North Korea Is Far From the First Country to Freak Out Over a Film 

Although its response is definitely more extreme than most.

Most countries ban films when they fall foul of their censors. North Korea, on the other hand, threatens war.

The hermit kingdom has warned the release of a Hollywood film about the attempted assassination of its “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Un would be an “act of terrorism” and threatened "merciless" retaliation.

“Making and releasing a movie on a plot to hurt our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated," a North Korean spokesman was quoted by the state-run KCNA news agency as saying.

The spokesman didn’t identify the movie, but we all know its the forthcoming action-comedy "The Interview" starring James Franco and Seth Rogen.

Check out the film's trailer on YouTube.

While the North’s reaction to the movie does seem a little over the top, it isn’t the first time a foreign film has caused a nation’s government to freak out.

Here are six films that have caused a spike in global tensions at one time or another.

The 10 Conditions of Love

The Australian documentary "10 Conditions of Love" about exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer infuriated the Chinese government, which considers her a terrorist.

Before the official launch of the documentary at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2009, the Chinese consulate in Australia’s second largest city demanded festival organizers cancel the screening. They refused.

The festival received hundreds of emails criticizing it for showing the film and its website was hacked.

Not surprisingly, ticket sales for the documentary spiked after news of the controversy broke.


The Iranian government took issue with the Oscar-winning film’s "unrealistic portrayal" of Iran during the 1979 seizure of the American embassy in Tehran.

Iranian authorities hired controversial French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who represented Venezuelan-born terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, to lodge a case against the makers of "Argo" and, while she's at it, other Hollywood films in an international court.

In "Argo," which was released in 2012, the CIA — with Canada’s help — rescues six US diplomats who had managed to escape from the US embassy compound before it was taken over by young Iranian revolutionaries.

More than 60 Americans were held hostage for 444 days.

"The Iranophobic American movie attempts to describe Iranians as overemotional, irrational, insane and diabolical while at the same, the CIA agents are represented as heroically patriotic," Iran’s State TV previously reported.

District 9

The 2009 independent science fiction film "District 9" was banned in Nigeria for its portrayal of Nigerians as “criminals, cannibals and prostitutes.”

In the movie, alien refugees are given permission to live in a shantytown called District 9 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Nigerian gangsters operate a black market trade in illegal weapons, canned cat food and prostitution with the aliens.

"Why do they want to denigrate Nigerians as criminals, cannibals and prostitutes who sleep with extra-terrestrial animals?" then Information Minister Dora Akunyili was quoted as saying.

"We've had enough with the stereotypes they have branded us with ... we are not going to sit back and allow people to stigmatize us."


Indonesian censors couldn’t stomach the 2009 Australian film "Balibo," which alleges a group of Australian-based journalists known as the Balibo Five were deliberately killed by the Indonesian military during the 1975 invasion of East Timor.

The five journalists were killed in the border town of Balibo when Indonesian forces took over. The Indonesian government has always claimed they died in the crossfire.

The incident has long been a thorn in the side of Australia-Indonesia relations. The film was banned shortly before it was due to be screened at the Jakarta International Film Festival.

Nearly four decades later, the Australian Federal Police is investigating the killings of the newsmen after an Australian magistrate ruled they died “from wounds sustained from being shot and/or stabbed deliberately and not in the heat of battle, by members of the Indonesian Special Forces.”

Rambo 4

The hyper-violent Rambo 4, which stars Sylvester Stallone as the Vietnam war veteran John Rambo, fell foul of Myanmar censors when it was released in 2008 for its depiction of the country's military as sadistic and evil.

In the follow-up to the classic 1980s film trilogy, Rambo fights Myanmar forces to rescue a group of kidnapped Christian missionaries who have been helping oppressed ethnic Karen villagers.

Of course, slapping a ban on Rambo 4 only made the film more sought after in the Southeast Asian country.

Born American

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Finland was anxious to maintain good relations with its much bigger neighbor. And that included banning films it thought might offend Moscow — including those made in Finland.

In the anti-Russian film "Born American," which was released in 1986 and ranked as the most expensive Finnish film ever to have been made at that time, three American students vacationing in Finland crossed the border into the Soviet Union for fun.

They are captured by trigger-happy Russian soldiers and thrown into a prison, which they manage to escape in a hail of gunfire and explosions.

Finnish censors decided to err on the side of caution and ban the film.

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