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5 Hollywood Films Banned in the Philippines

Films Banned in the Philippines
James Francisco

With Vietnam recently prohibiting the release of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie in cinemas, the Philippines is the next possible Southeast Asian neighbor to ban the film due to a frame in the movie that features a map with the controversial “nine-dash line.” Warner Bros. commented on the issue, noting the map was intended as a doodle of Barbie’s make-believe journey, straying from making any type of statement. With its outcome hanging in the balance, it isn’t the first time cinemas in the country have blacklisted films before its release.

Apart from the Mattel-inspired film, several notable releases in the Philippines have received the same flak from local rating agencies. Here are several motion pictures that have a tumultuous relationship with Filipino audiences.

Schindler's List (1993)

1993 bore witness to the rise of Stephen Speilberg through “Schindler’s List,” a film adaptation of the 1982 novel “Schindler’s Ark.”

Set during the Holocaust, the story follows German businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) attempting to save over a thousand Jewish refugees from their imminent demise. Sexually explicit scenes and nudity caused it to be blacklisted in the Philippines, while Malaysia and Indonesia banned the film due to “material offensive to Muslim majorities.”

With the country petitioning to remove troubling scenes, Spielberg pulled “Schindler’s List” from Philippine cinemas. President Fidel Ramos issued an intervention for its release, but only for viewers aged 16 and above.

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Dan Brown’s controversial mystery-thriller novel was not distinctly beloved by its Filipino audience. 2006’s “The Da Vinci Code” take into alternative religious history did not rest well with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), noting the film to be “the most pornographic and blasphemous film in history.”

Supplementing its stance, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) rated the film 18+—resulting in an immediate blacklist from SM Cinemas (which abided by the no R-18 media policy) and Manila.

Brüno (2009)

Sacha Baron Cohen is no stranger to notoriety, considering his history of starring in mockumentary films such as “Borat” and “The Dictator.” 2009 would see the British actor-comedian assume the role of a flamboyant homosexual Austrian fashion reporter, Brüno Gehard, captured in a documentary-esque format. The film embraced a dark-comedic display and was initially banned due to its homosexual obscenity, though lifted and heavily edited by the MTRCB under an R-18 rating.

Abominable (2019)

Even DreamWorks’ computer-animated productions received a permanent removal from Philippine Cinemas. 2019’s Abominable tackles an unconventional bond between humans and myth, depicting the Abominable Snowman in a fuzzy and friendly light.

Despite being suitable for all audiences, the release of the DreamWorks-Pearl Studio adventure film drew controversial outlooks from Southeast Asian nations due to the portrayal of the contested demarcation line on a map—a sensitive issue among countries involved in territorial disputes with China.

Uncharted (2022)

Multi-award-winning video game franchise Uncharted made its big-screen debut with action-adventure icons Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg at the helm. Regardless of its support from the gaming community, the movie received a ban similar to DreamWorks’ ‘Abominable’ for showcasing a two-second frame treasure map inclusive of (once again) the “nine-dash line” policy.

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9 months ago

Not even mention of the worst and most despicable film to ever hit the screen, “A Serbian Film?”

8 months ago
Reply to  Limar

It says Hollywood films that have been banned, hun. When did Serbian film became a Hollywood film

8 months ago
Reply to  Jam

When a dumbo named Limar mentioned it.

Cha cha dasigan
Cha cha dasigan
8 months ago

Even the sausage party contain explicit content

8 months ago

It’s weird how gory and violent films can pass mtrcb but homosexual content gets cut. Like seriously? Being gay wont hurt anyone. Even nudity is frowned upon but you can watch violent shows on Public TV. How twisted our world is.

7 months ago

And wht about Pornhub and xhamster short films?

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