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This video shows a selection of the first banned films ever, including the very first example of film censorship.



No sooner had film been invented in the late 1800, than people produced films that crossed boundaries in terms of taste and acceptability. The medium of film was still finding it’s feet, and no formal censorship boards existed. Films were often banned by local authorities for a variety of sometimes ridiculous reasons.




We’ve collected a few of the first films to be censored. They are:

1. Carmencita (1894)

This silent film was banned from theatres in Newark, New Jersey by the city’s mayor.

Why? The dancer’s underwear is visible (a large petticoat). It is the first known example of film censorship.

2. Bedtime for the Bride (1896)

This film is generally considered to be the first ‘Adults Only’ film.

Why? We don’t know. Not much happens. It is perhaps offensive for the suggestion that the couple featured are about to have sex.


3. Fatima’s Coochee-Coochee Dance (1896)

This was the first film to be censored using white bars. The film shows both the censored and uncensored versions.


4. After The Ball (ca. 1897)

This silent French film, originally titled Après le bal is the first known film to feature nudity. By today’s standards it is tame, as the actress is wearing a corset.

The film was directed by Georges Méliès, who later married the star, Jehanne d’Alcy.

5. Re-enactment of the Massacre at Wounded Knee (1909)

This film was made by the scout and hunter Buffalo Bill.

It was banned due to the sympathetic portrayal of Native Americans.

6. Gone With The Wind (1939)

In 1939 the MPA board made a decision to allow use of the words ‘damn’ and ‘hell’ in films. Prior to this, the use of these words would result in a $5,000 fine.

Two months later after the decision, Gone With The Wind was released with the line ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn‘.

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