'And cut!' Movies that have been banned or censored

'West Side Story' banned in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait reportedly due to LGBTQ character

Stars Insider

07/12/21 | StarsInsider

MOVIES Controversy

Many of what might seem like the world's favorite films haven't been screened, either entirely or at all,  in various parts of the world. Numerous films have been subject to widespread censorship due to their content—some are predictable due to high levels of violence or other controversial content, but others are quite surprising.

Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated new film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical 'West Side Story' is already banned in at least two countries, who will reportedly not screen the remake due to it featuring a transgender character played by nonbinary actor Iris Menas. According to The Wrap, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have not granted the live-action film a release certificate, the former of which was supposed to have a premiere date on December 9. It is not uncommon for Saudi Arabia to censor and ban films on the basis of LGBTQ+ inclusion, similar to the way they blocked the release of Marvel’s 'Eternals,' which features a gay superhero.

Not only will the film be banned in some countries, but censors in other Middle Eastern nations—Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates—have also reportedly requested cuts to the film, though Walt Disney and 20th Century Studios have decided not to oblige. 

For more examples like this one, click through the following gallery to see some of the more obscure and unusual reasons for cuts and bans.


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