What movie was the most prohibited from screens?
Cannibal Holocaust is often claimed to be banned in almost 60 countries (the IMDb states it holds the world record for the film banned in the most countries . The exact number has never been verified, however, as the producers have never released an actual list of the countries which have banned the film.
According to the IMDb, Cannibal Holocaust is known to be banned in at least eight countries as of 2006.
Countries where Cannibal Holocaust is banned:
-Germany (uncut version only)
-New Zealand (both versions banned outright as of July 2006)
-South Africa (Film seized in the 1980s. Uncut version only)
-UK (uncut version only)
Countries that previously banned Cannibal Holocaust:
-Australia (Banned from 1984-2005, now uncut)
-Finland (Banned from 1984-2001, now uncut)
-Italy (Banned from 1980-1984, now uncut)
-Norway (Banned from 1984-2005, now uncut)
-UK (Banned from 1984-2001. Ban has been lifted, but only with the film cut)
-West Germany (Country no longer exists)
-South Africa (Film was seized in the 1980s, but was never banned per se. It received an XX rating which prevented it from being sold in the country. A cut version has now been released with an 18+ rating).
There were also the dodgy horror movies such a Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Driller Killer, these were banned all over the place and only recently started coming out again.
I suggest you look into the history of Tod Browning's FREAKS. This one was banned everywhere in its time, although of course it's not difficult to get now.
I think Dario Argento's "Susperia" was when it first came out. So were a couple of his other flicks.
The word "prohibited" suggests that people wanted to see the film but weren't given the chance. In that sense, 'Citizen Kane' may be the "most prohibited", since the number of people who otherwise would have seen it in its original release would have been thousands of times greater than the number who would have chosen to see 'Cannibal Holocaust', 'Suspiria', or even 'Freaks'.
Orson Welles, the boy-wonder of radio drama, was extremely popular and respected as an actor and director when he turned to Hollywood and created 'Citizen Kane'. He was given full control of the production, rare for even an experienced and proven director, and incredible for a young beginner. The film itself was highly innovative artistically, and is still the most critically acclaimed film of all time. Had it been given a normal release, it would have broken records for box office sales.
Of course, "prohibited" also suggests government censorship, and 'Citizen Kane' wasn't banned by any government. Its release was limited to a handful of theaters by the financial power of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, because the film included a vicious attack on himself and his company.
There may have been some legitimate basis for criticizing Hearst's monopolistic and low-brow newspaper empire, but the film didn't limit itself to such criticism. Instead it attacked the character and personality of Hearst and his girlfriend, and in ways that had no basis in fact. Welles created a pathetic character who was obviously intended to represent Hearst's girlfriend Marion Davies, but that character was the antithesis of the real Davies. The title character, played by Welles, was obviously intended to represent Hearst, but actually had little of Hearst's personality or life history, and resembled Welles himself more than it resembled Hearst.
Hearst's counter-attack went beyond 'Citizen Kane' and ruined Welles' career. It remains one of the great enigmas of film history, why someone as gifted and commercially successful as Welles would use such underhanded tactics to provoke someone whom he had no quarrel with and who could do him so much harm.