11 movies that were banned in the Philippines

Were these films really too much for the Filipino audience? We’ll let you decide

Sinehub Admin

June 30, 2020
11 movies that were banned in the Philippines
It's always the forbidden and controversial things that pique our curiousity the most. And the same goes for movies. 

Here’s a list of films that were banned from having a wide release in the Philippines for being too blasphemous, too offensive, too risqué, or too violent for the local audience.

But is it really? Well, check them out and you decide. 

1. Live Show (2001)

Originally titled "Toro", this film is about the lives of the young and poor characters who resorted to performing live fornication on stage just to earn money. 

The film was first given an X-rating by the MTRCB. Then, a "second (expanded) review committee" was created and gave the producer, Regal Films, permission to distribute. It ran in cinemas for two weeks. 

However, the Catholic church criticized the government for allowing a film that shows frontal nudity to be released. After much deliberation, the film was finally banned completely from Philippine cinemas. 

2. Ang Batang Tulisan (1938) 

Rod Avlas' "Ang Batang Tulisan" was hounded by controversy for having a priest portrayed as a villain, for using hypodermic needle as a weapon, and for having an "amorous" scene happen between 10-year-old characters. It was banned for release. 

3. Ang Lalaki sa Buhay ni Selya (1998)

This film became controversial for its homosexual love scenes in 1998, a time when depiction of homosexuality in Philippine mainstream media was still a taboo. 

Although side-eyed in the Philippines, "Ang Lalaki sa Buhay ni Selya" received a Special Jury Award at the 1998 Turin International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

4. Hubad na Bayani (1977)

"Hubad na Bayani" depicted the human rights violations during the time of Martial Law in the Philippines, which made former President Ferdinand Marcos ban its release. This film inspired the naked heroes protest in the University of the Philippines, now called Oblation Run.  
5. Orapronobis (1989)


A political feature, "Orapronobis" was banned by former President Corazon Aquino for its subversive themes. The film contains criticisms against the government after the 1986 EDSA Revolution. 

However, after its premiere at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, it was finally allowed in PH theaters. 

6. Imelda (2003)

"Imelda" is a documentary about the former first lady, Imelda Marcos. It delved into her childhood up to her life alongside her late husband and former President Ferdinand Marcos. 

Imelda did not like the finished product, so she had it banned in the country. 

7. The Last Temptation of Christ (1987)

This Martin Scorsese film depicted Jesus living like a normal man and being tempted by Satan. It was tagged as "anti-religious" and "blasphemous".

8. Dear Uncle Sam (1989)

"Dear Uncle Sam" was banned in the country for presenting a critical view against the American military bases in Clark and Subic, Pampanga. 

9. Schindler’s List (1993)

Historical drama "Schindler's List" shows the horror during the time of the Holocaust. It was banned in the country for having frontal nudity. Director Steven Spielberg decided to pull out the film from Philippine theaters after the MTRCB requested for the nudity to be edited out. 

Then-president Fidel V. Ramos eventually allowed screenings of the film, but for audiences 16-year-olds and above only. 

10. The Da Vinci Code (2006)

"The Da Vinci Code" immediately faced backlash in the PH, for being "offensive and contrary to established religious beliefs which cannot take precedence over the right of the persons involved in the film to freedom of expression.” 

The movie, however, was only banned in certain malls. It was still permitted to run in other theaters with an R-18 rating. 

11. Movies starring Claire Danes 

In 1998, actress Claire Danes was declared persona-non-grata by the Philippine government after describing the country’s capital city, Manila, as “ghastly and weird”. Manila city councilors also banned her films from showing in theaters in their vicinity. 

Here are more shocking truths about your favorite films!



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