) instigates a revenge attack with a fire extinguisher on the man he thinks raped his friend Alex.

Look Away When: Bits of skull start to break off.

BBFC Reaction: Passed uncut, primarily because Gaspar Noe used such long takes that it's virtually impossible to cut. Cinemas hung up warnings instead.

Grotesque (2009)

The Scene: A couple are abducted and wake up in a madman's basement to be tortured.

Look Away When: ..ever the torturer enters the room.

BBFC Reaction: Banned outright, according to BBFC Director David Cooke, because its "unrelenting and escalating scenario of humiliation, brutality and sadism" could not be mitigated by cuts.

Alien (1979)

The Scene: Dinnertime aboard the spaceship Nostromo, when Kane (aptly named John Hurt) starts complaining of stomach pain.

Look Away When: The arrival of a 'chestburster' alien showers the crew in blood.

BBFC Reaction: Nada. In space, no-one can hear you snip.

Gummo (1997)

The Scene: Teenage delinquent Solomon (Jacob Reynolds) drowns a cat in a barrel of water.

Look Away When: The cat thrashes in the barrel

BBFC Reaction: Pre-cut in the States to get an R rating. The Brits had nothing further to remove.

Inside (2007)

The Scene: Pregnant Sarah is home invaded by a crazy woman (Beatrice Dalle), hell-bent on seizing her baby.

Look Away When: The attacker carries out an impromptu Caesarian section on Sarah.

BBFC Reaction: No cuts, ironically.