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Sony's "The Interview:" not the first film to cause a stir

Workers remove a poster-banner for
Workers remove a poster-banner for "The Interview" from a billboard in Hollywood, California, December 18, 2014 a day after Sony announced was cancelling the movie's Christmas release due to a terrorist threat.

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The extent of the blow-back from Sony's "The Interview" and the studio's decision to pull the plug on it caught many by surprise. After all, this is by no means the first time a film has caused such an uproar.  

One film that stands out for addressing controversial issues is the 1940 movie  "The Great Dictator," in which the great Charlie Chaplin depicted Adolf Hitler. Here is a powerful speech he gave at the end of the film:

Much later, Martin Scorsese's 1988 film, "The Last Temptation of Christ," was met with outrage by many Christians for showing Jesus Christ struggle with various forms of temptation, including fear, doubt, and lust. Most notably, the film portrays Christ in a marriage and intimate physical relationship with Mary Magdalene.

Here is actor Willem Defoe in the role of Jesus Christ, describing his struggles as the Son of God:

"The Last Temptation of Christ" opened amid protests in the United States and was censored and banned outright in several other countries, including Mexico, Chile, and Argentina.

More recently, one film caused more amusement than controversy in the United States, but didn't go over especially well in some other countries overseas. Sasha Baron Cohen's "Borat," about a fake and incredibly offensive Kazakh reporter, was originally denounced by Kazakhstan and banned in Russia because of scenes like this: 

Despite the initial outrage, a few years later, the movie was actually credited by Kazakh officials for increasing tourism. Perhaps any press is good press.

Throughout the history of film, many more pictures have faced condemnation from one group or another. For more on Hollywood's long history of stirring the pot, Take Two spoke with Gloria Shin, Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Loyola Marymount University.