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Classic Movies That Were So Obscene They Made Audiences Uncomfortable

What does it mean to watch an obscene film? Is an obscene film simply a film that’s laced with profanity, graphic violence, and pornographic content with the ultimate intention of causing the audience members to shift in their seats?

That’s certainly one type of obscene film but for this video, we wanted to explore some classic movies that were so obscene they made audiences uncomfortable. Audiences didn’t become uncomfortable simply because of the visuals – but of the messages that these films displayed.

These classic movies held up a mirror to society. Audiences complaining about their obscenity had to perhaps look a bit deeper into society – to see what real obscenity meant!

Let’s delve into a few classic movies that were so obscene they made audiences uncomfortable…


One of the biggest victims of today’s free speech battles is academic freedom – whether in our universities or our schools. Over 60 years ago there was a film – based on a play – that covered such a battle in a small Southern town.

It was based on an actual trial about a teacher who wished to teach Evolution in a town where Creationism was believed, and Evolution was a dismissed theory. The film is a courtroom drama on whether the teacher had the right to teach what he saw fit.

This made audiences uncomfortable as the idea on how the universe began was – and still is – a hot-button debate within the United States. It also made audiences think deeply about our culture divides, the battles between science and religion, and the principle of freedom of speech – still battles that exist in our society today.

While the play focused on academic freedom, it was inspired by the stifling of intellectual discussions during the McCarthy era in the United States.

Look at the lack of debate, cancel culture, and hostility in today’s schools and universities and you’ll see that Inherit the Wind was way ahead of its time. The 1960 film was a huge hit and is still considered to be one of the most shocking American films that made audiences uncomfortable.

It’s been remade several times as a film and the play is still popular among theater students today.

Are you enjoying this video so far? Have you seen Inherit the Wind? Before we tell you more about a few classic movies that were so obscene they made audiences uncomfortable, why not “like” this video and subscribe to FactsVerse for more current news and interesting stories. Now, let’s consider a classic movie that was shockingly ahead of its time…



We live in a world where Big Brother, is sadly watching us, and he never seems to blink. We’ve gotten used to mass surveillance and have to find ways to outsmart governments and corporations to protect us.

But what’s perhaps even more frightening is that we are spied on by our fellow citizens. If you say the wrong thing, you can expect smartphones to get pulled out to record you – in an effort to cancel you.

But this is just one problem in our voyeuristic society. Hidden cameras are used to spy on women – recording them in intimate moments to satisfy someone’s sick pleasure.

This evil was shown in a 1960 British film called Peeping Tom. It was directed by the great British director Michael Powell – who’s career ended with the release of this disturbing film. The film was a flop and was condemned as vile and pornographic by audiences and critics alike. The film today, however, is considered a classic and is a movie that’ll still make audiences uncomfortable and make them think.

It follows a professional photographer who sometimes uses his camera to spy on women whom he lusts after. It analyzes the sickness and the lengths that some will go through to satisfy their lust. The dangers of voyeurism have perhaps never been illustrated more graphically than in Peeping Tom.

The film isn’t just about voyeurism but also looks at darker themes that few filmmakers wanted to explore at the time. This included sexual attraction, child abuse, loneliness, sexual morality, sexual repression, and even sadomasochism.

The film was heavily censored in parts of Europe and was even completely banned in Finland until 1981. While it might be over 60 years old, it’ll still shock you to this day.



Based on the novel by Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange is easily one of the most controversial films of all time. Many films that were once considered ‘shocking’ or obscene lose that status as audiences become more desensitized overtime.

However, the same can’t be said for A Clockwork Orange which is still one of the most disturbing films ever made. It’s a film that explores our obsession and almost fascination with violence and how we eventually become desensitized to graphic violence, murder, rape, and antisocial behavior.

The film follows Alex and his friends as they inflict harm upon innocent people in a dystopian Britain. The second half of the film shows how a mental asylum tries to make Alex into a more gentle person by forcing him to watch violent content.

The film was so controversial that it was heavily censored and even banned in some countries. Rather than deterring audience members from violence, there were some fans who felt inspired to be violent based on what they saw in the film. A Clockwork Orange launched the battle of whether art can convince us to commit horrific acts. The same battles we’ve had about novels, TV shows, rap music, and video games all started with the shock that came when A Clockwork Orange.

Even director Stanley Kubrick was eventually disturbed by the horrors committed by some fans of the film. He pulled the film from cinemas and even sued a bar that screened the film.

It was only after Stanley Kubrick’s death in 1999 that the film was released on DVD. While there are other films that are perhaps more violent, there’s still never been a film like A Clockwork Orange that made audiences uncomfortable 50 years ago and is likely to do the same today.



Few films have captured American audiences more than Taxi Driver and few characters have been as haunting as Travis Bickle – played by Robert De Niro. This film, directed by Martin Scorsese, was written by Paul Schrader – during a particularly dark time in his life where he felt incredibly lonely.

Loneliness is one of the themes of this film. Vice is another. Taxi Driver follows Travis as he drives around the streets of New York each night without having many meaningful interactions with others. His social awkwardness leads him to strange situations – such as taking a woman on a date to a pornographic film.

As he drives around New York he observes drug dealers, junkies, and prostitutes and he loathes their behavior. He befriends a teenage prostitute, Iris, and decides to rescue her from her pimp.

The film was and still is controversial because of its dark themes. It also shows us what can happen when we feel lonely and isolated from the rest of the world. The films subtle racist tones would not allow it to get made in our politically correct America of today. Travis Bickle is a white war veteran who’s disgusted by black pimps and prostitutes. The pimp which he rescues Iris from is often dressed as a Native American while Travis decides to sport Cowboy boots!

The discomfort that audiences felt while watching Taxi Driver is what made us look deeper into a changing America. One that had moved away from the family-oriented conservative culture that we associated with the 1950s.

One controversial scene in the film involved a failed assassination attempt on a politician. Several years later, John Hinckley Hooper, claimed that his attempt to assassinate President Reagan was inspired by Taxi Driver.


Sexuality has become a part of American life and we’ve almost become desensitized and unashamed of explicit material. Social media is full of images of women showing off their bodies and internet pornography is no longer the domain of professional porn stars. Everyday women are using the internet to show off their bodies and are profiting from lust.

After the pleasure secedes, we realize that we’re living in a dystopia where we’ve commoditized sex and that the human body has moved away from its sacredness. One can only imagine how many damaged women are living among us after showing off their bodies online.

In 1979, Paul Schrader wrote and directed a harrowing film that told such a tale. Hardcore follows a single father from a religious Midwestern town searching for his teenage daughter.

He ends up in Los Angeles only to find out that his daughter has been embroiled in the hardcore pornographic industry. The film is a nightmare for any father to watch and it’s one that made audiences stop and think about the increasingly permissive society that America had become.

In the 21st century, the world of Hardcore seems tame. But it’s perhaps an even more relevant film today and one that’ll make audiences uncomfortable once again. But perhaps it’s a difficult topic that we need to confront once again.

Are you a fan of any of these classic movies? What do you think about them today – do they still hold up?

In fact, here’s what we’d like to know from your end:

Do you think that there are films today that make us think about society and our modern life? Or are today’s ‘obscene’ films only meant to shock us and not awaken our minds?

Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.

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