Films have been a form of entertainment for over 100 years, and in that time there have been many controversial movies. For some, making a film is like creating a piece of art, and that can mean pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable. That means films can find themselves pushing people’s buttons and proving to be too controversial for some. Occasionally filmmakers go a step too far, and some of their scenes are cut from their movies. The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is responsible for giving films their ratings, so they recommended what needs to be removed to make it happen. That can mean directors make a compromise to gain a certain rating, or they have a moment of clarity and realize a particular scene is just too much. These scenes were cut from the final film because they were deemed too offensive to be left in.
A real-life disaster in Bird Box
Netflix’s horror movie Bird Box was a huge success for the company in 2018. The movie centered around Sandra Bullock’s character and her family as they tried to get away from the mysterious monsters who turned people into savages if they looked at them. That meant the characters had to fumble their way around the world with their eyes covered to prevent them from being converted into monsters themselves.
In the film, the news coverage used actual footage of disasters to depict the world descending into chaos. This included train crashes, planes falling from the sky, etc. It wasn’t long before complaints came in about the fact the movie was using the tragic real-life events for the sake of entertainment. Eventually, the filmmakers replaced the scene, but not before causing outrage.
Questionable winning methods in Show Dogs
The comedy film ‘Show Dogs’ starred ‘Arrested Development’ actor Will Arnett, as a cop who gets partnered with a Rottweiler to infiltrate a dog show. The movie is aimed at children, so everything had to be child-friendly. When the Rottweiler, Max, is being inspected for entry into the dog show, he has his private parts checked, as all dogs do.
As if this wasn’t already slightly on the risky side, Max was told by Arnett’s character to go to his “zen place” while being examined. Fears were that a message that some children might take from this scene was that being touched to win a competition is okay. Once those concerns were raised, there was no way this scene was going to make it into the final cut of the movie.
American Psycho not going as far as the book
For some, the psychological thriller ‘American Psycho’ is a pretty violent film that pushes what is acceptable to the limits. While the film is filled with plenty of controversial moments, the scenes that didn’t make it into the movie are even worse. Patrick Bateman does a lot of horrendous things to both people and animals in American Psycho, but he steps things up a level in the original novel.
Luckily for audiences, the director didn’t even go near some of the more depraved scenes from the book. Bateman tortures one girl in particular, and then uses a chainsaw to cut her up. It’s a disturbing image and probably one that would have distracted from the compelling story the rest of the film tells.
The puppets making out, Team America: World Police
The creators of satirical animation ‘South Park’ wanted to turn their attentions to the world of Hollywood, in more ways than one. Instead of doing an animated movie, Matt Stone and Trey Parker settled on using puppets for the comedy ‘Team America: World Police.’ There were plenty of scenes that could be interpreted as offensive, but this is satire, so not everything should be taken literally.
Stone and Parker decided there should be at least one intimate scene in their movie, just like pretty much every other Hollywood hit has. They figured that because they were using puppets, there was nothing that could be considered too graphic. The love-making scene the directors settled on had to be reshot nine times before both they and the MPAA were happy.
Cooking a baby in ‘The Road’
It didn’t take long for Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 dystopian novel to get its own Hollywood movie. In 2009 fans of the book got to see it adapted onto the big screen, and the author was mostly happy with how the director, John Hillcoat, adapted it. McCarthy’s book had one scene that may have made it into the movie, but was eventually deemed too offensive to put in.
The film’s two main characters were due to come across a cannibal community that was cooking an infant. It’s not a pleasant image, and the director had to fight with McCarthy to lose the scene. Eventually, the author agreed, and complemented Hillcoat for seeing that the baby scene was unnecessary for the film to be a success.
Fears over joining the LGBTQ community in Back to the Future
Sci-fi adventure movie ‘Back to the Future’ is one of the most-loved franchises of the ‘80s. It stars Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, the time-traveling teenager who accidentally makes a mess when he finds himself in the past. The movie’s timeline was tricky to navigate, but director Rober Zemeckis managed to make everything make sense.
He also had the sense to get rid of a controversial scene in the making. Marty is having trouble with the concept of being his own mother’s love interest, and Doc seems to encourage him to “take a few liberties with her.” This is bad enough on its own, but then Marty worries that when he goes back to his own time that he might be a member of the LGBTQ community.
Getting intimate in Charlie Countryman
Shia LeBeouf may have become one of the biggest memes in Hollywood, but when he starred alongside Evan Rachel Wood in the 2013 drama ‘Charlie Countryman,’ his co-star was very complimentary. Wood had no issues with starring alongside the sometimes controversial star, but she did have some issues with a scene that was cut by the MPAA.
In the scene, LeBeouf’s character performs an intimate act on her, but it was thought the scene might make people feel “uncomfortable.” Wood took exception to this because she felt as though it was alright for the extreme violence to be left in, but not a woman experiencing pleasure. She felt the censoring of this scene was symptomatic of a society that wants to shame women for being able to enjoy intimate moments.
Batman using a human shield in Batman v Superman
Batman has always been something of an anti-hero as the vigilante tries to bring justice to the criminals of Gotham in his own way. One thing the caped crusader never does though, is to step over the line between what is right and wrong. In ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,’ there was a scene that would have had people questioning Batman’s morals if it stayed in the final cut.
In the scene, Batman takes a criminal and uses him as a human shield from bullet fire. While this would have protected Batman from the shots, putting someone else in harm’s way like that, even if they are a criminal, isn’t part of his mantra. While controversial, the scene was reportedly cut because it didn’t flow in the action sequence, rather than the ethical dilemma.
Too anatomically correct, Osmosis Jones
The live-action animated crossover movie ‘Osmosis Jones’ follows the titular character, who is a white blood cell, as he travels around his host body. Osmosis travels inside Bill Murray in animated form along with some cold medication as they try and help him recover from his virus. There are lots of pretty gruesome things inside the human body, and there was one scene that went further than the audience might have expected.
The movie was not a critical success, and things may have been worse if this scene had been left in. Osmosis heads to his host’s intimate netherregions, and it was cut from the final product because it was deemed too offensive. Considering there would be young children present, this was removed because we didn’t need to go that far.
Me Before You left out Lou’s past
Emilia Clarke is known to millions of people around the world for her role in the fantasy TV series Game of Thrones, and was a big star in rom-com ‘Me Before You.’ The movie’s story was taken from the book with the same name, and the author, Jojo Moyes, also adapted it for the big screen. In the book, Clarke’s character, Lou, suffers abuse when she is in high school, which is used to explain some of the reasons why she acts in certain ways.
The film omitted this scene from the final cut, even though Moyes admits she spent six months writing it in. Ultimately, both Moyes and the director felt as though it didn’t send out the right message, and they cut it. Moyes added that it changed the mood of the story.
Cutting an offender out of The Predator
Hollywood does seem to love reusing an old story that was popular in the past to try and sell it to new audiences. When the sci-fi action ‘The Predator’ came out in 2018, little did the cast know there was a predator among them. Olivia Munn starred in the movie, but she became outraged when she learned about the history of one of her co-stars.
Munn reportedly filed a complaint with 20th Century Fox after shooting a scene with Steven Wilder Striegel, who was allegedly a registered offender. The actress wasn’t happy about being cast in a scene with Striegel, and it was eventually cut from the film. The director, Shane Black, reportedly apologized, claiming he didn’t know that Striegel had been convicted for allegedly trying to meet a 14-year-old girl on the internet.
Showing guts in the Scream opening sequence
The moment the opening sequence in the ‘90s horror ‘Scream’ had finished, it became an instant classic. It featured Drew Barrymore’s character home alone and stalked by someone over the phone. Things escalate when her boyfriend is uncovered, tied up on the patio with multiple stab wounds. This scene remains pretty gruesome, and it’s not easy viewing, but originally it was going to be a much worse experience.
The director, Wes Craven, had intended for this scene to show the boyfriend with his guts hanging out, but he had to compromise to get an R-rating. Craven had tried to keep the scene in for as long as possible, but when he learned it was holding it back from being rated R, he relented.
Getting too stabby, also Scream
The guts were not the only thing that Wes Craven had to cut from his gory horror movie. In the final act of the film we learn who the person behind the ghost-faced mask was, and the twist is that it was two people. To make sure their plan is complete, the two guys need to inflict each other with convincing injuries, to make it seem like they, too, were victims.
Craven wanted his characters to completely lose control in this scene as they inflicted each other with knife wounds. They were to repeatedly drive the knife into each other to establish their alibi. Craven didn’t get to keep the scene as he had pictured it, and instead, had to tame it down to gain the MPAA’s approval.
Horrible Bosses 2, assault scene
When Jennifer Aniston appeared in the comedy movie ‘Horrible Bosses,’ she was praised for going along with some of the intimate scenes written for her character. That character seemed to ratchet things up a level in the sequel, ‘Horrible Bosses 2,’ where she once again resumes her infatuation with Dale. Unfortunately, things went too far when Aniston’s character decides to try and have a romantic encounter with Dale, despite the fact he is in a coma.
There was no way for Dale to give his consent to this situation, and the scene was not received well. Aniston admitted that the scene was cut from the movie during an interview with Conan. She said that it clearly wasn’t a consensual situation and reportedly even became flustered just talking about it.
Ma telling Jack she had a baby before him in Room
There wasn’t much in the way of light-hearted fun in the drama ‘Room.’ It focuses on the lives of Ma and Jack, who have been held in captivity for years. The film’s screenplay was written by the same person who wrote the original novel in 2010, Emma Donoghue. The author wrote in the scene where Ma tells Jack that she had a daughter before him, but she lost her because she didn’t have any medical care.
Donoghue tried to get the scene into the movie, but it had to be removed because the confession was just too jarring for audiences. The author didn’t want to cut it, but she does admit now that the film has been released that it is better without it in.
Looking for something in return – Toy Story 2
Disney and Pixar teamed up to create one of the most-loved stories in the history of film. The Toy Story franchise has grown from strength to strength, ending with a fourth installment in 2019. In ‘Toy Story 2’ there is a post-credit scene that didn’t make it into the final cut of the film. The credits in the franchise were filled with little clips of the actors fluffing their lines, but one blooper had to be removed because it was inappropriate.
Kelsey Grammar portrayed Stinky Pete, and in the credit scene, he was due to make an inappropriate joke with two dolls in his box. It was inferred that Pete would give them a role in ‘Toy Story 3’ if they gave him something in return. Considering the context of this comment, it wasn’t deemed appropriate at all and was removed.
Murphy’s demise in Robocop
Considering how violent the original ‘Robocop’ movie was, it’s a surprise to learn that some scenes had to be cut because they were too graphic. Before Murphy can be revived and turned into Robocop in the sci-fi action movie, he has to be shot by a violent gang of criminals.
The scenes that were left in the movie are enough to make your toes curl in horror, but what ended up on the cutting room floor was reportedly even worse. He is shot excessively by the criminals in a sequence that lasts just a few seconds. The scenes that were cut go into even more gory details about the injuries Murphy sustained and had to be cut to make the film R-rated.
Paper Towns disassociated itself from SeaWorld
Sometimes it’s all about the timing of a story when it comes to controversial and offensive scenes. When the young adult novel ‘Paper Towns’ was released, the author had no idea that including SeaWorld in their story could be a problem. Between the book being released and a film adaptation being announced, SeaWorld’s alleged bad practices in keeping their animals had been exposed.
This was thanks to the documentary ‘Blackfish,’ which showed how orca whales in particular were suffering by being held in captivity. The problem for ‘Paper Towns’ was that Cara Delevigne’s character was meant to break into SeaWorld in the story. The writers were concerned it wouldn’t be seen in the right way, so changed the theme park venue to Orlando’s SunTrust instead.
Going too far in Deadpool
Typically, comic book movies had been pretty clean cut and appealed to both kids and adults. Then ‘Deadpool’ came along, which prove there was a market for R-rated comic book movies. The movie is not only filled with swearing, but it also has plenty of gory scenes that take the violence we typically see in comic book movies to the next level.
While it might have felt as though ‘anything goes’ in ‘Deadpool,’ the director, Tim Miller, had to be the voice of reason. Ryan Reynolds and his co-star TJ Miller got together and wrote their own version of the bar scene that made it into the movie. Miller felt as though the two actors had gone “too far,” and he cut the scene because he predicted lots of people would be offended by it.
Fantasia’s racist characters
While Disney has long been a movie studio that has tried to appeal to children, it has also been thought of as a studio with a sketchy past. One such reason is the depiction of two characters in the musical animation ‘Fantasia.’ In one segment that features a host of mythical creatures, two characters, named Sunflower and Otika, appear to be discriminatory stereotypes of black people.
Sunflower and Otika are centaurs, but they are dark-skinned, while the rest of the centaurs are white. What makes things worse is the fact the Sunflower appears to be acting as a servant to the white centaurs. This was a pretty bad oversight by Disney, and since 1969, the company has made sure that scene is cut from any release of ‘Fantasia.’
Hijacking a plane in Lilo and Stitch
We imagine there were plenty of movies that were edited to be more respectful of the victims of 9/11 following those tragic events in 2001. You might not have expected it, but animation ‘Lilo and Stitch’ also had to cut a scene out of respect. Lilo needed rescuing, so Stitch and friends hijacked a plane to make it happen. What made this scene worse was the fact that it caused several crashes through buildings, which was too close to the mark.
Instead, the scenes were altered so that it was a spaceship instead of a plane, and in a mountain setting rather than a city. This could have brought back terrible memories for people while watching, so it was understandably removed as a sign of respect.
Coming of age in the sewers – It
One of the biggest horror movie triumphs from the past few years was Steven King’s ‘It.’ The movie reminded us why so many people are terrified of clowns, as the sewer-dwelling monster had us on the edge of our seats throughout the film. This film might not have been such a success if the original plans for it ended up in the final cut. The book portrays a scene between the young characters where they become intimate with each other to lose their innocence.
Original director Cary Fukanaga, of ‘True Detective’ fame, reportedly wanted these child characters to act it out in some form. Naturally, this didn’t go down well, and wiser heads prevailed to prevent scenes depicted in the book to come to the screen.
Pennywise eating a baby, ‘It’ again
When it comes to horror movies, audiences are often expecting to be shocked or grossed out a little. When it came to remaking Steven King’s ‘It’ however, there was one scene that was considered to be too much. In the book, the scary clown is still trying to figure out which form it wants to take all the way back in the 1600s. Pennywise is still trying to figure out the best way for it to feed, and it tortures a mother and her child.
The scene didn’t actually depict Pennywise eating the infant child, but rather it cut away as we hear a crunch. Thankfully the movie didn’t need that scene to make it horrifying, and ‘It’ became one of the most successful horror movies ever at the box office.
Gory attack in Divergent
Considering the action adventure ‘Divergent’ movie franchise came for the teen fiction series of books, you wouldn’t expect it to be super violent. On the whole, the film met the standards expected for the age of the target audience, but there was one scene that could have pushed things too far. In the books, Edward gets stabbed in the eye with a knife, and the director considered keeping this in the film.
There was a version of this gruesome act filmed for the movie, but the film studio and director both decided it didn’t need to appear in ‘Divergent.’ Fans of the book may have been expecting to see the scene, but the director felt as though it didn’t add anything to the flow of the movie.
Hannah’s bathtub scene in 13 Reasons Why
Subscription services like Netflix have completely changed the way we watch movies and TV shows thanks to its big-budget productions. One of its biggest hits was the teen series ‘13 Reasons Why,’ despite the level of controversy the series created. On the one hand, it was praised for opening up conversations about mental health, but on the other, it was accused of glorifying the act of taking your own life.
In one of the final scenes of the first series, Hannah is seen taking her own life in a bathtub. The scene is incredibly graphic and doesn’t make for easy watching. Two years after this scene was first aired, Netflix chose to cut it from the series, instead cutting to Hannah’s parents after they find her.
Stepping over the line – Kick Ass 2
Deadpool isn’t the only comic book character to bring ultra violence to the genre and be loved for it. ‘Kick Ass 2’ is the action sequel that brought as much violence to our screens as possible. Even one of the stars of the movie, Jim Carrey, moved to distance himself from the final product after the Sandy Hook disaster.
The villain of the movie, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, takes things too far in trying to anger Kick Ass, but going after his girlfriends. Mintz-Plasse’s character orders his henchmen to not only attack Kick Ass’s girlfriend but to assault her in an inappropriate way. The writer/director of the film felt this scene went too far, was unnecessary and cut it from his movie, despite it happening in the original comic book.
Coulson’s brutal end in The Avengers
There is plenty of violence and fighting in ‘The Avengers’ comic book franchise, but when setting up the franchise, a rating of PG-13 was deemed necessary. Marvel needed to reach as many fans as possible, so it was important to make sure a young audience would buy into the franchise. That would help to sell merchandise as well as fill out theaters for each movie.
When Agent Coulson was attacked by Loki in ‘The Avengers,’ his first attempt was deemed to graphic for such a young audience. Loki stabbed Coulson not only in the back, but through it. The scene was similar to the chest-bursting scene in ‘Alien.’ That had to be cut, and a much more audience-friendly version was shot to make sure the film remained accessible to the masses.
Exotic dancers in Super Mario Bros.
If all the 1993 video game adaptation ‘Super Mario Bros.’ had to worry about was a deleted scene, it may have been considered a classic. Unfortunately for those involved in the making of this movie, the deleted scene was the least of their worries. Hollywood studios aren’t shy in trying to cash in on the latest craze, and in the early 1990s, people were going wild for the Super Mario Brothers video games.
Then 1993’s movie adaptation came along, and people were confused. Instead of a playful story with fun colors and innocent characters, Mario and Luigi had become involved in a life of crime. The film should have been intended for kids, so the idea that Mario and Luigi paid a visit to an establishment with exotic dancers called the Boom Boom Club had to be cut.
Taming parties in Zootopia
When animated adventure ‘Zootopia’ was released in 2016, it became an instant Disney classic. It had one of the biggest opening weekends for any Disney animation, and it was praised by critics for its subtle approach to diversity and acceptance in the world. In the movie, we see that prey and predators can live in harmony, but it seems to suppress the instincts of the predators an unacceptable methods.
The predators were to be subjected to wearing shock collars while attending ‘taming parties.’ Director Byron Howard said this concept stuck around for a long time in the film because it was “emotionally compelling.” Ultimately though, Disney felt as though the shock collars sent a bad message to the audience, so it was cut. Considering the target audience was largely children, it’s probably for the best that the scene was cut.
Scenes in The Black Cauldron not suitable for Disney
When it comes to animated movies, Disney tends to stick to playing it safe and not trying to traumatize their audience. This is because the majority of people watching Disney films are children, or possibly parents after their kids have fallen asleep after watching Frozen for the 200th time. The 1985 Disney animation, ‘The Black Cauldron,’ took a dark turn and is considered one of the scariest films the studio has ever created.
It was so far from what Disney was known for that it almost bankrupt the company as it didn’t do well commercially. One scene that had to be removed from the film to make it appropriate for younger audiences involved a zombie army. These zombies attack two henchmen, melting their skin away until nothing is left but their bones.
Cutting a smile, Joker
While it might not be your typical comic book story, 2019’s dark drama ‘Joker’ has proven to be a huge hit with fans. It’s set in the world of Batman, although this story is about his arch-nemesis, the Joker. The film is dark, and at certain times, has been criticized for being a bit too bleak for audiences.
There is violence in this movie, but one scene that was considered to be too much was the moment the Joker takes a piece of glass to his mouth. In Batman, the Joker has scars on his face that look like a smile, and Arthur Fleck was going to carve this into his cheeks. The action was thought to be too graphic and it was removed from the movie, replaced by Fleck smearing blood on his face instead.
Arthur Fleck’s troubled past in Joker
Considering ‘Joker’ was something of an origins story, we didn’t get to learn all of the details of Arthur Fleck’s past. Perhaps that’s for the best as he had a troubled upbringing that was thought to be too much to show to audiences. Fleck’s father was abusive toward him, and any scenes of Fleck being beaten as a kid were removed from the final cut.
Another scene that was pulled from ‘Joker’ was when Fleck went around pharmacies committing armed robberies to take their medication after losing his job. These were also thought to be too violent for the final cut of the movie and remain unseen. At one stage, it was rumored that the director, Todd Phillips, was considering removing all guns from the movie to replace them with knives to tone down the violence.
Going back in time – Deadpool 2
Considering the the ‘Deadpool’ movie franchise isn’t afraid of trying to push people’s buttons, it’s little surprise the sequel had some controversy. ‘Deadpool 2’ upped the level of violence in the comic book movie franchise, though once again, there were some moments that remained on the cutting room floor. Movie fans love to wait around for the post-credit scenes, and one of the original ideas for ‘Deadpool 2’ had to be canned.
Deadpool was going to travel back in time to when a certain notorious Austrian military leader was just a baby. The hero was penned to travel back in time throughout the post-credit scene, taking out all of the people he had fantasized about throughout history. This scene was included in a test screening, but the audience didn’t react well, and it was cut from the final film.
Cinema shooting, Gangster Squad
The artistic integrity of a film is important, but sometimes the timing for certain things in movies is just wrong. When Ruben Fleischer’s ‘Gangster Squad’ was due to hit movie theaters in 2013, the crime thriller needed a quick edit. The crime thriller featured a scene where moviegoers are gunned down with machine guns in a movie theater.
That is a controversial enough scene on its own, but this happened after the Aurora shooting, where moviegoers in real life were gunned down. This tragic event led to the director changing the movie to reshoot the sequence and change it. The director felt it was important to make the change out of respect for the victims and their families. Fleischer also didn’t feel as though the change compromised the vision for the film.
Ocean’s Eleven feeling insensitive after 9/11
All things considered, there isn’t really all that much about the crime adventure ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ that could cause controversy. However, in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States of America, filmmakers were reviewing their content with eagle eyes. They didn’t want to put anything out there that could cause offense to the people affected by the tragedies around the country.
None of the scenes in ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ were that similar to the terror attack, but the filmmakers still wanted to be sensitive. The scene that had to be changed was one where the characters watched a casino burn down. Originally it was going to be the New York, New York Hotel, but it bothered them to watch the famous New York skyline burn down.