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50 Most Controversial Movie Posters Of All Time

The Outlaw (1943)

The Poster: Already a Hollywood scandal, its release delayed two years, the promotional poster for Howard Hughes' Western maximised star Jane Russell's curvaceous allure.

The Controversy: Hughes deliberately caused an outcry so he could get the movie into theatres. It lasted a week before it was pulled for violations to the Hays Code (although it was widely released three years later).

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

The Poster: The notorious Santa slasher achieved high impact with its infamous shot of an axe-wielding Father Christmas headed down the chimney.

The Controversy: Huge protests outside cinemas showing the film led to distributor TriStar pulling all of the film's advertising.

Zack And Miri Make A Porno (2008)

The Poster: "They're both fully clothed," Kevin Smith reckoned, but take a look at what's going on at the bottom of this image. No wonder Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) look so pleased.

The Controversy: Rejected by the MPAA for sexual content. “When you’ve got the word ‘porno’ in the title, naturally, the marketing materials are gonna be scrutinized more closely," Smith noted wryly.

Les Infidles (2012)

The Poster: Newly minted global sensation Jean Dujardin goes back to the day job as France's premier comedian with a saucy campaign for his latest film, sort of a Gallic version of Men Behaving Badly .

The Controversy: Prudish Parisians have been shocked at children seeing "sex education on the street," and the posters were pulled.

Moscow On The Hudson (1984)

The Poster: A cartoon image that symbolises the journey of Vladimir Ivanoff's (Robin Williams) journey from Russia to New York.

The Controversy: New Yorker cartoonist Saul Steinberg took the producers to court for ripping off his famous 'View of the World from Ninth Avenue' cover, and the judge ruled in his favour.

Saw 2 (2005)

The Poster: The first of many darkly comic campaigns to use a numbering system based on body parts, specifically here a couple of severed fingers.

The Controversy: The MPAA closed the stable door after the horse had bolted, by banning the ad when it was already in the public domain. Cheekily, distributor Lionsgate had issued the teaser online before sending image for classification.

Shame (2011)

The Poster: Where most countries tactfully showed bedsheets to reflect the sex addiction subject matter, this Hungarian ad spelled out the title in semen.

The Controversy: What do you think? The ad got banned outright, even though the kind of people likely to be shocked would probably think it was toothpaste, anyway.

I Spit On Your Grave (2010)

The Poster: The ad campaign for the remake of the notorious rape-revenge horror deliberately aped the original's poster, but with overt sexualisation of actress Sarah Butler's battered body.

The Controversy: Plenty of bloggers took the image to task for "the reprehensible sexualisation of rape," although it was never officially censored.

Couples Retreat (2009)

The Poster: The cast of the holiday sex-com stand in shallow water, but isn't one of the couples missing?

The Controversy: The film (and the American poster) clearly depicts four couples, one of whom is black. The UK campaign whitewashed things by showing only three couples, allegedly to simplify an apparently cluttered image. But after a huge public outcry, Universal ditched the revised ad.

Captivity (2007)

The Poster: Jennifer Tree (Elisha Cuthbert) is shown in various stages of "Abduction," "Confinement," "Torture" and "Termination" - a how-to guide for psychos everywhere.

The Controversy: Banned by the MPAA, the ads were displayed as billboards regardless, leading to widespread condemnation from Joss Whedon and others for their cynical, graphic content.