15 Movies That Were Banned in the U.S.

Since the dawn of the movie industry, there have been dozens of projects that were banned within the United States. Here are 15 films that were banned from theatrical release due to their controversial content.

1. The Birth of a Nation (1915)

A soldier on the battlefield next to other soldiers and the confederate flag in black and white in The Birth of a Nation

The Birth of a Nation | David W. Griffith Corp.

This epic two-part film was buzzed about — though not always for the reasons writer and director D.W. Griffith might have hoped. Set during Civil War and Reconstruction-era United States, The Birth of a Nation stirred up controversy in many parts of the country due to its sympathetic portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan and the use of white actors in blackface in place of black actors.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People spearheaded a campaign to have The Birth of a Nation banned nationwide. Protests took place in major cities like Boston and Philadelphia. Ultimately, mayors in Chicago, St. Louis, and 10 other major cities across the U.S. refused to let the film be screened on the grounds that it could promote racial prejudice, according to Alternative Reel.