List of Banned Disney Movies: A History of Censorship

Disney movies are beloved by generations of fans, but not every Disney film has been met with such adoration. Some of these films have been banned for their content or themes, either in certain countries or in broader distribution. From films accused of racism to those banned for LGBTQ+ content, we take a look at some of the most famous Disney movies that have been banned throughout history.

A Brief History of Disney Movies

Walt Disney Studios has been producing movies since the 1930s, with classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella becoming household names.

However, Disney movies have not been immune to controversy. Many of the films from the early days contain racist stereotypes that are now seen as unacceptable, while others have been accused of promoting negative gender or cultural stereotypes. It is worth noting, however, that Disney has taken steps to address these concerns in recent years.

Top Banned Disney Movies

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

The second movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was banned in China for unclear reasons. Some speculate it was because of the film’s supernatural elements or because it included scenes of cannibalism.

2. Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Released by Disney in 2017, this live-action adaptation of the animated film of the same name was banned in Kuwait and Malaysia for one scene that hints at a male character being gay. The scene shows LeFou, played by Josh Gad, dancing with another man during the song “Gaston.”

3. Christopher Robin (2018)

The lovable and innocent Winnie the Pooh is usually uncontroversial, but the 2018 film “Christopher Robin” faced a surprising setback in China. The cause was completely out of the honey-loving bear’s control, as it was due to the power of internet memes.

In 2013, a picture comparing Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pooh circulated on the web, which quickly became a full-on phenomenon. Unfortunately, the Chinese government did not take kindly to the continued comparisons, resulting in the film being denied a Visa to Chinese theaters.

It’s fascinating to see how internet culture can have such a huge impact on the creative industries, even when it comes to a classic character like Winnie the Pooh.

4. Onward (2020)

This animated film features a lesbian character voiced by openly queer actress Lena Waithe. It was banned in several Middle Eastern countries for its LGBTQ+ content.

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5. West Side Story (2021)

“West Side Story” has received a modern facelift from one of the greatest directors of our time, Steven Spielberg. Its music has always been a beloved classic, but Spielberg’s adaptation comes with a few adjustments to the source material.

Perhaps the most notable change is the reinterpretation of the role of Anybodys, who is now portrayed as a transgender character.

This update allowed nonbinary actor Iris means to represent their community and brought a fresh perspective to the film. However, this decision also led to a ban in several Persian Gulf countries.

Despite the controversy, Disney chose to resist calls for censorship, ultimately editing out intimate scenes to ensure the film’s release in the United Arab Emirates. Overall, the “West Side Story” remake has sparked important conversations about representation and cultural sensitivity.

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6. Eternals (2021)

“Eternals,” a superhero movie released by Disney’s Marvel Studios, was banned in several countries for its LGBTQ+ content. The film features a brief onscreen kiss between two male characters, which resulted in it being banned in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar.

7. Lightyear (2022)

Disney’s another infamous film “Lightyear” has caused controversy in parts of the Middle East and surrounding regions due to a scene featuring a same-sex kiss.

The film was not released in countries like Russia, Malaysia, or Kazakhstan, and was met with criticism from the film boards of many Arab nations.

However, it’s worth noting that the kiss came close to being completely cut from the film. Allegedly, the scene was removed ahead of release but was reinstated following employee pressure after Disney voiced concerns about the Don’t Say, Gay Bill.

Despite this, the inclusion of such representation is still a significant step for Disney, especially in the family entertainment space.

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8. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Released in 2022 “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is a series in the line that not only is the sequel to the popular “Doctor Strange” film, but it also introduces America Chavez to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

However, Chavez’s queer identity and having two mothers caused major controversy in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar – countries that refused to release the film. Even Egypt was not pleased with the character’s depiction.

Despite pressure from Saudi Arabia’s film board to cut the references to Chavez’s mothers, Disney refused to back down.

The film also faced a ban in China for including a yellow newspaper box for The Epoch Times, a news outlet blocked in mainland China. Despite these setbacks, fans are eager to see Chavez make her live-action debut, hoping she will find more welcoming multiverses in the future.

Lesser-Known Banned Disney Movies

Disney has produced a number of lesser-known films that have been banned. Some notable examples include:

  • Song of the South (1946) – This film was banned in the United States for its portrayal of Black people and the Reconstruction era.
  • The Three Caballeros (1944) – This film was banned in several Latin American countries for its stereotypes of their culture.
  • Fantasia (1940) – This film was initially banned in Australia because of a scene featuring “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” where Mickey Mouse dressed as a wizard.

Conclusion :- Disney movies have a rich history, but not every film from The House of Mouse has been met with universal acclaim. Some have been banned for their content or themes – including for their treatment of race or LGBTQ+ characters. While these movies may be controversial, they are still worth examining as a part of Disney’s legacy.