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Overshadowed By Controversy / Live-Action Films

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  • Sony Pictures has become infamous for entering a Dork Age of producing very controversial films from 2014 onward, largely due to having the notorious Tom Rothman as one of the major studio heads, said films' off-putting premises and sparking flame wars online:
    • The Interview had already attracted controversy for playing an assassination attempt on a real-life dictator for laughs, especially after said dictator's country threatened action against the United States if Sony released the movie, but after a fired employee hired anonymous hackers to leak massive amounts of sensitive information relating to Sony Pictures and issued fake terrorist threats for any theater that dared to screen the film, Sony announced they would pull the film from theaters... only to release it in a smaller scale (limited cinemas, wide digital) a week later. Between the cancellation and the eventual theatrical release, a very large debate over the limits of free speech was waged with respect to the film and a series of multiple flops and controversies made afterward, initiating the studio's downward spiral.
    • Aloha is a Box Office Bomb that is little remembered except for the outcry over casting Emma Stone (who is white) as the half-white, quarter-Chinese, quarter-Hawaiian "Allison Ng".
    • It's impossible to have any discussion of the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot without addressing the criticism, both legitimate and sexist, towards it (to the point that a whole section is dedicated to the controversy on the film's Wikipedia article and the film's Trivia and YMMV pages were locked on This Very Wiki for a long time). After a poorly-cut and boring trailer (notably, the European market version was better cut) was released and garnered significant criticism, director Paul Feig, the cast and Sony lashed out: Sony allegedly deleted legitimate criticisms, as well as criticisms from women, in the comment section for the trailer on YouTube and left the misogynistic comments, while Feig wrote an open letter that gave some the impression that he was calling all Ghostbusters reboot detractors misogynists, which he denied was his intent. All of this then caused fans to join in and be opposed to a remake, not because of quality, but because of the alleged hostile reaction to negative comments on the film. However, owing to the replacement of the original's all-male main cast with an all-female one (a proposed sequel would have had an all-male crew, however), by far the nastiest criticism the film attracted was from genuine misogynists and the alt-right, particularly towards Leslie Jones. All this likely played a part in the film becoming a Box Office Bomb with largely mixed-to-positive critical reception and a massive Broken Base, due to the controversy and lackluster marketing causing casual moviegoers to be turned off from seeing the film. The fact that Sony released more poorly-received films afterward certainly hasn't helped their poor reputation.
    • Passengers is a sci-fi romance film that attracted a considerable negative critical buzz before it was even out thanks to a creepy premise and a deceptive ad campaign that masked said premise. The trailers would have you believe that it's the story of a man and a woman who are accidentally awakened from a suspended animation spacecraft too early and fall in love in the depths of space. In the actual film, only the man's awakening is accidental, and he then deliberately wakes the woman to avoid going insane from loneliness, lies to her that her awakening was also accidental, and then seduces her. Reviewers overwhelmingly agreed that this premise, described by some as "an ad for Stockholm Syndrome," drags down every other aspect of the film, even the numerous good ones and that it even squanders a perfectly interesting What You Are in the Dark moral dilemma by insisting on playing the romance angle straight. Critics were so disgusted by this premise that they went so far as to spoil the film's plot and urged viewers not to see the film, resulting in the film becoming a Box Office Bomb and producer Neal H. Moritz jumping ship to Paramount Pictures the following year (his feuds with Rothman also contributed to this), taking the film rights to Sonic the Hedgehog with him in the process.
    • All the Money in the World had the misfortune of being the film Kevin Spacey had just finished shooting when his sexual misconduct scandal broke, and as a result, director Ridley Scott immediately demanded that all of Spacey's scenes were to be reshot with his preferred choice of Christopher Plummer. Plummer, in turn, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor just two months after he wrapped the re-shoots. Regardless of what one thinks of the final film, this controversy looms heavily over every review of the film. Not helping matters was another controversy erupting after its release after an outrageous pay gap between co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams was revealed.
    • Peter Rabbit was already controversial for turning away people who would have wanted to see it due to its unfaithful In Name Only treatment of its beloved source material and for being released under the Sony Pictures Animation label after The Emoji Movie's critical bashing (particularly after the Paddington films proved that relying on pop-culture references and low-brow humor isn't needed to make a CGI-live action adaptation of a beloved children's book series successful), but it became particularly infamous for a particularly cruel food allergy joke that was met by backlash from Moral Guardians, particularly those with children having food allergies, who accused the filmmakers of glorifying food allergy bullying. This got to the point that Sony and the filmmakers had to issue an apology.
    • Compared to all of the above, Khali the Killer hasn't attracted much controversy. That said, most people likely wouldn't have even heard of the film if not for a random intern who inadvertently posted the entire film on YouTube instead of just the trailer.
    • Slender Man: Slender Man had largely fallen out of favor in the years prior to 2018, not least because of the infamous Slender Man stabbing incident from 2014. This unsurprisingly painted a target on the film, especially due to one of the trailers featuring scenes roughly similar to said incident, causing many, including the father of one of the perpetrators of said incident, to label it as being in poor taste; theaters in the area where it happened refused to show the film to respect the families of who it happened to. Said scenes actually appear to have been removed from the final cut, leading to speculation of Sony attempting damage control. This has a side effect of making the plot incomprehensible at times, with major characters suddenly disappearing without any explanation.
    • Two things that are frequently brought up when discussing Holmes & Watson are the fact that test screenings for the film were so bad that Sony tried and failed to sell it to Netflix (which is infamous for having lax standards regarding quality content) and the fact that its reception was near-universally negative to the point that there were many reports of audience members walking out of screenings of the film before the thirty-minute mark.
  • Every creative person in Hollywood with longstanding connections to Miramax Films and its successor The Weinstein Company have come under fire after the Harvey Weinstein (co-founder of both studios) sexual abuse scandals (covered more in-depth on the Real Life page), particularly since his behavior was apparently an open secret within the entire film industry.
  • Millennium Films has quite an anchor on its back with its president Avi Lerner, whose dismissive attitude towards sexual abuse, while always controversial, has gone into sharp disapproval in the #MeToo era. First, there was the news that Lerner pressured Terry Crews to drop his sexual assault lawsuit against William Morris Endeavor, alongside receiving his own harassment accusation. Then things got even worse when he hired Bryan Singer to direct an adaptation of Red Sonja just when Singer's own sexual assault accusations were being pulled back into the spotlight, with Lerner dismissing the accusers as liars (the fact that Sonja's backstory involves getting gang-raped makes the choice even more tasteless). Only under months of scrutiny did he finally decided to fire Singer, though he also decided to cancel the film in the process, giving the impression he is willing to kill a whole movie and put everyone assigned to it out of work just so he can defend an alleged rapist. It was later reported that the film would resume production with Transparent creator Jill Solloway writing and directing, although it remains to be seen whether or not anything legitimate will come of that report.

  • While Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is a well-known film, as more awareness about the transgender community has taken place in society, it has become difficult to discuss without at least mentioning the exceedingly controversial ending in which Big Bad Lois Einhorn (Sean Young) is revealed to actually be disgraced football player Ray Finkle who had a sex change after escaping a mental hospital and stole the name "Lois Einhorn" from a missing hiker. Finkle's true identity is proven by being forcibly stripped and sexually humiliated by the title character while a large group of men react in over-the-top disgust and revolt (Finkle hid her transgender nature by tucking her penis between her thighs), which nowadays is widely seen as transphobic. Even in 1994, this plot thread was considered controversial. However, despite this controversy, the movie is still largely remembered fondly and the "infamous" twist, while frowned upon, is mostly seen more as a satire of The Crying Game, which also notoriously used a transgender character as a twist (the song from that movie briefly plays after Ace figures out Finkle got a sex change and he and Einhorn, who made out with him earlier, were one and the same in a straight-up parody of that movie's shower scene).
  • Adam attracted controversy as soon as its plot was announced - it's a romantic comedy about a cisgender boy who pretends to be a transgender boy in order to pursue a lesbian. Besides the obvious Audience-Alienating Premise (especially for the LGBT+ crowd), further controversy arose when the studio tried to highlight the large number of actual transgender performers in its cast, only for the performers themselves to report that they'd been hired under false pretenses and had no idea what kind of movie they were filming. There were also reports that the extras were constantly mistreated by the filming crew.
  • Adrift is based on the story of Tami Oldham, who in 1983 was caught in Hurricane Raymond along with her fiancé Richard Sharp during a sailing trip. Richard was swept overboard to his death, and Tami was left alone on the badly damaged boat, which she managed to pilot to Hawaii during a grueling 40-day trip. Controversy arose when it appeared the filmmakers rewrote history to have Richard survive and assist her. The actual movie, however, ends with the revelation that Richard really did die at the same point he died in real life, and his further appearance was Tami's hallucination.
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass went from being remembered as Alan Rickman's last film before his death to largely getting overshadowed by the nasty divorce of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, especially after allegations that Depp abused Heard came out the week before the film was released.
  • All Good Things, a film based on the Robert Durst murder case, jumped into the public eye when it was actually named as a piece of evidence by the prosecution against him, arguing that him making no attempt to stop this film, which outright states he committed the murders, indicates he was guilty. Then it really jumped into the public eye when Durst, who professed admiration for the film, offered to be interviewed by its director Andrew Jarecki, despite not having previously cooperated with journalists, and the resulting documentary miniseries, The Jinx, leading Durst to be arrested on first-degree murder.
  • At one point it became impossible to talk about Allied without mentioning the rumors that the reason Brad Pitt, one of its stars, separated from his wife Angelina Jolie during production was because he allegedly had an affair with his co-star in this film, Marion Cotillard, who was herself already in a relationship. It went to the point that Cotillard's partner issued a public declaration stating that he backed her and lashing out against those who spread the rumors. The rumors eventually fizzled out after the movie came out to mixed reviews and reviewers mostly agreed that, while Pitt and Cotillard gave good performances, they had next to zero chemistry together on screen, with one critic writing that if they were actually lovers in real life, they should be given an Oscar for how well they "hid it" on the film.
  • Angel Heart has a devoted cult following, but it's probably better known in mainstream circles as "that movie that caused Lisa Bonet to be fired from The Cosby Show because she performed a sex scene." The fact that Bill Cosby's image would be tarnished with claims that he had a long history as a sexual predator nearly 30 years after the fact (for which he was eventually convicted) only adds to the irony of Bonet's firing.
  • Apt Pupil is largely overshadowed by the reports that Bryan Singer preyed on and sexually abused young cast members on the film, which became revisited when an investigative article published in the Atlantic detailed that Singer molested an extra.
  • Brazilian film Amor Estranho Amor (Love Strange Love) is best remembered nowadays for having a scene featuring Xuxa, who later became that country's biggest children's TV hostess, seducing a 12-year-old boy while dressed as a teddy bear. It should be noted that at the time the film was made (1982), she was a model best known for doing naked pictorials and softcore porn movies. While she's never seemed to make any bones about her pornographic past, even making statements to the effect that "sex symbols and children go hand in hand," she did successfully sue Google and various other sites to block search results for the film, thus combining it with the Streisand Effect.
  • Bad Boys II is nowadays remembered as a movie that cast a 15-year-old, then-unknown Megan Fox as an extra in a club scene wearing an Age-Inappropriate Dress, a decision that Megan Fox was very strongly against according to later interviews.
  • Baise-moi (French for "Fuck me") is a national example of this. In France itself, the film is badly regarded because most people know that it is an adaptation of the book of the same name by writer Virginie Despentes, known for her "tragic and depressing" tales about prostitutes. Some French people would have loved to ban the film for no other reason than the fact that one of her books somehow got a movie adaptation. Whenever a foreigner has heard about it they say either that it was so controversial in France that there was a special rating for it or that it has hardcore sex scenes. The latter was the cause of its red link on this very wiki.
  • The Basketball Diaries is more notorious these days for allegedly inspiring Columbine co-conspirators Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris to go on the infamous school rampage. The controversial part in question involves the main character walking into his classroom in a Badass Longcoat and mowing down everyone he hates with a shotgun while his friends cheer him on. A school rampage wasn't even the main subject of the movie or the memoir of poet Jim Carroll that it is based on; this scene was actually a fantasy that the character has as his drug addiction starts spiralling out of control.
  • The 1989 Batman movie is legendary among fans and Hollywood insiders alike for its Troubled Production, which dragged out for nearly ten years. Seven of those years alone were spent shaping the script, which at one point had to be scrapped entirely and Tom Mankiewicz dismissed in favor of Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren. Then there was the casting of Michael Keaton, who was thought to be all wrong for the Batman role and was booed by British fans as soon as filming began just outside London. Sean Young was cast as Vicki Vale but broke her arm, leading to a scramble for a replacement. Director Tim Burton, whose only directing credits at this point were two mid-budget films, suffered a panic attack early on and had to be convinced not to quit the project. Jack Nicholson made history by being paid a percentage of the film's massive box office gross as his salary for playing The Joker, which was unprecedented at the time and led to Nicholson becoming cocky and demanding even more money for future projects. And on top of all that, the script was not even finished when filming began, seriously hampering production and resulting in a rushed ending.note  The release of the film on June 23, 1989, was accompanied by a gargantuan media campaign, unlike anything Hollywood had ever attempted, starting the trend of Hollywood blockbusters being aggressively merchandized to the point where the publicity campaigns almost overshadowed the movies themselves. However, since then the film has been Vindicated by History (although its sequel is a bit more divisive) and is generally considered to be one of Burton's best films. It also went on to directly inspire one of the best Batman adaptations ever made and Michael Keaton's comeback role in Birdman.
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017):
    • The film's spectacular visual effects were overshadowed by a lawsuit over the motion capture technology used for the Beast character and Emma Watson's comments about said technology which Rearden may use in its unprecedented lawsuit against producer Disney and two other major Hollywood studios over their use of the technology in question in certain films.
    • There was also Bill Condon making a big deal about the film's version of LeFou being gay. Debates immediately sprang up about how while it was nice to finally have an officially gay character in a Disney film, selecting a pathetic comic relief villain for the role wasn't exactly progressive.note  And then there was a backlash from some conservatives leading to some theaters in the Deep South refusing to screen the film, Malaysia to ban the film, and Russia giving it an adults-only rating. And then the film was released and it turned out the only gay content was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of him dancing with another man at the end, leading to numerous accusations of making a false promise to draw in an LGBT audience (known in the community as "queerbaiting," which has gotten increasing scrutiny). Condon made a further statement that he very much regretted bringing the issue up at all.
  • Billionaire Boys Club struggled to find a distributor. It eventually did... only for star Kevin Spacey got caught up in a sexual misconduct scandal. When the film was released, though with little publicity in the West, there was no shortage of headlines that neglected to mention how allegations against Spacey had not been made yet when the film was shot more than two years ago.
  • Bird Box resulted in a huge amount of videos of people trying to do various tasks while blindfolded, often putting themselves and others in a good deal of danger. Netflix was actually driven to make an official statement asking them to stop (and covering their ass legally if any of them do go horribly wrong), and it likely played a big role in YouTube banning all videos of dangerous stunts a few weeks after the film's release. And then there was backlash from a group of French-Canadians who survived the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster after it was revealed that the film used stock footage of said disaster. Even worse was that despite apologizing, they initially kept it in the film (but they eventually removed it later).
  • D. W. Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation (1915) is a milestone in the history of cinema as an art form, pioneering many techniques that would shape motion pictures for decades to come. Unfortunately, it's also a film that glorifies the Ku Klux Klan, uses white people in blackface to portray the black characters, portrays black people as either savage criminals or lazy idiots, and has been cited as a key influence in the revival of the Klan in the 1910s and '20s. These aspects have overshadowed most of its historical significance. For these reasons, many Griffith fans prefer to point to the mostly inoffensive Intolerance as his landmark Hollywood film, even though it had almost zero impact on American cinema (at least at first) and was better appreciated overseas, especially in Russia.
  • Nate Parker's film The Birth of a Nation (2016) intended to reclaim the title of the 1915 film and turn it into an important work in African-American cinema and was poised to make Parker a big name in independent film. However, that was all derailed when a 1999 rape case involving Parker and his co-writer Jean Celestin came into the spotlight (not helped by the fact that the alleged victim later committed suicide), after already receiving complaints about a non-existent rape scene being added in the middle of a real-life historical event in order to motivate the hero's rebellion. Parker wouldn't work on another picture in any capacity until the independent film American Skin,note  and the film was completely absent from that year's award season.
  • The Bruce Lee biopic Birth of the Dragon got a lot of accusations, just based on the trailer alone, of whitewashing by having his story be told through the eyes of a white man loosely based off of Steve McQueen, one of Lee's real-life friends. The character, Steve McKee, also has a relationship with an Asian woman in the film, while Linda Lee Cadwell, Lee's real-life Caucasian wife, is nowhere to be seen. Lee's daughter, Shannon Lee, has gone on record as to distance herself from the film, claiming that it lacks any understanding of her father's philosophy and approach to martial arts.
  • While Blazing Saddles is still well-known and still hailed as a comedy classic, most modern discussions of the film are usually tied to the perceived political correctness in modern comedies than for any of its merits. Although Mel Brooks intended the film to be anti-racist (though he is also an admitted provacateur and was probably hoping that some people would be offended by it), one who had never seen Blazing Saddles could easily be forgiven for thinking that the movie is racist just by hearing people argue that "it could never be made today." It went to the point that, in the wake of the George Floyd protests and HBO Max briefly pulling Gone with the Wind from their service so they could put a Content Warning in front of it, prominent conservatives, including Ted Cruz, suggested that liberals were calling for a boycott of Blazing Saddles despite no evidence to suggest that such boycotts are really happening.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody:
    • The Queen biopic has a very controversial standing owing to the presence of Bryan Singer as director during the #MeToo era. Going into production, Singer was already contentious due to longstanding accusations of sexual abuse towards underage boys long before the Weinstein effect, with many raising questions about the baggage he would bring. During filming, Singer was noted for his many absences and abusive behavior toward the cast that led to his firing, though he was still credited and financially compensated for his work under DGA rules. Things got worse when history was revisited in the wake of the film's financial success and awards season tour when an investigative article was released on his accusers the day after it received Oscar nominations. This led to an increased level of scrutiny towards the film being nominated for awards in light of Singer’s actions, leading to GLAAD and BAFTA withdrawing their nominations and Singer’s career becoming radioactive. In particular, Rami Malek very noticeably avoided mentioning Singer during any of the numerous awards he won for the film when the director is usually one of the first people thanked.
    • There was more controversy over the film's alleged homophobia, with it being accused of downplaying Freddie Mercury's bisexuality, associating his man-on-man sexual activities with psychological dysfunction, and treating his death from AIDS as "punishment" for not being straight. All of this being quite ironic as Singer himself is openly bisexual and admitted to treating the X-Men movies as if they were gay rights allegories.
  • In the early-1990s, Kim Basinger was sued into bankruptcy for refusing to fulfill her contractual obligation to star in Boxing Helena. The lawsuit against Basinger got so much media coverage that Boxing Helena ultimately became associated with said trial.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's is pretty much impossible to talk about, let alone screen, without having to confront Mickey Rooney's extremely offensive portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi. Recent DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the film include a featurette discussing the depiction of Asians in Hollywood, as well as apologies from some of the people involved.
  • The Brown Bunny is a film known mostly for an unsimulated oral sex scene, being booed harshly at the Cannes Film Festival, and the subsequent media catfight between Roger Ebert and its outspoken director Vincent Gallo. The film was later Re-Cut and given a wide release, and Ebert gave the recut a positive three-star review.
  • Café Society had the unfortunate distinction of being the movie Woody Allen was working on in 2014 when his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow reaffirmed her allegations that he had molested her; this news swallowed up absolutely everything about the film itself, and its female cast members garnered quite a bit of criticism for being willing to continue working with Allen.
  • Caligula has been a notorious subject since its release for its extremely Troubled Production, wrought with constant tensions between scriptwriter Gore Vidal, director Tinto Brass, and producer Bob Guccione of Penthouse (yes, that Penthouse) and resulting in a gorn-laden Porn with Plot film that ended up being a Genre-Killer for the "porno chic" movement of the 70's. Even after receiving a Re-Cut that removed the Guccione-shot hardcore porn scenes, making Brass's intentions of a scathing political satire more apparent, the film is only really known for its acidic production and for being what co-star Helen Mirren dubbed "an irresistible mix of art and genitals."
  • Cannibal Holocaust was notorious to a degree that it forced director Ruggero Deodato and the actors to explain that nobody died in production and the gore was just special effects. There is still a great deal of controversy to this day relating to animal cruelty, such as an infamous scene in which an actual live turtle is brutally decapitated and eviscerated onscreen. Seven animals were killed during the film's production. Although the director himself condemned his past actions and seems genuinely regretful, many people are turned off by the presence of actual animal deaths onscreen.
  • Captivity would be a forgotten horror-movie footnote if not for its disturbing advertising campaign, most notably a four-panel billboard that depict Elisha Cuthbert's character kidnapped, tortured, and slumped over dead. People were outraged at such violent imagery shown in very public areas, especially where children could see it. It got worse when it was reported the MPAA had already rejected the billboards and the studio went rogue in releasing them, forcing the studio to delay the film by two months to scrub the promotion; otherwise, the MPAA would have not rated the film at all, which would have been a death knell for the film theatrically. It hardly mattered for the film's box office chances regardless; the film grossed a meager $2 million total in the U.S. and the very public backlash of its ad campaign made studios re-think the Torture Porn genre, leading this film to be a Genre-Killer. Studios shunted films of this ilk, save for the established Saw franchise, to direct-to-home release, while later that year, a little film at Screamfest premiered two years before becoming one of the greatest success stories in movie history and steered the theatrical horror genre into a more psychological and lucrative direction: Paranormal Activity.
  • Child's Play 3, and the Child's Play franchise in general, is still notorious in Britain over sensational media stories linking it to the murder of James Bulger in 1993 by two eleven-year-old boys. One of the boys' fathers had rented the film from a video store a few months before (although the boy in question had not been living with him at the time, and the boy himself denied watching it), and there were exaggerated claims that the details of the murder replicated scenes in the film.
  • Chinatown is generally agreed to be an excellent film, but what people who haven't seen it tend to know about it is that it includes Parental Incest as a major plot point and is one of the few works of fiction to end in a complete and utter victory for the villains. The Big Bad of the movie also happens to be a pedophile, and while it was made well before Roman Polański's arrest for child molestation has still prompted cynical comparisons between the character and the director.
  • Chocolat is mostly remembered for having an absurdly aggressive Oscar campaign despite mediocre reviews that garnered five Academy Award nominations but no actual wins, with many detractors arguing that it only got nominated because Miramax and Harvey Weinstein (himself covered in the real life section) twisted arms behind the scenes.
  • Citizen Kane once had such a reputation, although it eventually managed to escape it. It was once best known for the fact that William Randolph Hearst believed the film to be slandering him (even though his name was never mentioned in the dialogue) and tried to stop the film from being made. It was also known for director/star Orson Welles's somewhat arrogant attitude toward the Hollywood establishment while making the film, which stirred up so much resentment toward Welles that Kane was snubbed at the Academy Awards. Today all of that is forgotten except by film buffs and historians, and Kane is recognized as perhaps the greatest film ever.
  • Cleopatra is remembered less for whatever merits it had as a movie and more for its legendarily Troubled Production, notably including a major sex scandal from the romance between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, both of whom were already married to other people at the time it started. The movie was such a financial and public relations disaster that it nearly drove 20th Century Fox into bankruptcy.
  • Everyone will agree that A Clockwork Orange is a controversial film. However, in the United Kingdom, its reputation is more legendary because the film was pulled from distribution there at director Stanley Kubrick's request from 1973 until his death in 1999. Therefore, its controversial reputation remained far more intact than in other countries.
  • Cloud Atlas will probably be remembered more for the controversy over the decision to have white actors appear in Yellowface than for its story.
  • While doing publicity for the film Cold Pursuit, Liam Neeson was asked about getting into the headspace of a character filled with rage and seeking revenge and revealed that in his 20s he was driven into a similar all-consuming rage after a close friend was raped. When the only detail she could remember was that the attacker was black, he spent a week roaming the streets of black neighborhoods with a club in the hopes that someone would attack him and he could kill them, which led to a personal epiphany about the pointless Cycle of Revenge he'd witnessed while growing up in the middle of The Troubles and caused him to abandon those racist feelings. This promptly kicked off a heated argument about how much forgiveness he deserved which caused significant damage to his public image, and in which the film itself was basically forgotten.
  • The Conqueror is best known for three things: the questionable decision to cast John Wayne as Genghis Khan, playing a major role in destroying RKO Pictures, and the fact that most of the filming took place downwind of a nuclear testing site, which has been speculated to have played a role in the deaths of many of the cast and crew from cancer.
  • Cool Cat Saves the Kids wouldn't have reached its level of infamy if it weren't for director Derek Savage's attempts to remove negative reviews of his movie from YouTube. The irony of the film's anti-bullying message being undermined by Savage's tactics is not lost on people.
  • The 1996 film Crash (based off the book of the same name, not a 2004 film about racial tension) is a film that revolves around James Spader and Holly Hunter's characters reviving their failing marriage by replicating famous car crashes and getting sexually aroused by it. The premise naturally caused the UK's Moral Guardians, most notably the Daily Mail, to campaign against both the violence and the sex (the latter of which was agreed to be the source of the controversy, somehow overlooking the whole "recreating car crashes" premise) and cause a huge national debate that lasted for a few years. The film was agreed by critics to be okay, but some said that the campaigning against it had heightened their expectations, leaving them disappointed.
  • The 2004 Crash itself is best remembered for its unexpected victory over Brokeback Mountain at the 2005 Oscars than its actual content, a decision many felt both then and now to be the result of either homophobia or fear of backlash from homophobes on the part of the Academy voters.
  • The Crow is often remembered for the tragic death of its star Brandon Lee during filming as the result of injuries sustained from a malfunctioning prop gun. Although it was a critical and financial success, most still remember it as the final film in his career that Lee never lived to see finished. And when Michael Massee, who played Funboy, passed away in 2016, the one thing every obituary mentioned about him was that he fired that fatal shot, even though he was so horrified by it that he kept a low profile for years afterward.

  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • The release of The Dark Knight might well be overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the tragic death of Heath Ledger, who played The Joker, not long before the movie premiered.
    • The release of The Dark Knight Rises, the final film of the trilogy, was stained by a mass shooting at a midnight screening in Aurora, Colorado, with the shooter even identifying himself as The Joker.
  • The American Death Note film is lesser known for anything but the many accusations it has gotten by many people for transplanting the setting to America and whitewashing the predominantly-Asian cast, as well as the numerous changes from the original anime and manga. Controversy erupted again in January 2019 when it was revealed that the news footage of a train accident was misappropriated footage of a real-life train accident from 2010.
  • The 2006 British mockumentary Death of a President about an assassination of George W. Bush was criticised by political figures, including Gretchen Esell of the Texas Republican Party and then-junior Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (even though she personally hadn't seen the film). The Bush administration declined to comment on the film, claiming that it didn't "dignify a response".
  • The 2018 remake of Death Wish has largely been overshadowed by the unfortunate timing of being released a month after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
  • Detainment, a 2018 short film based on the trials of the 1993 murder of James Bulger, would have likely gone without controversy until it was nominated for the 91st Academy Awards for the Best Short Film. While it didn't raise attention in America, the film ended up attracting much controversy in the United Kingdom (Bulger's home country and where the murder took place), with Denise Fergus, Bulger's mother, claiming that the film would cast Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, his killers, in a sympathetic light.note  Although the film doesn't portray the killers sympathetically, the film is little known besides the controversy regarding its content.
  • Ken Russell's The Devils (1971) has been banned, censored and re-cut in so many countries that several different versions of different lengths exist—and even Warner Bros. is hell-bent on ensuring it stays censored, and that's when it even allows any release. Its offensive blasphemous content has brought more attention than the actual picture itself.
  • Les Diables is mostly remembered for the fact that its female lead, Adele Haenel, later accused director Christophe Ruggia of stalking and sexually harassing her from the time she was 12 until she turned 15. His behavior upset her so badly that she quit acting for around five years. Ruggia would end up being expelled from the French Directors' Guild and prosecuted for sexual harassment and sexual aggression.
  • The Dilemma is better known for the homophobic remarks made by Vince Vaughn's character Ronnie (one of which, infamously, was the very first line of one of the trailers) and Vaughn's real-life defense of them than its actual content.
  • A Dog's Purpose got hit with outcry from animal rights groups when a behind the scenes video featuring a German Shepard being forced to perform a water stunt and ends up soaked got leaked online. While the authenticity of the clip has come under question,note  the film got hit with several negative reviews before release from people who did believe the video.
  • Driving Miss Daisy is best remembered for winning the Best Picture Oscar over Do the Right Thing (which wasn't even nominated), a move that is often considered one of the biggest snubs in the history of the Academy Awards. Not helping matters was the subject matter of both films: Do the Right Thing, being a Spike Lee joint, was one of his trademark race relations studies, while Driving Miss Daisy chronicles several years in the life of a white woman and her African American chauffeur in the Deep South, which is also about race relations but from a very different perspective.
  • The films of Clint Eastwood
    • American Sniper is a well-received film, but it's at least as well known for what many found to be overly sanitized depictions of The War on Terror in general and its protagonist, the late Chris Kyle, in particular. While the film portrays Kyle as a saintly figure, according to some of his former comrades-in-arms, he was actually a racist and a religious zealot who frequently broke protocol and was extremely difficult to work with due to these facts. Other controversies include the fact that the only Muslim characters in the film are either helpless victims for Kyle to save or over-the-top villains for him to kill and the fact that ordinary soldiers and Marines are portrayed as incompetent next to Kyle and the elite Navy SEALs and often need to be rescued by them.
    • Sully did well with both critics and audiences at the time, but is now known today for the fact that Eastwood gave an Historical Villain Upgrade to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) than for any of its merits.
    • Although critics proclaimed Richard Jewell to be another Eastwood masterpiece, the film caught a lot of flak for two different controversies that resulted in the film becoming a Box Office Bomb upon release and be shunned for the vast majority of categories during awards season:
      • The film depicts journalist Kathy Scruggs (who wrote the article that led to Jewell being wrongfully accused for the 1996 Atlanta bombing) trading sex with an FBI agent for inside information. Scruggs was a real person, who was also dead by the time of the film's release and unable to defend herself. (It didn't help that, while Scruggs was a real person, the male FBI agent depicted trading sensitive information for sexual favours was a completely fictional creation.) All her former colleagues vehemently insisted that she had never slept with a source, and even Jewell's legal attorneys defended Scruggs, saying that it was posthumous slander. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the paper Scruggs worked for, threatened to sue Warner Bros. for defaming her, but backed off after learning about a Content Warning in the film that insisted that "dramatic license" was taken. That controversy was further boosted when Olivia Wilde, the actress who played Scruggs, released a statement that completely ignored the main issue being raised, and even seemed to not be aware she was a real person, before quickly changing her tune after her comments got serious backlash, saying that as the child of two journalists she'd never want to unfairly malign the profession, she doesn't believe that the real Scruggs ever did it, and that she did not have any control over that aspect of the film. Also, Fox News presenter Jesse Watters defended the film on-air, insisting that female reporters slept with their sources "all the time", which got him in addition to the movie attacked for misogyny.
      • Public reaction to the plot of the film was also split across political lines, with right-wingers claiming as a great work of filmmaking about the life of an American Everyman hero, and a template for how conservatives could succeed in Hollywood, and left-wingers calling it pro-Trump/MAGA propaganda for depicting the media and FBI as corrupt and duplicitous, ruthlessly attacking an innocent man.
  • The Elite Squad already suffered before release with its digital leak. Then came the discussion on whether the aggressive special corps were glorifying police violence (though it was mostly overseas; in Brazil, reviewers considered criminality was high and cruel and at times can only be fought by using equally brutal methods, and also thought it wasn't a work glamourizing criminals for a change).
  • The Film of the Book Ender's Game was boycotted because of Orson Scott Card's homophobic views, despite his not getting a single penny from ticket sales and said film having absolutely zero homophobic themes or undertones.
  • The English Patient is perhaps best-known today for the accusations that it robbed Fargo of a Best Picture Oscar. Other than that, it's otherwise known for being mocked on a Seinfeld episode.
  • Eraserhead has the baby. Primarily because no one associated with the film, especially not David Lynch, cares to discuss what the baby was made out of, leading to persistent rumors that it was a real animal fetus... or even a real human fetus:
    "They're not even sure it is a baby..."
  • If you see any articles on Exodus: Gods and Kings, chances are they're more about the film's casting choices (white actors playing Egyptian and Middle Eastern characters) than of the actual film itself. Among the religious crowd who would generally be this movie's target audience, there's Ridley Scott, an atheist, choosing to depict the Plagues and Parting of the Sea as mostly natural phenomena instead of divine miracles. There's also Scott defending his casting choices with the much-publicized quote "I can't mount a film of this budget and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such, I'm just not going to get financed". Furthermore, before the film came out, Christian Bale got some flack for describing the real Moses as "likely schizophrenic and one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life."
  • The Fantastic Beasts series has multiple controversies damaging its reputation.
  • Fantastic Four (2015) became far better known for its well-publicized and very deeply Troubled Production and for being made to prevent the Fantastic Four film rights from reverting to Marvel Studios than for its quality as a film. Even there, critics and audiences alike tore the film to shreds due to the numerous changes made from the source material and miscasting the characters. In particular, a Vocal Minority took umbrage over the casting of African-American actor Michael B. Jordan to play Johnny Storm, who was Caucasian in the comics. Jordan's claims that Stan Lee approved of the casting didn't do much to help. Though there were others who accepted the casting of Jordan... and then accused Fox of cowardice for not casting an African-American to play Sue Storm (in the film, the character's origin was changed to make her a refugee from Kosovo adopted by the Storm family). These casting decisions also got criticism for what many viewers saw as needlessly changing one of the most famous familial relationships in comics. Suffice to say, the movie bombed so badly at the box office that it did damage to Fox's stocks at the time, completely killed the franchise before it had even started, and the actors themselves have all gone out of their ways to distance themselves from it (Jordan, in particular, managed to redeem himself in the eyes of Marvel fans with his well-received performance as Erik Killmonger in Black Panther), and Disney eventually announced that it would be buying Fox and its associated IPs, including the Fantastic Four film rights, with the acquisition being finalized in early 2019.
  • Fight Club: So much discussion is made of the violence and underlying message of the film that almost nobody says anything about its actual quality as a movie.
  • First Man would have very well been seen as yet another entry into Damien Chazelle's oeuvre if it weren't for certain groups complaining about the film's omission of Neil Armstrong placing the American flag on the moon. This decision caused the film to take a lot of widely publicized flack from said groups, with many among them going so far as to call Chazelle a traitor for making the omission. A lot of them even accused the film of never even showing the flag, which is completely false and shows that they probably never even saw it.
  • The Fourth Kind is a film that was advertised (and is strictly enforced throughout the movie itself) as a sort-of docudrama to be based on real case studies about a series of disappearances in the town of Nome, Alaska that were blamed on UFO abductions, and to use actual real-life footage, being divided in a dramatization, in which actors portray the individuals involved, and a "documentary", in which video footage purports to show the actual victims undergoing hypnosis. However, the film would gain infamy when attempts to corroborate the events on the movie were met with dead ends or bogus websites, leading to assumptions that the movie was most likely Based on a Great Big Lie. As it turns out, the movie was loosely based on a rash of disappearances that occurred in Nome, Alaska and the surrounding area, but it turned out most of them had just gotten lost and died of exposure because they were drunk. Plus, it was later discovered that a person claimed in the film to be Abbey Tyler, one of the "real life" people involved in the alleged events in which the film was based and who is shown purportedly in the "documentary" section being interviewed on television, was actually actress Charlotte Milchard (though in hindsight, the fact that Milchard is credited as having played "Nome Resident", even though the film made it clear that she was supposed to be the "real" Abbey Tyler, should have been a dead giveaway).
  • Gangster Squad ended up having some scenes reshot because a theater shooting that occurred in the film resembled the real-life theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Yet even with the reshoot, the film as a whole was deemed to be so violent that it was still hard to forget the parallel with Aurora.

  • Prior to release, Ghost in the Shell became embroiled in a whitewashing controversy over the decision to have Scarlett Johansson play the Major, who is Japanese in the source material. The controversy consumed the entire discussion about the film, so much so that Paramount admitted that it was the main factor for its financial failure.
  • Gods of Egypt started to get this immediately after its trailer came out. All everyone talked about, before and after its release, is the fact that most of the "Egyptian" cast are played by white actors.
  • While still a popular film, it's hard to discuss Gone with the Wind nowadays without discussing its idealized portrayal of the Confederacy and its portrayal of the African-American slave characters, who have been accused of being either submissive (Mammy) or stupid (Prissy). Whenever a racially-motivated hate crime is committed in America, especially if the person committing it has pro-Confederate leanings, a heated debate over whether GWTW is complicit in provoking racist attitudes is likely to follow. In June 2020, HBO Max announced that it would remove the film from their library for this exact reason following a series of civil rights protests across America, although the removal was temporary while a Content Warning was recorded to be placed before the film, after which it was reinstated later that month.
  • The 1937 film adaptation of The Good Earth is one of the most notorious cases of whitewashing in film history, with the largely Asian cast of characters mostly played by white actors in yellowface. Adding insult to injury was not just the fact that Luise Rainer won an Oscar for a role in the film originally intended for the genuinely Chinese Anna May Wong, but that the studio even offered Wong the villain role after turning her down.
  • Gotti would have already gone down in infamy as a member of the "0% on Rotten Tomatoes" club, but then the crew made it even worse with their bizarre claims that the savage reviews were actually due to a conspiracy among the critic elite and even rebranding it as "the movie critics don't want you to see", all while never giving the slightest explanation of what the point of such a conspiracy would be, particularly as the film wasn't screened in advance for critics.
  • The Great Wall was initially extremely controversial in the U.S. for starring Matt Damon in a movie set in Song Dynasty China, which immediately led to accusations of his character being an example of either whitewashing or Mighty Whitey (made all the more puzzling for the film actually being a Chinese production), which the first trailer just made worse. It died down a bit when later trailers made it clear that his character is a foreigner and died entirely when the movie was actually released and he turned out to be a Supporting Protagonist. The whole movie was then almost entirely forgotten immediately.
  • Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth is less known for any of its merits and more for the fact that it won the Best Picture Oscar over High Noon, leading to accusations that the only reason the former won was because the latter was written by a blacklisted screenwriter and because there was backstage pressure to give DeMille, by then in his seventies and still Oscar-less, an Oscar before he died.
  • Green Book has gotten much ire over its troubling subtext and message-undermining drama. The film is about the relationship between African American jazz pianist Don Shirley and his Italian-American chauffeur/bodyguard Anthony "Tony Lip" Vallelonga, and upon its release, many African American pundits and Shirley's surviving family criticized it for exaggerating said relationship, pointing out that Shirley considered Tony more of casual acquaintance at best rather than a close friend. The film became further embroiled in controversy when Nick Vallelonga, Tony's son and the film's co-writer, had to apologize for previously supporting then-candidate Donald Trump's discredited claim that numerous American Muslims celebrated the September 11 attacks; this was particularly damming since Mahershala Ali, who played Shirley, is a Muslim. These revelations have led to many accusing the film of distorting the narrative to portray the Vallelonga family in a more positive light, and in doing so created an uncomfortable "white savior" narrative. Ali himself also stated the crew had lied to him that Shirley had no living relatives who could have acted as consultants, and upon the truth coming out he called them and profusely apologized. When the film was unexpectedly victorious in the Best Picture race at the 2019 Oscars, comparisons to the aforementioned Crash and Driving Miss Daisy sprung up within mere minutes due to the perception of it having a "patting yourself on the back for doing the bare minimum" approach to race relations, which the previous films were also accused of (some even mockingly calling the film a sequel to the latter, due to the fact that both share a similar Road Trip Plot), and Spike Lee, who himself took home his very first Oscar that night and infamously feuded with Driving Miss Daisy, noted his displeasure with the selection.
  • Most public discussion about The Green Inferno is arguments over director Eli Roth's publicity campaign at the time of its eventual release, which was seen by many as a direct appeal to the alt-right that can be summed up as "watch the Social Justice Warriors get horribly killed by the degenerate darkies they thought were human beings!".

  • The Thai-produced Hanuman vs. 7 Ultraman is less known amongst Ultra Series fans for being good or bad, and better known for the fact that Chaiyo (the studio the produced it) would later use the movie (and a variety of dubious forgeries) to attempt to steal the international distributions rights to the Ultra Series from Tsuburaya Productions, resulting in a gigantic legal hassle that made it almost impossible for TsuPro to export their own creation outside of Asia until 2017.
  • The Hateful Eight saw itself being marred by several controversies:
    • A month before the film was released, its director Quentin Tarantino joined a rally against police violence, causing police unions around the country to declare they would boycott the film, and not provide help to any future projects of his. This caused his fans to get up in arms themselves, especially when an NYPD spokesman said there would be "a surprise" for Tarantino when the film opened, sounding for all the world like some kind of mob boss. They reneged on whatever the plan was shortly before the opening, having finally realized they were only giving the film free publicity (and from the more cynical suspicions, realizing that busting some heads at the theater would only get them more bad publicity).
    • A 140-year-old antique guitar lent by a museum (that costed about $40,000) was accidentally destroyed during filming. Kurt Russell (the actor in the film who destroyed the guitar) wasn't told that it was supposed to be swapped with a fake prop and ended up destroying the real one by mistake, freaking out everyone on set and getting a genuinely horrified reaction from co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh (which, alongside the entire take, was kept in the film). This pissed off the people who lent it in the first place and the museum director stated that they weren't told that a scene involving a guitar being smashed was in the script. Said museum also stated that they will no longer lend guitars to film productions.
    • Tarantino himself would be dragged into the Harvey Weinstein rape scandal when evidence surfaced in early 2018 that Tarantino had been aware of the accusations while making movies with his studio in the '90s, but had done nothing about them; it's been said that he felt so guilty about it he allowed Kill Bill star Uma Thurman to reveal some extremely troubling details about that film.
  • Harlem Nights, a period crime comedy starring, written and directed by Eddie Murphy, is best remembered for a series of violent incidents on its opening night than anything that happened in the movie itself. Two people were shot to death in a Detroit theater shortly after the movie began, and a woman fleeing the theater was hit by a car. Another fatal shooting happened during a screening in Richmond, Virginia, and there were other violent incidents in Sacramento and Boston. The night's events led to theater chain AMC pulling the movie from their theaters. While Harlem Nights had a great opening weekend, it underperformed in subsequent weeks due to both negative reviews and the violence controversy.
  • Heaven's Gate is perhaps best remembered for its infamous Troubled Production than anything else. Director Michael Cimino's perfectionism (most infamously stopping shooting until a certain cloud was in front of the camera) drove the film's budget from an $11 million to a whopping $44 million. There was also the matter of the New York premiere, which managed to be responsible for a vicious review by Vincent Canby of The New York Times, and Cimino's decision to have the film pulled the film from circulation for further reediting. That decision may have played a factor into it becoming one of the biggest flops in Hollywood history that managed to kill a major studio (United Artists) no less, as well as bring an end to the New Hollywood era. Although a Director's Cut in 2012 managed to get great reviews, with some critics already declaring it an underrated masterpiece, time will tell if the film itself will be redeemed from the damaged reputation it already has.
  • The 1968 TV movie adaptation of Heidi was infamous for interrupting the end of a Jets-Raiders game, leading to numerous complaints and setting the precedent for longer-than-intended sporting events overriding scheduled programming on American television.
  • Hercules (2014) is more remembered for being one of the most infamous cases of Never Trust a Trailer at its time than anything else. The film was advertised as a Clash of the Titans-esque series of monster battles, with some trailers featuring next to or literally nothing else. These parts of the movie actually happen in a flashback montage that isn't much longer than a trailer itself and are then revealed to be fabrications in-universe. Moviegoers questioned that if the knew that people wanted to see a mythological monster mash, why they didn't actually make one.
  • It's hard to discuss Home Alone 2: Lost in New York nowadays without mentioning its brief cameo appearance by future President Donald Trump, whose leadership was polarizing to say the least. In December 2019, Trump and his supporters were in an uproar in when they discovered that CBC's broadcast of the film removed the Trump cameo and decried it as politically-motivated censorship. In reality, the CBC had been airing that edit of the film prior to Trump's 2016 Presidential campaign, and those edits may not have been the CBC's doing but was most likely prepared by the studio, 20th Century Fox.
  • Hound Dog, as quoted on the website Cracked, was infamously referred to as "the Dakota Fanning rape film" by critics and moviegoers alike.
  • How Green Was My Valley, a John Ford film about the death of the Welsh mining industry, is best known today for the fact that it somehow beat out both Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon at the 1942 Oscars, a decision many felt was guided by backstage politics, namely the aforementioned William Randolph Hearst controversy, above all else.
  • The Huntsman: Winter's War was never really able to escape the fallout from Rupert Sanders's affair with Kristen Stewart while filming the movie this movie was a sequel of, Snow White and the Huntsman (mentioned elsewhere on this page), which got them both removed from the movie. Unfortunately, the Executive Meddling caused by that incident alone was enough to torpedo not just the film's chances at the box office but also Universal's plans for its own fantasy franchise to rival the live-action adaptations of the Disney Animated Canon.
  • Inchon, a Korean War epic with an All-Star Cast led by Sir Laurence Olivier as (of all people) General Douglas MacArthur, will probably be forever associated with the fact that it was funded by the controversial Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. The film's producer, who had close ties to Moon, kept the identity of the financier a secret to the cast and crew, and it was only eight weeks into the shooting did the secret get out. Inchon's association with Moon led to boycotts against it and made the film toxic to potential distributors until the Unification Church made a rent-a-distributor deal with MGM and Inchon was finally released in 1982, three years after production wrapped. The film received poor critical reception, many calling it one of the worst films ever made, not helped by Moon burying a negative review by a critic from his own newspaper, The Washington Times, and the film became the biggest box-office disaster in film history until Cutthroat Island 13 years later. The result destroyed Moon's attempts at movie moguldom and the career of director Terence Young, and the Unification Church have since supressed any further releases of Inchon, aside from a period in the early-2000s when it aired on Moon's now-defunct GoodLife TV Network, which resulted in bootleg copies being made from these broadcasts.
  • At least in the West, International Guerillas is a movie best known for its blatant demonization of Salman Rushdie as a sadistic, megalomaniacal Diabolical Mastermind who conspires to destroy Islam. The movie was actually almost banned in the UK for the way it portrayed Rushdie, until the man himself protested against censoring it.
  • The Norwegian film Is-slottet (or Ice Castles) is mostly remembered for the brief nude scene within the first 10 minutes involving its two preteen leads.
  • The Jeepers Creepers films are far less known for their content than the fact that Victor Salva, who directed all three of the films, was convicted of sexually abusing a child on the set of one of his first films.
  • One of the most well-known things about Jem and the Holograms is the makers soliciting video testimonials from fans of the franchise about how much the Jem cartoon meant to them, saying they could get cameos in the movie... only for it to turn out that the cameos were the videos themselves, with Manipulative Editing to make it seem like they were talking about the movie's version of the Jem character. Multiple reviewers — including some who were never fans of the franchise in the first place — have called this out as a particularly scummy move and a slap to the face of the fanbase.
  • Justice League, despite opening number one at the box office on its opening weekend, became the lowest grossing movie in the DC Extended Universe on account of its Troubled Production. Zack Snyder, the original director, stepped down partway through production after his daughter's suicide, causing co-writer Joss Whedon to take over directing duties. Whedon's appointment was initially praised until his ex-wife released a letter in which she stated that he cheated on her repeatedly during their marriage, and his un-made early 2000s screenplay for a Wonder Woman film was leaked online and pilloried with accusations of misogyny. These revelations started a backlash against the popular Whedon (to the extent that his oldest fan-site was shut down in the wake of that letter). Towards the release, many involved in the film were dogged by sex scandals including Ben Affleck (who was haunted by his ties to Harvey Weinstein, on top of a groping incident of his caught on camera resurfacing as a result of the Weinstein effect) and Brett Ratner (whose production company was involved in making both this film and Wonder Woman, and he was fired after reports of his sexist behavior were made public). By the time the film came out, Snyder ironically won the most sympathy despite his reputation as a Scapegoat Creator, since the film's reception highlighted the damages of change in directors, the Special Effects Failure in the efforts to cover Henry Cavill's mustache, and the odd number of retcons and changes made to the previous films. Although the DCEU quickly rebounded with Aquaman, Justice League became a major embarrassment for the studio and the franchise given its budget and caliber of the source material. The embarassment was prolongued by a long-lasting campaign from some of the people who liked the earlier DC Extended Universe movies demanding that Warner Bros. release the "Snyder Cut" to cinema or home video, despite various neutral observers pointing out that it is extremely unlikely that such a thing would ever have existed in releasable form, and how expensive it would be to complete such a cut just to satisfy the demands of a few hardcore Snyder fans. The studio eventually gave in and announced that the Snyder cut would see an official release on HBO Max; it remains to be seen whether the new cut will redeem the film in the eyes of a mostly apathetic public or lead to even more controversy.
  • Kill Bill got swept up in the Me Too movement as well, though for quite a different reason than usual: the sudden prominence of people speaking out against the abuse they suffered from celebs and the film industry gave Uma Thurman the confidence to reveal that she'd been forced to do a dangerous car stunt herself, and had the video to prove it. She ended up badly injured and suffers permanent neck and knee pain, which is the true reason she never worked with Tarantino again despite publicly forgiving him (but not any of the executives who helped cover the incident up) in her statement.
  • Kundun, a Martin Scorsese movie about the 14th Dalai Lama, became more known for its ban in China and the geopolitical fallout. Not only did the Chinese government ban the film, but the regime decided to punish Disney (who produced the film via their Touchstone Pictures subsidiary) by pulling all animated Disney shows and threatened to ban all future Hollywood films. Then Disney CEO Michael Eisner quickly apologized to the Chinese authorities and quickly abandoned the film. To this day, the film can't be seen on streaming likely to avoid another geopolitical controversy.
  • Last Tango in Paris was notorious at the time for its explicit sexual content that led to the film being banned or censored in some countries and several people involved in it, including director Bernardo Bertolucci and stars Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider were hit with obscenity charges in Italy. In the 2010s, however, the film has gotten a lot of criticism for Bertolucci's abusive treatment of his actors on the set, particularly Schneider. Schneider said that making the film was her life's only regret, that it "ruined her life", and that she considers Bertolucci a "gangster and a pimp". In 2011, Bertolucci denied that he "stole her youth" (she was 19 at the time of filming), and commented, "The girl wasn't mature enough to understand what was going on." Schneider remained friends with Brando until his death but never made up with Bertolucci. She also claimed that Brando and Bertolucci "made a fortune" from the film while she made very little money. Brando said to Bertolucci at the time, "I was completely and utterly violated by you. I will never make another film like that". Brando refused to speak to Bertolucci for 15 years after the production was completed. Much like Schneider, Brando later said he "felt raped and manipulated" by the film; however, he and Bertolucci participated in not telling Schneider about her rape scene ("The Butter Scene") beforehand and thus she was forced to participate in it without her consent.
  • The Last Airbender became infamous prior to its release for changing the races of several characters (most infamously Katara and Sokka, who were dark-skinned in the show being played by white actors in the film, as well as the villainous Fire Nation, who were pale-skinned in the show being played by actors of Indian and Middle-Eastern descent), which garnered accusations of racism and led to the coining of the term "Racebending".
  • Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ is best known for depicting Jesus Christ getting married, having sexual relationships and fathering children after walking out of his crucifixion, which sparked protests from religious groups worldwide, including the infamous attack at a Paris cinema where the use of Molotov cocktails injured 13 patrons and brought the theater under heavy repairs for the next three years. All this can leave people actually surprised when told that in the film all those scenes were actually a vision by Satan.note 
  • The film adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is infamous for the fact that it was made against the wishes of Alan Moore, the creator of the original comic; being the subject of a flimsy plagiarism suit against Fox by a screenwriter that the company essentially left Moore holding the bag for (further embittering him against adaptations of his work); and the final product being such a disappointment that it became a major reason for one of its stars, the legendary Sean Connery, to swear off acting for good three years later.
  • The 2019 film Loqueesha trended on Twitter immediately after the trailer dropped, because people found its concept (a white man pretends to be a black woman to become a successful radio talk show host) horribly racist and eerily close to verbal blackface. This actually resulted in the movie being released early on Amazon Prime, but reviews have generally been poor. Not helping is the reveal that the film lied about being officially selected at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, as the festival insisted it was rejected and never screened.
  • Lucas has been dogged by the allegation that Charlie Sheen (then nineteen) raped the-then fourteen year old Corey Haim, a charge that Corey Feldman reignited in his 2020 documentary (My) Truth: The Rape of 2 Coreys.
  • Maladolescenza (also known as Spielen wir Liebe or Puppy Love) is a little-seen German-Italian coming-of-age drama notorious for its graphic and disturbing, albeit simulated, sex scenes involving underage actresses Eva Ionesco and Lara Wendel. This has led to it being labeled as child pornography and consequently banned from distribution in several countries.
  • Manchester by the Sea managed to avoid this reaction on its initial run, succeeding critically and commercially in spite of the rather serious sexual harassment allegation levied at its star Casey Affleck, namely that he had crawled into bed with a female co-star on one of his previous films, without her permission, while drunk. Following Affleck's Best Actor win at the 2017 Oscars, however, the film started to be looked at with more scrutiny, which only increased after the Harvey Weinstein sex scandals (see "Real Life") led to a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations against many celebrities, including Affleck's brother Ben. Facing mounting backlash, Affleck recused himself from the 2018 Oscars, breaking the tradition of the previous year's Best Actor winner announcing the current year's Best Actress award and vice versa.
  • Manhattan Melodrama came into full publicity not with the film itself, but with how the notorious Midwestern gangster John Dillinger was fatally gunned down by FBI agents outside the Biograph Theater after watching the film. One of the cast members expressed disgust over the whole matter surrounding Dillinger's death eclipsing the film itself.
  • Melancholia gets remembered more for the infamous interview of its director Lars von Trier about how he empathized with the Nazis, and then how that got him banned from Cannes.
  • The 1987 Brazilian film A Menina do Lado ("The Girl Next Door", not to be confused with the 2004 film) is, similar to fellow 80s Brazilian film Amor Estranho Amor (mentioned above), best remembered for the controversy caused by its premise: A middle-aged man falling in love with an underage girl, played by an actual underage girl (a 14-year-old to be exact). It went to the point that the filmmakers actually had to explain the tricks used to simulate the sex scenes between the two leads, but which still involved the underage girl having nude scenes and kissing his several-decades-older co-star on the mouth. Interestingly, in later years it was noted that as big as the controversy it caused was, it was for some reason still overshadowed by the one caused by Amor Estranho Amor.
  • As mentioned above, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is infamous as the film for which Henry Cavill grew a mustache which then had to be awkwardly CGI-ed out in Justice League. This got worse when it was revealed that Paramount outright refused a suggestion that since adding a CGI mustache is a much easier process than taking one off, they could do the effects work themselves and threatened Cavill with a breach of contract lawsuit if he shaved it off. This led to a bunch of jokes about people wanting to see the film just for how amazing-looking and plot-important this mustache obviously is.
  • Mohammad, Messenger of God was plagued by this from the start. False rumors that it actually portrayed the Prophet Mohammad onscreen, condemnation from numerous Muslim clerics, funding from Muammar Gaddafi, violent protests abroad and a terrorist attack in Washington, D.C. conspired to make Mohammad notorious for reasons other than its artistic merits.
  • Monster a-Go Go is a 1965 creature-feature B-movie that likely would've been completely forgotten if not for Mystery Science Theater 3000 digging it up thirty years later, and from there it attained an infamy even by the standards of films featured on the show due to having what many have called perhaps the single worst twist ending in the history of cinema, in which the protagonists pursue the eponymous creature into a sewer, only to simultaneously realize that the monster never existed, with no explanation given as to why so many people would think there was a monster, what caused them to realize there wasn't one, how the supposedly nonexistent monster could clearly really kill people, and so forth.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian was considered by the troupe to be their best movie, but the protests surrounding its alleged blasphemous content will always limit its popularity with religious viewers. At the time of release, protests by religious groups were described by the Pythons as the best publicity they could have hoped for. It really raised a lot of awareness of the film's existence and led to a much higher box office taking. No Such Thing as Bad Publicity.
  • Natural Born Killers: The film inspired a number of copycat killers who would get with a lawyer and claim that the movie inspired them to commit crimes in imitation of the fame-seeking homicidal Outlaw Couple in the film. They carefully left out that they were also on acid, but the film became rather controversial because of this in spite of its intended condemnation of media sensationalism.

  • Upon the release of An Officer and a Spy in France, the ugly shadow of Roman Polański's past sexual offense was revived yet again by another woman (photographer Valentine Monnier) accusing him of raping her when she was 18 in 1975. The affair made so much noise that several French government ministers were asked by the press if they would see the movie or not, and several screenings in Paris and Rennes had to be cancelled because of feminist protests. The film was briefly pulled out of six theaters in the Seine-Saint-Denis area before resuming screening in them by local administrative decision. The film has yet to be released in the United States, in large part because no distributor there is willing to touch a Polanski film.
  • The 2015 Peter Pan reboot Pan is primarily remembered for the controversy over Rooney Mara playing Tiger Lily, a character of Native American descent.
  • Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ owes its record-breaking success with audiences who weren't devout Christians because of this. Practically everyone in America already knew the story; unlike The Last Temptation, the plot itself wasn't revisionist in any way, so the most interesting two things about the movie for most people were that it was ridiculously violent for a "Christian" film (as well as being probably the only R-rated film in history that Christian leaders urged their congregations to see) and that it was that rare post-1945 Western film with (alleged) anti-Semitism as part of the subject matter. Gibson himself, from this film onwards, has become more of a presence in the media for his various run-ins with the law, abusive treatment of his ex-girlfriend, far-right views, and open anti-Semitism than for any of his films.
  • The 1990s thriller, The Pelican Brief received this when it was leaked that both Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington were going to have a lovemaking scene, which by itself isn't a problem, especially since it stays true to the original novel. The problem was, it resulted in a huge backlash from fans of both actors because both were considered sex symbols at the time and fans on both sides didn't want to see their movie crushes together in an interracial relationship. This resulted in the writers editing every planned romantic scene out and rewriting it so they part as just friends in the end. Afterward, Julia Roberts said she was still okay with the lovemaking scene despite the backlash, but Denzel Washington decided it was best if they didn't go through with it for the sake of the film.
  • The Predator suffered from Shane Black hiring his old friend Steve Wilder for a cameo, despite his pleading guilty to manipulating a 14-year-old into sex in 2010 (and if that wasn't bad enough, his character in the film is a sexual harasser). The studio ordered his scene cut just one day after Olivia Munn found out and brought it to their attention, and after the news was made public Black issued an apology, saying he'd realized the second chance he'd been giving Wilder wasn't deserved after doing more research into the case.
  • Pretty Baby is perhaps best-known for nude scenes involving a then-12-year-old Brooke Shields and all the backlash it received because of it.
  • The Promise (2016) was the first Hollywood film since the silent movie era to be centered on the Armenian genocide; which the government of Turkey denies took place to this day. Turkey did all that it could to bury the film, and more articles were written about their attempts to do so than about the film itself. For instance, thousands of Turkish trolls bombarded the film's IMDB page with one star reviews long before the film premiered in theaters and they could possibly have seen it (it premiered at some film festivals several months before being in theaters, yet had suspiciously already amassed tens of thousands of one-star reviews before its widespread release), and bought advance tickets to theater screenings only to ask for a refund at the last minute, ensuring the seats in theaters showing the film would be reserved and people couldn't get in. It's been speculated that the film The Ottoman Lieutenant, financed by the Turkish government, was even released to be the genocide denier's counterpart to this film (the resulting controversy being the only reason that film got any media attention at all)
  • Proof Of Life is a mixed-reviewed Box Office Bomb that's perhaps best known nowadays for being the movie where Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe had an affair during filming, which resulted in ruining her marriage to Dennis Quaid.
  • The Japanese disaster film Prophecies of Nostradamus became infamous for its gruesome depiction of mutated human beings, which was considered so disturbing that the studio was forced to withdraw the original uncut version from circulation. In addition, survivors of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were appalled by the film's depiction of radiation victims as vicious, mindless monsters, believing such a portrayal would only serve to perpetuate discrimination against those affected by radiation exposure in real life.
  • The North Korean Kaiju film Pulgasari is much more well-known for the bizarre behind-the-scenes events that led to the creation of the movie than for any actual story merits (which are, in itself, very unusual). Specifically, the South Korean director and his wife were kidnapped on the orders of Kim Jong-il himself (who was a big fan of international films, including Godzilla, and wanted North Korea to have its own film industry), forcing them to make communist propaganda movies, and then tricked the production team behind the Godzilla films into providing the costume and effects for Pulgasari (under the guise of it being a Chinese production). Pulgasari was the last film they were forced to make before they managed to escape.
  • Rambo III is an interesting case. The film didn't start out controversial. It was seen as another action-packed entry in the movie franchise. But the film would become victim to future history and politics. The film is about John Rambo and the United States helping the rebel group, the Mujahadeen, fight off the Soviet Army who was trying to invade Afghanistan, which is based on real history. However, over time the Mujahadeen splintered into bickering factions, and those that eventually came out on top became enemies of the United States and were classified as terrorist organizations, Al-Qaeda, in particular, being led by a black sheep son of a rich Middle Easterner family named Osama bin Laden. Over a decade later 9/11 happened. There is a reason you no longer see Rambo III on cable television as much as you used to, and the film is hard to find now by itself, and many streaming services also don't show it. One of the only ways you can still watch it is by getting a DVD or Blu-Ray box set of the whole Rambo film franchise.
  • Rambo: Last Blood, the Grand Finale of the Rambo series; has been largely overshadowed by accusations of xenophobia in its depiction of the villains (in particular, the Mexican cartel).
  • The only reason The Ramrodder is remembered at all is because of its connections to the Manson Family. The film was shot at the Spahn Movie Ranch, and features two actors who became members of the Family: Catherine Share and Bobby Beausoleil.
  • The Ridiculous Six is mostly remembered for the controversy that ensued over its portrayal of Native Americans, which resulted in a number of Native Americans in the cast and crew walking off in protest.
  • Saint Joan is mostly known as the movie where Jean Seberg, a 17-year-old girl with no acting experience, was atrociously miscast as Joan of Arc.
  • The 1975 Italian film Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, a Setting Update of a book written by the notorious Marquis de Sade, concerns a quartet of wealthy fascists who purchase a group of teenagers as sex slaves, subject them to every indignity imaginable (in the film's most infamous scene, the victims are force-fed their captors' feces), before finally slaughtering them once they get bored. Given its extreme content, it has naturally been dogged by controversy since its premiere. The movie is commonly brought up in debates on where the lines of free speech should be drawn, several countries have banned it, even democracies such as Australia, and it is in general impossible to bring up without getting into a discussion over whether it's a heartwrenching artistic statement about the suffering of the people in a totalitarian society or brainless, tasteless schlock that the director slapped a moral onto just to avoid coming off as a complete degenerate.
  • Saving Christmas would have been just another bad Christian movie had it not been for the already-controversial Kirk Cameron's attempts to save the movie's positive ratings from the "haters and atheists" by asking fans to add positive reviews in review aggregator sites. This ended up increasing the movie's bad ratings further when people who saw the pleas went on to add negative reviews in review aggregator sites instead, which ended up causing the film to go the near-bottom of IMDb's lowest-rated films list. It also essentially killed whatever was left of Cameron's career and reputation. It's also controversial for its message, which many felt boiled down to "It's okay to be greedy and materialistic."
  • A Serbian Film is a low budget Torture Porn flick that has been seen by few but is well known by many for being extremely bloody and disgusting, and it's been banned in several countries due to as-yet-unsubstantiated but persistent rumors that it contains footage of unsimulated child molestation. The actual plot concerns a destitute man who gets sucked into the Snuff Film industry as a way to make ends meet, and the director insists it's meant to all be a metaphor for the atrocities of The Yugoslav Wars. Most don't believe him.
  • Show Dogs was already infamous for its poor quality and for being directed by Raja Gosnell of The Smurfs, The Smurfs 2 and the Scooby-Doo live action movies infamy, but it became particularly controversial for featuring a scene where a dog is forced to have his genitals fondled by a dog show judge, which led to it being accused of normalizing child grooming, especially in the light of the #MeToo movement. Most of these scenes were edited out after the second week in theaters and the DVD release.
  • The Jacques Cousteau documentary The Silent World is famous for two things: its breathtaking underwater Scenery Porn… and the shocking cruelty to marine life including dynamiting a coral reef, severely injuring a whale and then killing all the sharks that responded to it, and riding on sea turtles as they visibly struggle to surface before they suffocate. It naturally became a huge Old Shame for Cousteau as he gained a better understanding of the environment, and he spent the rest of his life trying to make up for it as one of the world's biggest proponents of conservation.
  • Sixteen Candles, once acclaimed for its then-contemporary handling of teen angst and for being the Star-Making Role of Molly Ringwald, is now infamous for the fact that it has suffered from major Values Dissonance. Even Gedde Watanabe had a hard time being lambasted by people offended by his role as Asian Butt-Monkey Long Duk Dong.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman is best known for the Rupert Sanders-Kristen Stewart affair. While Stewart would rebound from the incident, the franchise tanked because of it, and Sanders didn't direct another film until 2017. Since then, Sanders's name has been attached exclusively to controversial projects, such as Ghost in the Shell (mentioned elsewhere on this page) and Rub and Tug.
  • Walt Disney's Song of the South, like the stories it is based on, is remembered more for the portrayal of a happy ex-slave living in the American South, and the allegations of racism that have since sprung up, than for anything other than, perhaps, "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" and Splash Mountain. This aspect of the film has made it enough of an Old Shame for Disney that they have locked it up in the Disney Vault forevermore. Even with the creation of Disney+ and its much-ballyhooed demolishing of the Vault, this film was still left out, and Splash Mountain is in the process of being reskinned into a The Princess and the Frog ride due to the controversial associations.
  • The David Bowie biopic Stardustnote  got it on the very day it was first announced, as Bowie's son Duncan Jones was quick to state that contrary to the studio's press release, no one in the family had given their approval for the film, and it didn't even have the rights to use any of Bowie's music.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness, while still the highest grossing film in the Star Trek franchise, is overshadowed by the controversial twist that Benedict Cumberbatch's character John Harrison is revealed to be Khan Noonien Singh, which resulted in fans criticising it for emulating Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and causing a Race Lift of a popular character like Khan.
  • The last two films of the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy were hit with controversies upon release. While the first film in the trilogy, The Force Awakens, got some complaints about repeating plot threads from A New Hope, it was overall well-received. The other two, however... not so much.
    • The Last Jedi, the second film in the trilogy, became the focus of one of the most heated, bitter Internet debates, with its detractors accusing the film of being a mean-spirited jab against the franchise's tropes, abandoning or unsatisfyingly wrapping up plot points from its predecessor, also accusing director Rian Johnson of dropping J. J. Abrams's ideas for the characters and story (which was later confirmed by the actors) and inserting his personal politics in it. The very passionate response from the film's detractors went so far that a Vocal Minority started harassing not just Johnson but also actress Kelly Marie Tran, who played the Base-Breaking Character Rose Tico, on social media. Tran in particular received so much harassment that she reportedly began to legitimately fear that angry fans would come after her in real life and deleted most of her social media accounts to attempt to prevent this, resulting in a firestorm of bad press covered even on news outlets unrelated to the franchise. The harassment apparently stopped when Jar-Jar Binks himself, Ahmed Best, went on record as to saying that similar attacks against him led him to contemplate suicide. Even so, the harsh response to Last Jedi became a textbook example of how toxic modern fandoms can be. Nor has it quieted any debates on the film's merits or lack thereof; years after its release, Johnson was still defending the movie, even when he was supposed to be promoting other films.
    • The next film, The Rise of Skywalker, ironically got its controversy from rectifying, clarifying, or outright ignoring the more controversial aspects of the previous film (most notably, the movie returns to the status quo, tone and humor of The Force Awakens rather than continuing where the Last Jedi left off), which ended up also dividing the fans (even those who didn't like Last Jedi thought that retconning wasn't a good idea), and also ended up dividing the critics, who were much kinder to Last Jedi than the fans who were more accepting of the following film. There was also the issue of what some of the changes entailed, such as the aforementioned Rose Tico basically being relegated to a cameo, which was seen varyingly as either a lazy way to adress the problems leveled at the character, or to have catered to the people who had harassed her actress.
  • Taxi Driver is good enough to stand on its own merits, but it will forever be linked to John Hinckley and his attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. Even Jodie Foster had to keep a low profile for many years to avoid her name to become tainted to the incident. To this day any interview with her has the host warned beforehand not to bring it up, and the few times this was ignored she simply got up and walked out without another word.
  • Terminator Salvation was dismissed by most movie critics as a rather forgettable action/sci-fi flick, and it turned out to be one of the lowest grossing movies in the Terminator franchise. Unless you're a hardcore Terminator fan, you probably don't remember much about the plot beyond "Christian Bale fights robots in the future". But there's a good chance that you do remember Bale's infamous profanity-laced rant against the film's lighting technician, which became an internet sensation when it was recorded and leaked, which forced him to issue a public apology for his behavior.
  • The French film Tom and Lola is mostly remembered for the fact that its two titular characters, a pair of prepubescent children, spend nearly the entire film stark naked.
  • Triumph of the Will and Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl are visually impressive documentaries which were way ahead of their time from a technical and artistic standpoint.note  However, it's hard to praise these films because they were intended as Nazi propaganda. Riefenstahl was never able to distance herself from all the controversy surrounding these films and herself.
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie will be forever tainted by the helicopter crash that caused the death of three actors during filming, Vic Morrow and two child actors, said child actors being illegally employed, and John Landis, the director of the segment where Vic Morrow appeared, being acquitted of manslaughter.
  • Vase de Noces is mostly a Leave the Camera Running film, starring a man with an Ambiguous Disorder and his faithful pig, going about on random hobbies and at one point porking each other. That one scene is thus the most highlighted part of the film for those who've heard of it, to the point that the DVD release even added the subtitle "The Pig F***ing Movie". Ironically, according to some critics such as Kyle Kallgren, the film's even-worse scenes (including unsimulated piglet hanging and eating feces) avoided public outcry due to being overshadowed by the one (simulated) zoophilia scene (which happens much earlier in the movie).
  • Many movies which were put on the Video Nasties list in the UK during the early 1980s have gained more notoriety for being on that list than for their actual artistic merits. In a lot of cases, the violent and/or sexual content of the movies was much exaggerated and it's obvious that the people who compiled that list probably didn't see many of the films and just based their opinion on the titles or rumors.
  • Zero Dark Thirty went from being a very strong Oscar contender — Jessica Chastain winning for Best Actress seemed like a lock — to a long shot by the time the ceremony rolled around, due to the controversy over its torture scenes.


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