- Copy from this list
- Report this list
Most violent movies
Somewhat ordered (not really) list of the most violent, brutal, gory, gruesome films. Some of those movies try to hide the lack of creativity behind disgusting things, but at least I remember them because of their violence/gore in serious situations. The violence from films in this list has no comic purpose, or at least it's not the main one.
- Movies or TV
- IMDb Rating
- In Theaters
- Release Year
1. Trauma (II) (2017)
Not Rated | 106 min | Action, Drama, Horror
Four friends, partying in a house in the middle of nowhere are brutally attacked by a man and his son, forcing the remaining women to take vengeance upon them.
Director: Lucio A. Rojas | Stars: Catalina Martin , Macarena Carrere , Dominga Bofill , Ximena del Solar
Tries to make a statement about the origin of evil. It's Atroz's level of violence but with decent cinematography and good special effects. It is disturbing and not badly made, even though the plot is weak and the point of the movie didn't need this much violence/sex. There is one death in the movie that I'll always remember. Be careful if you want to watch this, Trauma can leave scars.
2. The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) (2011)
Not Rated | 91 min | Horror
Inspired by the fictional Dr. Heiter, disturbed loner Martin dreams of creating a 12-person centipede and sets out to realize his sick fantasy.
Director: Tom Six | Stars: Laurence R. Harvey , Ashlynn Yennie , Maddi Black , Kandace Caine
Votes: 41,908 | Gross: $0.12M
Pure filth on purpose. Welp (but at least it's not amteurish like some previous entries on this list)
3. Atrocious (2015)
79 min | Horror
While examining a traffic accident where a woman was badly hurt, the unorthodox police commander finds proof of even more gruesome facts and decides to deal out vengeful justice.
Director: Lex Ortega | Stars: David Aboussafy , Abigail Bonilla , Ricardo Brito , Alberto Hernandez Campusano
Some kind of mexican August underground but even more gruesome and even worse. There is not justification for the presence of the camera in the found footage style flashbacks, so it's hard to take what happens seriously. Atroz tries so hard to be something else that just another shitty movie with ultra violence that there is a " plot twist " at the end (don't really know if I can talk about such thing as a " plot " here though). Pointless disgusting shit.
4. A Serbian Film (2010)
NC-17 | 104 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
An aging porn star agrees to participate in an "art film" in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film.
Director: Srdjan Spasojevic | Stars: Srdjan 'Zika' Todorovic , Sergej Trifunovic , Jelena Gavrilovic , Slobodan Bestic
Not a bad movie but not great either. It's more a thriller than a horror movie, but the extreme violence is quite misleading. This movie is a bit nihilistic and self-concious, but I don't really know if it's in a good or in a bad way. Anyways it deserves a watch so that you can make your own opinion about this " famous " movie.
5. Terrifier (2016)
Unrated | 85 min | Horror, Thriller
On Halloween night, Tara Heyes finds herself as the obsession of a sadistic murderer known as Art the Clown.
Director: Damien Leone | Stars: Jenna Kanell , Samantha Scaffidi , David Howard Thornton , Catherine Corcoran
The climax of pointless violence. The clown was interesting and scary for the first 10 minutes but afterwards this 80 min movie doesn't do anything beside showing gruesome kills. This movie was never-ending, it did seem to last hours, and that's maybe the most terrifying thing about Terrifier . Please do yourself a favor don't watch this shit
6. Grotesque (2009)
Not Rated | 73 min | Horror, Thriller
A doctor kidnaps a young couple and forces them into a game of torment that slowly extinguishes their hopes for survival.
Director: Kôji Shiraishi | Stars: Kotoha Hiroyama , Hiroaki Kawatsure , Shigeo Ôsako , Tsugumi Nagasawa
Surprisingly not THAT bad. Still not a great movie but Gurotesuku seems to have a point. The killer is " almost " likable, and it's interesting to see why and to try to understand that's he's not just some kind of evil monster, it's a bit more nuanced than that (+the finale is really grotesque and funny)
7. August Underground (2001 Video)
Unrated | 70 min | Horror
Two serial killers go on a murdering rampage as one films the outcome from behind a video camera.
Director: Fred Vogel | Stars: Kyle Dealman , Casey Eganey , Dan Friedman , Alexa Iris
If Henry Portait of a Serial killer had been made with no budget, no subtelty, no character development and overall no cinematography.
8. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
Unrated | 95 min | Adventure, Horror
During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.
Director: Ruggero Deodato | Stars: Robert Kerman , Francesca Ciardi , Perry Pirkanen , Luca Barbareschi
Yeah it's hard to watch and yeah it contains, very sadly, animal cruelty. But if you can endure that, Cannibal Holocaust has a strong point and decades later it is still very relevant. (+first and clever use of the found footage style)
9. Inside (2007)
R | 82 min | Horror
Four months after the death of her husband, a woman on the brink of motherhood is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby.
Directors: Alexandre Bustillo , Julien Maury | Stars: Alysson Paradis , Jean-Baptiste Tabourin , Claude Lulé , Dominique Frot
One of the few movies were the ultra violence has a purpose. It is mostly realistic and, unlike most of the other films here, doesn't cross the line where the violence becomes pointless and ridiculous. À l'intérieur is genuinely frightening as a horror movie
10. I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
R | 108 min | Horror, Thriller
A writer who is brutalized during her cabin retreat seeks revenge on her attackers, who left her for dead.
Director: Steven R. Monroe | Stars: Sarah Butler , Jeff Branson , Andrew Howard , Daniel Franzese
Votes: 90,773 | Gross: $0.09M
The illustration of the law of retaliation, nothing else. No character developpement, no creative idea, pure exploitation rape and revenge. Not really interesting in my opinion.
11. Antichrist (2009)
Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller
A grieving couple retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage, but nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.
Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Willem Dafoe , Charlotte Gainsbourg , Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm
Votes: 133,730 | Gross: $0.40M
Weird. Seemed to have something to say at the beginning but eventually reveals itself as some abstract shit that doesn't really have a meaning.
12. Frontier(s) (2007)
Unrated | 108 min | Horror
A gang of young thieves flee Paris during the violent aftermath of a political election, only to hole up at an Inn run by neo-Nazis.
Director: Xavier Gens | Stars: Karina Testa , Aurélien Wiik , Patrick Ligardes , Samuel Le Bihan
Pretty efficient to deliver a thick, sticky claustrophobic atmosphere. Very violent and works OK as an horror movie. According to the director Frontière(s) has a point but it's not particularily interesting or well done. Some scenes are really frightening though.
13. High Tension (2003)
R | 91 min | Horror
Best friends Marie and Alexia decide to spend a quiet weekend at Alexia's parents' secluded farmhouse. But on the night of their arrival, the girls' idyllic getaway turns into an endless night of horror.
Director: Alexandre Aja | Stars: Cécile de France , Maïwenn , Philippe Nahon , Franck Khalfoun
Votes: 76,439 | Gross: $3.68M
Dumb movie, but some intense gore/scary scenes.
14. 7 Days (2010)
Not Rated | 105 min | Crime, Drama, Horror
A doctor seeks revenge by kidnapping, torturing and killing the man who raped and murdered his young daughter.
Director: Daniel Grou | Stars: Claude Legault , Rémy Girard , Martin Dubreuil , Fanny Mallette
Is the law of retaliation the solution to overcome the loss of someone we love ? Great movie with a mature approach on this subject.
15. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
TV-MA | 117 min | Drama
In World War II Italy, four fascist libertines round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to 120 days of physical, mental, and sexual torture.
Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini | Stars: Paolo Bonacelli , Giorgio Cataldi , Uberto Paolo Quintavalle , Aldo Valletti
Quite dull once you get the point like 20 minutes in this 2h long movie.
16. The Sadness (2021)
TV-MA | 99 min | Horror
A young couple trying to reunite amid a city ravaged by a plague that turns its victims into deranged, bloodthirsty sadists.
Director: Rob Jabbaz | Stars: Berant Zhu , Regina Lei , Ying-Ru Chen , Tzu-Chiang Wang
Over the top gore in this movie about a virus driving people mad. Light commentary about the absurd reactions individuals and government display during a pandemic.
17. Guinea Pig 2: Flower of Flesh and Blood (1985 Video)
42 min | Short, Horror
Late at night, a woman is kidnapped by an unknown assailant and taken back to his blood-spattered dungeon, where he turns her into a "flower of blood and flesh" through a series of dismemberment and evisceration.
Director: Hideshi Hino | Stars: Hiroshi Tamura , Kirara Yûgao , Anja Blagojevic
Pointless (but short at least)
18. Maniac (2012)
Not Rated | 89 min | Horror, Thriller
As he helps a young artist with her upcoming exhibition, the owner of a mannequin shop's deadly, suppressed desires come to the surface.
Director: Franck Khalfoun | Stars: Elijah Wood , Nora Arnezeder , America Olivo , Megan Duffy
Votes: 39,704 | Gross: $0.02M
Great remake. Put you in the mind of a sick man who suffers from his condition but cannot be helped. Gore and tragedy.
19. Irreversible (2002)
Not Rated | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in an underpass tunnel.
Director: Gaspar Noé | Stars: Monica Bellucci , Vincent Cassel , Albert Dupontel , Philippe Nahon
Votes: 144,092 | Gross: $0.75M
Movie known for two and especially one very intense scene (a 10/15 minutes sequence-shot of a woman beeing raped and beaten). It is hard to watch indeed. The " Memento-like editing " still feels like a cheap trick to distract viewers from the fact that this is some kind of Rape & Revenge movie, maybe with just a bit more emphasis on drama and characters than usually in these kind of movies.
20. The House That Jack Built (2018)
R | 152 min | Crime, Drama, Horror
The story follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer, over the course of twelve years, and depicts the murders that really develop his inner madman.
Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Matt Dillon , Bruno Ganz , Uma Thurman , Siobhan Fallon Hogan
Votes: 87,471 | Gross: $0.09M
Trying to understand the mind of a serial killer
21. Saw III (2006)
R | 108 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Jigsaw abducts a doctor in order to keep himself alive while he watches his new apprentice put an unlucky citizen named Jeff through a brutal test.
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman | Stars: Tobin Bell , Shawnee Smith , Angus Macfadyen , Bahar Soomekh
Votes: 208,085 | Gross: $80.24M
Nice conclusion for the original trilogy.
22. The Girl Next Door (2007)
R | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Horror
Follows the unspeakable torture and abuses committed on a teenage girl in the care of her aunt and the boys who witness and fail to report the crime.
Director: Gregory Wilson | Stars: William Atherton , Blythe Auffarth , Blanche Baker , Kevin Chamberlin
First psychologic violence then physical violence which become quit gory towards the end (even though it suggests way more than it shows). Really hard but worth watching.
23. Saw II (2005)
R | 93 min | Horror, Mystery
A detective and his team must rescue 8 people trapped in a factory by the twisted serial killer known as Jigsaw.
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman | Stars: Donnie Wahlberg , Beverley Mitchell , Franky G , Emmanuelle Vaugier
Votes: 271,174 | Gross: $87.04M
Dumb characters and dumb movie except for the great ending. The film that made Saw a " torture-porn " franchise.
24. Hostel (2005)
R | 94 min | Horror
Three backpackers head to a Slovak city that promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, with no idea of the hell that awaits them.
Director: Eli Roth | Stars: Jay Hernandez , Derek Richardson , Eythor Gudjonsson , Barbara Nedeljakova
Votes: 187,940 | Gross: $47.33M
Interesting and frightening concept but shitty film. The introduction scene itself is way better and scarier than the whole movie.
25. Martyrs (2008)
R | 99 min | Horror
A young woman's quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.
Director: Pascal Laugier | Stars: Morjana Alaoui , Mylène Jampanoï , Catherine Bégin , Robert Toupin
Self indulgent movie with weak acting, screenplay, editing. Martyrs made me laugh (almost a " nanar ") but the make-up/costumes are pretty good at least.
26. The Loved Ones (2009)
R | 84 min | Crime, Horror
When Brent turns down his classmate Lola's invitation to the prom, she concocts a wildly violent plan for revenge.
Director: Sean Byrne | Stars: Xavier Samuel , Robin McLeavy , John Brumpton , Richard Wilson
Lots of gore, crazy characters including a "yandere", metal/rock music to put emphasis on moments supposed to be "badass", long haired depressed boy and depressed goth girl. Feels like a teenager trying to make an edgy movie. Too much plotholes, overacting and overall poor writing to take seriously.
27. Devil's Weekend (2012)
Not Rated | 78 min | Horror
Cédric Dupuis, a fledgling independent filmmaker, has set out to make the most terrifying horror film of all time. But shooting without any budget to speak of and a cast of his friends, ... See full summary »
Director: Cédric Dupuis | Stars: Céline Berti , Olivier Bureau , Mickaël Collart , Raphaël Miraoui
A bad director plays a bad director who is trying to do a bad movie in this bad movie. Some violent shit here and there. Not really worth your time.
28. The Descent (2005)
R | 99 min | Adventure, Horror, Thriller
A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.
Director: Neil Marshall | Stars: Shauna Macdonald , Natalie Mendoza , Alex Reid , Saskia Mulder
Votes: 241,123 | Gross: $26.02M
Mediocre story and characters but great atmosphere. A lot of really tense, frightening, and often violent scenes throughout the movie.
29. Bone Tomahawk (2015)
Not Rated | 132 min | Drama, Horror, Western
In the dying days of the old west, an elderly sheriff and his posse set out to rescue their town's doctor from cannibalistic cave dwellers.
Director: S. Craig Zahler | Stars: Kurt Russell , Patrick Wilson , Matthew Fox , Richard Jenkins
A well written western with an ominous and tense atmosphere. Brutal final part, one scene especially.
30. The Platform (2019)
TV-MA | 94 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A vertical prison with one cell per level. Two people per cell. Only one food platform and two minutes per day to feed. An endless nightmare trapped in The Hole.
Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia | Stars: Ivan Massagué , Zorion Eguileor , Antonia San Juan , Emilio Buale
Interesting ideas but the analogy in not always possible between what happens in the movie and what it tries to describe.
31. The Snowtown Murders (2011)
Not Rated | 119 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
Based on true events, 16 year-old Jamie falls in with his mother's new boyfriend and his crowd of self-appointed neighborhood watchmen, a relationship that leads to a spree of torture and murder.
Director: Justin Kurzel | Stars: Lucas Pittaway , Daniel Henshall , Louise Harris , Bob Adriaens
Votes: 20,194 | Gross: $0.01M
Great thriller that tackle multiple themes. Features torture and psychological violence
32. Ebola Syndrome (1996)
Not Rated | 98 min | Comedy, Crime, Horror
A Chinese restaurant worker wanted for murder in Hong Kong contracts Ebola in South Africa, becomes immune to it, and unknowingly spreads the virus there, then comes back to Hong Kong and continues to infect people with it.
Director: Herman Yau | Stars: Anthony Chau-Sang Wong , Yeung-Ming Wan , Fui-On Shing , Tsui-Ling Wong
Fun cat III movie
33. The Golden Glove (2019)
Not Rated | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Horror
A serial killer strikes fear in the hearts of residents of Hamburg during the early 1970s.
Director: Fatih Akin | Stars: Jonas Dassler , Vasiliki Georgina Pseimada , Christine Jensen , Greta Sophie Schmidt
The best modern psycho-killer movie.
34. Man Behind the Sun (1988)
Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, History, Horror
Japanese troops round up Chinese and Russian prisoners of war and take them to unit 731, where they're horribly tortured and experimented on to test new biological weapons.
Director: Tun-Fei Mou | Stars: Gang Wang , Dai Yao Wu , Runshen Wang , Zhe Quan
Impressive torture scenes if you watch this in the late 80's / early 90's. Today it's a bit cheesy and even feels like a comedy at times. But the film is still worth watching, it shows what happened in this hellish place, without beeing to exploitative or feeling like propaganda against japaneses. It seems pretty factual and the directors stated he wanted to be historically accurate.
35. The Eight Immortals Restaurant: The Untold Story (1993)
Unrated | 96 min | Comedy, Crime, Horror
Macau cops begin to suspect a man running a pork buns restaurant of murder, after tracing the origin of a case full of chopped up human remains that washed ashore, which leads them to him.
Directors: Danny Lee , Herman Yau | Stars: Anthony Chau-Sang Wong , Danny Lee , Emily Kwan , Julie Lee
An exemple of Hong-Kong cat III movies.
36. Yummy (2019)
Not Rated | 88 min | Comedy, Horror
An orgy of blood, violence and fun in which a young couple travel to a shabby Eastern European hospital for plastic surgery. Once there things unravel.
Director: Lars Damoiseaux | Stars: Maaike Neuville , Bart Hollanders , Benjamin Ramon , Clara Cleymans
Great Belgian B-movie ; mixes very well horror, violence, comedy and character drama.
37. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)
Not Rated | 132 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A former boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.
Director: S. Craig Zahler | Stars: Vince Vaughn , Jennifer Carpenter , Don Johnson , Udo Kier
Several brutal action scenes. Great movie overall
38. Faces of Death (1978)
Not Rated | 105 min | Documentary, Horror
A collection of death scenes, ranging from TV material to homemade super 8 movies.
Director: John Alan Schwartz | Stars: Michael Carr , Samuel Berkowitz , Mary Ellen Brighton , Thomas Noguchi
Votes: 7,796 | Gross: $35.00M
Mondo that can be quite convincing at times
39. Eden Lake (2008)
R | 91 min | Horror, Thriller
Refusing to let anything spoil their romantic weekend break, a young couple confront a gang of loutish youths with terrifyingly brutal consequences.
Director: James Watkins | Stars: Kelly Reilly , Michael Fassbender , Tara Ellis , Jack O'Connell
Votes: 92,246 | Gross: $0.01M
Tries to make a point about the education of kids and the way parents can get offended because of what happens to their children. Eden Lake is actually full of plotholes. So it's more frustrating than scary.
40. Evil Dead (2013)
Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods.
Director: Fede Alvarez | Stars: Jane Levy , Shiloh Fernandez , Jessica Lucas , Lou Taylor Pucci
Votes: 193,839 | Gross: $54.24M
A lot of blood yeah. Subpar modern horror movie.
41. The Beyond (1981)
R | 87 min | Horror
A young woman inherits an old hotel in Louisiana where, following a series of supernatural "accidents", she learns that the building was built over one of the entrances to Hell.
Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Catriona MacColl , David Warbeck , Cinzia Monreale , Antoine Saint-John
Votes: 24,770 | Gross: $0.12M
An exemple of the gory italian movies from the 70's/80's.
42. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
R | 107 min | Horror, Thriller
A traveling family falls victim to a group of mutated cannibals in a desert far away from civilization.
Director: Alexandre Aja | Stars: Ted Levine , Kathleen Quinlan , Dan Byrd , Emilie de Ravin
Votes: 180,420 | Gross: $41.78M
Standard 2000's horror post-Hostel blockbuster movie, just a bit more violent and gory than the average. Quite forgettable nonetheless.
43. The Hunt (II) (2020)
R | 90 min | Action, Horror, Thriller
Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don't know where they are, or how they got there. They don't know they've been chosen - for a very specific purpose - The Hunt.
Director: Craig Zobel | Stars: Betty Gilpin , Hilary Swank , Ike Barinholtz , Wayne Duvall
Votes: 124,167 | Gross: $5.81M
Some violent scenes (especially the first 15 /20 minutes) but then the movie shows you its not just a vulgar Battle Royal-like. Great movie.
44. Revenge (II) (2017)
R | 108 min | Action, Drama, Horror
Never take your mistress on an annual guys' getaway, especially one devoted to hunting - a violent lesson for three wealthy married men.
Director: Coralie Fargeat | Stars: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz , Kevin Janssens , Vincent Colombe , Guillaume Bouchède
Votes: 47,078 | Gross: $0.10M
Average rape and revenge movie, but unlike pure exploitation movies like I spit on your grave this one has overall a good cinematography and a knows how to build tension (it's still the classic plot you would expect from this kind of film so nothing incredible neither).
45. Nekromantik (1988)
Not Rated | 71 min | Horror
A street sweeper who cleans up after grisly accidents brings home a full corpse for him and his wife to enjoy sexually, but is dismayed to see that his wife prefers the corpse over him.
Director: Jörg Buttgereit | Stars: Bernd Daktari Lorenz , Beatrice Manowski , Harald Lundt , Collosseo
Really " nanardesque " and funny at times but bad nonetheless.
Tell your friends, other lists by verdigri.
10 brutal movies that somehow avoided being r-rated.
Despite their dark subject matter, scary imagery, and brutal violence these movies somehow made it past the MPAA and avoided an R rating.
- Some PG-13 movies, such as Poltergeist and Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom, contained dark and scary elements that were too intense for young audiences.
- Beowulf, an animated film for adults, managed to dodge an R-rating despite featuring violent and sexual content.
- Movies like Jaws and The Ring used clever editing and filmmaking techniques to create a terrifying atmosphere, earning their scares within the confines of a PG rating.
The MPAA is the organization that gives movies their ratings based on their content; however, some brutal movies that should arguably have been R-rated snuck by with a lower rating. It makes sense that filmmakers and studios would want their movies to have lower ratings, as it means more people are allowed to go see the movie, but this can often lead to frightened children and upset parents. Whether it's dark subject matter or frightening imagery, some PG-13 movies feel like they are getting away with a lot.
From horror movies to intense action movies, to even an animated film about talking rabbits, these movies have left huge imprints on audiences who were potentially too young to be watching. These movies snuck dark and intense art past the MPAA. Here are 10 brutal movies that somehow avoided being R-rated.
Related: 10 PG-13 Movies That Would Have Been Much Better R-Rated
10 Poltergeist (1982)
When Poltergeist was released in 1982, the PG-13 rating hadn't been invented yet, so the horror film received a PG. That, plus the association of producer Steven Spielberg, meant a lot of children got to watch this classic ghost movie at a very young age. While Poltergeist isn't the most intense horror film of all time, the imagery of a man tearing his face off and a pool filled with corpses is far too frightening for small children. To this day kids are still getting nightmares from this "family" horror movie, and most of the other films in the Poltergeist franchise have been rated PG-13.
9 Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom
Raiders of the Lost Arc was a giant success and was beloved by most who saw it, including children. While the movie had its fair share of violence and intense action, it was seen as a film that could be enjoyed by most ages. So many people were shocked when the sequel featured chilling imagery of the occult, and a man's beating heart being pulled from his chest. Temple of Doom is by far the darkest and scariest Indiana Jones movie and left many parents upset that a PG movie could include so many scary elements. People at the time were so upset that this movie, along with Gremlins , led to the creation of the PG-13 rating .
8 Beowulf (2007)
When Robert Zemeckis was experimenting with motion capture technology in the 2000s, he made two holiday-themed movies for children and Beowulf , a violent, sexual, and intense action movie aimed squarely at adults. The movie features a practically naked Angelina Jolie, horrific monsters, bloody stabbings, and people being burned alive, yet somehow managed to walk away with a PG-13 rating. Being animated, Beowulf was able to get away with a lot more than a live-action film ever could. However, the animation is meant to look realistic, and it is still baffling that it dodged an R-rating.
7 Watership Down (1978)
Watership Down is an animated film about a colony of rabbits looking for a new home. It holds a PG rating and seems like a wholesome enough time, but it is one of the most violent PG movies ever made. It features brutal violence toward the rabbits, including one rabbit ripping out the throat of another. Watership Down has become notorious for how many children were absolutely scared senseless by it, and in the UK, enough people complained that the British Board of Film Classification had to change their rating from a U to a PG.
Steven Spielberg's Jaws practically invented the summer blockbuster and changed the way movies are made and marketed. Its cultural legacy is so large that it is easy to forget just how scary the film actually is. Spielberg is a master of pacing and building tension, and Jaws' use of blood and violence is genuinely affecting and bone-chilling. The movie manages to get away with a lot, considering that it holds a PG rating. Through clever editing and movie magic, Spielberg manages to make the audience think they are seeing more than they actually are. It is a film that uses PG-level visuals to an R-rating effect.
5 Sucker Punch
Zack Snyder is a filmmaker who often pushes the limit in terms of what can be shown in a PG-13 movie. Much like Batman v. Superman, Sucker Punch had to be cut down in order to receive a PG-13 rating. However, the theatrical cut of the movie still manages to be pretty brutal. The violence, while fantastical and over the top, is still quite intense for younger viewers, and the film's dark subject matter of women being abused in a mental asylum leads to many upsetting scenes. Snyder has recently teased an R-rated director's cut of Sucker Punch , so hopefully, curious audiences will be able to see his original vision for the film.
4 Batman Returns
Tim Burton's Batman Returns is one of the best Batman movies , but it is also arguably the darkest and most upsetting. Instead of the harsh realism of The Dark Knight, Batman Returns is dark in a gothic, campy way. The Penguin is portrayed as a grotesque monster who bites people's noses off, and the imagery surrounding him is often frightening and funny at the same time. While this makes for a compelling film that pleased Burton fans, it also upset parents who were outraged that such dark content made its way into a PG-13 superhero film. The backlash was so intense that McDonald's pulled the Happy Meal toys associated with the film.
3 The Ring (2002)
The American remake of Ringu managed to shock audiences not only with how good of an adaptation it was, but in how genuinely scary it was. Many would consider Gore Verbinski's remake to be one of the scariest movies of all time and for good reason. The film contains striking images that haunt the audience long after the film is over, and managed to do so with a PG-13 rating. Like Jaws, The Ring uses implications and smart editing to trick the audience into thinking they saw more than they did. It is a genuinely scary film because of the filmmaking, and not because of cheap elements that would earn it an R-rating.
The Insidious movie franchise has been delivering terrifying PG-13 horror films for over a decade, but the first one still takes the cake for feeling like it stole that rating. Insidious doesn't have the gore of Saw or the non-stop intensity of The Conjuring , but it does have genuinely well-crafted terror that would scare an audience of any age, let alone those allowed at a PG-13 movie. While the series has continued to mixed results, it's great that they can serve as gateway movies, letting younger audiences discover and get into the horror genre.
1 Drag Me to Hell
With the Evil Dead films, Sam Raimi proved he was a master of over-the-top violent horror movies. Films of that genre often set records for the amount of fake blood being used, so it was surprising when Drag Me to Hell , his return to the horror game, received a PG-13 rating. Drag Me to Hell is not as violent as the Evil Dead films, but it is still a classic Raimi horror movie that gets away with as much as it possibly can with its rating. The film never feels like it is holding back in terms of gore or scares, and the only reason it managed to avoid the R-rating is that most of it is too over the top to take seriously. That, however, is what makes the movie a blast regardless of the rating.
Log in or sign up for Rotten Tomatoes
Trouble logging in?
Email not verified
Let's keep in touch.
Sign up for the Rotten Tomatoes newsletter to get weekly updates on:
- Upcoming Movies and TV shows
- Trivia & Rotter Tomatoes Podcast
- Media News + More
OK, got it!
Movies / TV
No results found.
- What's the Tomatometer®?
Movies in theaters
- Opening this week
- Coming soon to theaters
- Certified fresh movies
Movies at home
- Netflix streaming
- Amazon prime
- Most popular streaming movies
- What to Watch New
Certified fresh picks
- The Holdovers Link to The Holdovers
- Dream Scenario Link to Dream Scenario
- Quiz Lady Link to Quiz Lady
New TV Tonight
- Colin from Accounts: Season 1
- For All Mankind: Season 4
- Rap Sh!t: Season 2
- The Curse: Season 1
- Lawmen: Bass Reeves: Season 1
- The Buccaneers: Season 1
- JFK: One Day in America: Season 1
- De La Calle: Season 1
Most Popular TV on RT
- Sex Education: Season 4
- All the Light We Cannot See: Season 1
- Blue Eye Samurai: Season 1
- Loki: Season 2
- Black Cake: Season 1
- The Fall of the House of Usher: Season 1
- Bodies: Season 1
- Ms. Marvel: Season 1
- Invincible: Season 2
- Top TV Shows
- Certified Fresh TV
- Most popular TV
Certified fresh pick
- The Curse: Season 1 Link to The Curse: Season 1
- All-Time Lists
- Binge Guide
- Comics on TV
- Five Favorite Films
- Video Interviews
- Weekend Box Office
- Weekly Ketchup
- What to Watch
100 Best Christmas Movies of All Time – Classic Christmas Films
61 Best Concert Movies of All Time
What to Watch: In Theaters and On Streaming
RT25: Celebrating 25 Years of Rotten Tomatoes
TV Premiere Dates 2023
Loki Season 2 Finale: Where Do We Go from Here?
- Trending on RT
- Shop Rotten Tomatoes
- Play Daily Tomato
- Best Movies of 2023
- New on Streaming
- New Tomatometer Scores
2022, Holiday/Action, 1h 52m
What to know
Violent Night isn't as wildly entertaining as its concept might suggest, but for those seeking harder-edged holiday fare, it may be a ho-ho-whole lot of fun. Read critic reviews
It could have taken its cool concept even further, but Violent Night is still a funny, gory good time -- and David Harbour is terrific as a Santa you won't want to mess with. Read audience reviews
Where to watch Violent Night
Watch Violent Night with a subscription on Peacock, Amazon Prime Video, rent on Apple TV, Vudu, or buy on Apple TV, Vudu.
Rate And Review
Rate this movie
Oof, that was Rotten.
Meh, it passed the time.
It’s good – I’d recommend it.
So Fresh: Absolute Must See!
What did you think of the movie? (optional)
You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.
Step 2 of 2
How did you buy your ticket?
Let's get your review verified..
AMCTheatres.com or AMC App New
Cinemark Coming Soon
We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.
Regal Coming Soon
Theater box office or somewhere else
By opting to have your ticket verified for this movie, you are allowing us to check the email address associated with your Rotten Tomatoes account against an email address associated with a Fandango ticket purchase for the same movie.
You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.
Violent night videos, violent night photos.
When a team of mercenaries breaks into a wealthy family compound on Christmas Eve, taking everyone inside hostage, the team isn't prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus (David Harbour, Black Widow, Stranger Things series) is on the grounds, and he's about to show why this Nick is no saint.
Rating: R (Some Sexual References|Language Throughout|Strong Bloody Violence)
Genre: Holiday, Action, Comedy
Original Language: English
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Producer: Kelly McCormick , David Leitch , Guy Danella
Writer: Pat Casey , Josh Miller
Release Date (Theaters): Dec 2, 2022 wide
Release Date (Streaming): Dec 20, 2022
Box Office (Gross USA): $50.1M
Runtime: 1h 52m
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Production Co: 87North
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital, Dolby Atmos
Aspect Ratio: Digital 2.39:1
Cast & Crew
News & Interviews for Violent Night
Weekend Box Office Results: Another Week, Another Win for Wakanda Forever
The 5 Most Anticipated Movies of December 2022
How David Harbour Became Santa Claus for Violent Night
Critic Reviews for Violent Night
Audience reviews for violent night.
There are no featured audience reviews for Violent Night at this time.
Movie & TV guides
Rotten Tomatoes: The Card Game
RT Podcasts: Rotten Tomatoes is Wrong
Rotten Tomatoes Gift Cards
What to Watch - In theaters & streaming
Tv/streaming, collections, great movies, chaz's journal, contributors, violent night.
Now streaming on:
One of the funniest jokes in " Scrooged ," the sometimes uneven but vastly underrated 1988 Bill Murray riff on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol , came right at the beginning with an artificial promotional trailer. Titled "The Night the Reindeer Died," it was a cheerfully cheesy bit of holiday carnage in which terrorists attempt to seize the North Pole until Lee Majors saves the day by gunning down the attackers while the guy in the red suit assures him he is being a good boy this year. As a distillation of the craven lengths that network television programmers go to attract viewers during the Yuletide season—in this case, by taking a made-for-TV knockoff of the typical Chuck Norris vehicle of that time and crudely slapping a thick seasonal glaze on the tip—it was admittedly a one-joke premise. But it happened to be a pretty funny joke, and since it only lasted for about two minutes, it was over before it could begin to wear out its welcome.
Now comes "Violent Night," a film that seems to have been designed by writers Pat Casey and Josh Miller and director Tommy Wirkola to answer the question of what a full-length version of "The Night the Reindeer Died" might have been like, augmented by over-the-top carnage that would have been unthinkable on television back then. The result, perhaps unsurprisingly, is a largely tedious cinematic lump of coal that unsuccessfully tries to stretch its one-joke premise out to 101 minutes in a tonally uneven attempt to position itself as a new alternative holiday classic. Instead, "Violent Night" is about as entertaining as listening to people argue about whether " Die Hard " is a Christmas movie or not (it isn't, FYI) while more or less wasting a genuinely committed performance from David Harbour as the Man in Red himself.
As the film opens, the supremely rich, powerful, and dysfunctional Lightstone family has gathered at the massive compound belonging to matriarch Gertrude ( Beverly D'Angelo ) to celebrate, to use the term promiscuously, the holidays. While her loathsome daughter Alva ( Edi Patterson ), her equally hateful son Bertrude ( Alexander Elliot )—not a typo—and her idiot actor boyfriend ( Cam Gigandet ) blatantly curry her favor and her son Jason ( Alex Hassell ) and his estranged wife Linda ( Alexis Louder ) are trying to work through their problems, only Jason's adorable moppet daughter Trudy ( Leah Brady ) still seems willing to embrace the holiday spirit. But, before long, the familial backstabbing is replaced by gunfire when a group of violent thieves led by a guy nicknamed Scrooge ( John Leguizamo ) arrive to steal $300 million they believe has been nefariously acquired by Gertrude and socked away in a theoretically impenetrable safe.
While all of this is going on, Santa—depicted here as filled with equal parts booze and self-loathing and contemplating packing in his holiday duties for good after one final run—happens to be in the house and winds up getting trapped inside when his reindeer take off during the initial mayhem. Although his first instinct is to flee, he realizes that Trudy is one of the stars of his nice list. He decides to pull himself together and rescue her, utilizing the skills for dispensing savage violence that he cultivated in his pre-Santa days, leading to several scenes in which he gruesomely dispatches the various bad guys using everything from a sledgehammer to a snow blower to a Christmas star tree topper jabbed into someone's eyeball. For her part, Trudy uses her skills of building booby traps that she developed from watching " Home Alone " to fend off the attackers in equally gruesome ways.
"Violent Night" is primarily comprised of bits and pieces borrowed from other holiday films of recent vintage. Most obviously, it intends to be some kind of hybrid of the aforementioned "Die Hard" and "Home Alone." The drunken, foul-mouthed, and cynical version of Santa depicted here, who we see projectile vomiting on a hapless victim while flying off in his sleigh during the pre-credit opening sequence, will no doubt inspire memories of Billy Bob Thornton in " Bad Santa ." The dysfunctional family gathering interrupted by criminals is straight out of " The Ref ." The presence of D'Angelo serves as a living reminder of " National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation ," though her part is a 180-degree turn from the warm and loving mother she played there. Hell, even the conceit of Santa fighting off bad guys in bloody fashion was done a couple of years ago in the weirdo project " Fatman ," in which Mel Gibson's version of Santa fights off an assassin hired by a monstrously entitled brat who objected to receiving a lump of coal.
The problem with "Violent Night" is not its unoriginal premise but how little is done with it. Santa violently dispatching bad guys is a one-joke premise that could have been developed into something interesting, perhaps using gruesome physical violence as a way of commenting on the emotional brutality that holiday classics like " A Christmas Carol " and " It's a Wonderful Life " traffic in. Instead, Wirkola is content to stick with the same joke of Santa killing bad guys in grotesque ways (and this is an undeniably hard-R film) that quickly grow tiresome. Even that might have worked on some fundamental level as a gory black comedy, but then the film ineptly tries for sentiment towards the end by asking us to care about the fates of the most hateful family members. "Violent Night" also seems weirdly reticent to fully exploit the notion that it's Santa Claus doling out the violence—there's only one point where he fully utilizes his unique powers against one of the attackers and, perhaps inevitably, it's the only kill that sticks in the mind afterward.
The one saving grace of "Violent Night" is Harbour's performance. Like the rest of the film, his character is basically a joke, but one he commits to impressively throughout, whether knocking off the new additions to his naughty list or communicating with Trudy over walkie-talkies. Granted, he may not replace Edmund Gwenn as the ideal movie Santa anytime soon, but his work here is the one sweet plum in the middle of an otherwise rancid cinematic pudding.
Now playing in theaters.
A moderately insightful critic, full-on Swiftie and all-around bon vivant , Peter Sobczynski, in addition to his work at this site, is also a contributor to The Spool and can be heard weekly discussing new Blu-Ray releases on the Movie Madness podcast on the Now Playing network.
All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt
Peyton robinson, film credits.
Violent Night (2022)
Rated R for strong bloody violence, language throughout and some sexual references.
David Harbour as Santa Claus
Beverly D'Angelo as Gertrude Lightstone
John Leguizamo as Scrooge
Cam Gigandet as Morgan Lightstone
Edi Patterson as Alva Lightstone
Brendan Fletcher as Krampus
Alex Hassell as Jason Lightstone
Mike Dopud as Commander Thorp
Alexis Louder as Linda
- Tommy Wirkola
- Josh Miller
- Patrick Casey
- Matthew Weston
- Dominic Lewis
Latest blog posts
Nathan Fielder, Emma Stone Want You to Suffer Through the Hysterical, Cringe-Inducing The Curse
Max's Rap Sh!t Returns for a Moody Second Season
Apple TV+'s The Buccaneers Shakes Up High Society
Comedy is No Joke: An Interview with Comedy Book Author Jesse David Fox
10 of the Most Violent Films Not Rated R
Sometimes, PG-13 or even PG-rated films have stunned with their intensity.
Regardless on whether or not you agree with its practices, the MPAA exists for a reason. Letting people and parents know the possible content of a film is more than simply about making sure kids don't wander into an adult film by accident, but also a healthy guide to allow viewers to make judgments on whether or not certain films are ok for them personally.
RELATED: 8 Movies That Narrowly Avoided the NC-17 Rating
And then sometimes you can't help but wonder if the MPAA was phoning it in that day. These films aren't rated R and yet at times feel like they absolutely should be, or at the very least are an extremely hard PG-13, a rating so common it often makes you forget that indeed, parents should be "strongly cautioned" about letting their kids see these films.
Animated films have a history of getting lax ratings from ratings boards due to the unwarranted stigma they have among many moviegoers, and Beowulf is one of the most obvious examples of that. While yes it is from the same team as the family friendly The Polar Express that released three years prior, the motion capture film by Robert Zemeckis was one of the most violent mainstream animated films released at the time.
Dismemberment, beheadings, tons of blood, disturbing deaths, it's got it all. In fact, it's clear that the film was done in animation to get away with this level of violence, as if it was live action it would have absolutely received an R rating from the MPAA for it's content. But, as it's animated, the PG-13 rating (in both cuts!) was given, and frankly it's a baffling one.
One of the films responsible for the creation of the PG-13 rating in general (all three of which are on this list, mind you), Gremlins , on the onset, seems relatively tame. Sure, it's got some violence in there but it's nothing too huge and it's mostly relegated to the back half of the film. And then one of our leads puts one of the titular creatures in a microwave and all bets are off.
That scene is iconic, for sure, and also morbidly hilarious, but it's also exceptionally violent even by PG-13 standards and the fact the movie passed with a PG at the time caused enough of a fuss that parents had enough. The PG-13 ratings creation helped a lot in the future when vetting movies like this, and the sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch received a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.
'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' (1984)
The first Indy film, Raiders of the Lost Ark , is already a film that pushed the PG rating to its absolute limit with its infamous ending and several gruesome deaths, but Temple of Doom is easily one of the most violent films that Steven Spielberg has made bar none. The darker prequel movie which features Indy heading into India and dealing with cultists is notorious for two reasons- being racially insensitive as well as incredibly violent.
Related: 'Indiana Jones' Movies Ranked From Worst to Best
So violent, in fact, that Spielberg has apologized on multiple occasions for the film. And it's not hard to see why it helped create the PG-13 rating - its sequences of torture, hearts being ripped out of chests, and numerous violent demises make this a grisly watch even by today's standards.
'Kong: Skull Island' (2017)
While monster movies tend to be pretty intense, whether or not they deserve the PG-13 is dependent on the film. The MonsterVerse films tend to fall into the category of "yeah, sure". While Gareth Edwards ' grim and dour 2014 Godzilla film is certainly not for kids, its content is no more violent than that of other monster films , and the later films tend to lean into the kaiju action for fun factor.
And then there is Jordan Vogt-Roberts ' Kong: Skull Island , which breaks that trend by simply being brutal at points. While not particularly bloody on a human front, it's the monster action and copious amounts of disturbing imagery that make this one of the most violent PG-13 films in recent memory, and not for lack of trying.
The third and final film to cause the creation of the PG-13 rating, Poltergeist is one of those films you think is rated R because of its subject matter and content, but it actually isn't. Nope, Poltergeist was released in 1982 with a PG rating, though not necessarily without a fight. The film did originally receive an R rating but the appeals of Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg made them change it to a PG without any cuts.
RELATED: Underrated Horror Movies From the 1990s (and Where to Stream Them)
This is most particularly baffling when you look at it's now infamous "face melting scene" which is one of the goriest sequences you'll ever see in a PG/PG-13 rated film, and while a master craft of practical effects feels way too intense for that rating. And while it's not particularly bloody, that clown scene should be NC-17, cause nope. Hell no.
M. Night Shyamalan is one of the masters of using the PG-13 rating to the best ability. While movies like The Sixth Sense , Unbreakable , and Signs aren't exactly ultra-violent or even that violent to begin with, they are super intense and feature heavy sequences and themes that wouldn't feel out of place in some R rated fare.
And then there is Split , probably Shyamalan's most violent PG-13 movie and one of his best as well. The transformation of James McAvoy 's lead character alone is disturbing, but it's his violent actions that bring this so close to an R. This is a brutal, brutal film at points, and it's all the better for it, allowing Anya Taylor-Joy 's character's escape feel more personal and tense.
'The Lord of the Rings' Trilogy
This can apply to the entire trilogy, but The Lord of the Rings is essentially one movie split into three chapters anyway, so having them all here works. Nevertheless, the entire sage of Tolkein's epic pushes the PG-13 rating to it's limit, mainly due to its intense violence, but also its gnarlier, more gruesome fantasy elements in the Mordor sections.
RELATED : 'The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power' New Trailer Teases a Rising Evil
Most of this is likely due to Peter Jackson 's involvement. Prior to directing The Lord of the Rings , Jackson was a horror film director best known for his splatter films, one of which is Braindead , widely regarded as one of the bloodiest films ever made. While The Lord of the Rings is nowhere near that level, it's certainly among the more violent PG-13 films and the fact kids are watching it should be a little concerning.
'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' (2011)
While the Transformers brand is mainly aimed at kids and teens, there was a time where Michael Bay 's influence in the franchise made it skew much older then usual. This is most evident in Dark of the Moon , a film riddled with sex jokes, foul language, and inappropriate humor all the while keeping its PG-13 rating, albeit pushing it.
Several of the films feature shockingly violent deaths of the Transformers , but it's Dark of the Moon 's 5 minute climax between Optimus Prime, Megatron, and Sentinel Prime that's simply brutal. Spines are ripped out, "oil" is everywhere on the screen, and the actual deaths feel shockingly mean-spirited. Yep, that's Bay alright.
'True Grit' (2010)
The Coen Brothers aren't exactly known for making "family friendly" pictures, but True Grit 's PG-13 rating in retrospect is simply baffling. The Western remake indeed lives up to it's title, as the revenge storyline features numerous bloody shoot outs, a dark atmosphere that feels at home with the Coens, and some pretty disturbing imagery throughout.
And what makes the violence in this one so particularly hard to watch is how realistic it feels. The guns are loud and powerful, and the impacts of them are felt even at home through speakers. When Maddie ( Hailee Steinfeld ) loses her arm, it's not pretty, and it makes you wonder how this got away without an R rating from the MPAA.
'Watership Down' (1978)
There are two kinds of people - those who have experienced Watership Down , and those that haven't. The ones that have are changed people forever, as the PG (yes, really) rated animated film is infamous for it's level of violence and gory sequences despite featuring, ostensibly, cute little rabbits on its various covers and screenshots. But it isn't for the faint-hearted, as it's also maybe one of the most violent films you'll ever see, and easily one of the most disturbing.
To make matters even worse, the film was released in 1978, and in its native Britain was seen as a children's film due to it being animated. As such, the film, against all odds, received a U rating in the UK - the equivalent of a G rating in the United States. This now famously infamous decision has made the film something of a rite of passage for many kids in the UK, as it's U rating ensures it gets played on many kids channels during Easter. Have fun kids!
NEXT: The Most Disturbing Movies of All Time
The 20 Most Violent Movies of All Time
Since the beginning of the motion picture industry, there has been an obsession with violence. Before the adoption of strict ethical codes, early cinema featured a great deal of violence. Films such as The Great Train Robbery (1903), Intolerance (1916), and The Birth of a Nation (1915) all contained what could be considered a shocking amount of violence.
The adoption of the Hays Code vastly changed what could be depicted on screen, censoring anything that was deemed to be “morally objectionable”. World War II saw war films receive a little more leeway with their depiction of violence in order to demonize the evil enemies that the United States was battling.
The 1960’s ushered in the replacement of a moral code with a new ratings system governed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), who designated letter ratings based upon the movies age appropriateness. This and technological advances such as squib charges used to simulate the exit of blood allowed for more graphic depictions of violence.
One of the first pictures to really take advantage of this was Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Since then, the U.S. film industry and worldwide cinema haven’t looked back, attempting to top previous productions and provide the audience with what they crave.
This list contains a little bit of everything, with at least one film from every decade between 1969 and 2011 and at least one from America, Italy, Hong Kong, France, Korea, Serbia, and Indonesia. It is a varied collection of genres; with some being critically hailed, many being labeled as exploitative and controversial, and some being banned in various parts of the world.
20. The Raid: Redemption (2011)
“When there’s nowhere left to run or hide… you fight or die”. This is an Indonesian martial arts film from director Gareth Edwards and stars Iko Uwais, who had both previously worked with each other on the 2009 Merantau.
The story is about a group of special tactics police officers who are sent into an apartment building in order to arrest a drug lord, but instead must fight for their survival when the place is locked down and the tenants are offered a reward for their deaths.
The movie is a pure adrenaline rush with bone crunching action and simply stunning fight sequences, pushing Uwais into the realms of being the next big action star. A fan created a cool infographic breaking down the kill count and how they all died, reaching a total just above one hundred. The Raid 2: Berandal was released in 2014.
19. I Spit on Your Grave AKA Day of the Woman (1978)
This has been one of the top banned movies in multiple countries and is very controversial, being hated by some and loved by others. Jennifer (Camille Keaton) is a New York City writer who goes to an upstate cabin to work on a novel. There she runs into four men, who rape her and destroy her novel. Over the next few days she recovers and takes vengeance upon her attackers.
That basic synopsis doesn’t make this sound like it should be one of the most hated films in cinematic history. The issue is the rape scene or scenes, which last somewhere around thirty minutes of the movie.
For some it may be extremely difficult to watch and for some they may actually get off on the scenes, which is part of the reason exploitation cinema existed in the first place. Roger Ebert’s review found there to be “disturbing moral implications as the audience…seems to approve [of] the most horrific violence being visited on a woman’s body”.
The motion picture is often viewed as being misogynistic towards women. The rape scenes are very intense; if you can get through that portion then you may actually find this to be a feminist story.
The director wanted to make a “a film that was responding to his own personal outrage of the violence he encountered first-hand against women, and so he decided to make a film graphically portraying the horrors of such—with an ending that was feminist wish-fulfillment based on his own experience, as the heroine gets revenge on her attackers and makes them pay for their crimes. Viewed in this context, its prolonged scenes of rape and assault are not depraved or ashamed; they are deliberately painful and horrifying to watch, as they should be”.
18. Shogun Assassin (1980)
“He whips out his sword and relieves his victims of their heads!”. This declaration may actually piss some people off, but this is a totally must see bad ass blood splattering samurai action masterpiece. So for the uninformed viewers, why would this statement piss people off?
Well, this is actually the first two films of the Lone Wolf and Cub film series; it was condensed, re-edited, dubbed into English, and re-scored for an American release. So there are some purists that really dislike this version and feel that it bastardizes the series. The fact remains that this version was most Americans first introduction into this series and the world of crazy samurai spraying blood movies.
The story involves Ogami Itto and his son Daigoro as he walks the land with his son in a baby cart, looking for samurai jobs and battling enemies that are trying to kill him. He was originally the head executioner for the Shogun, until the Shogun went mad and starting having people killed. Itto’s wife was killed during an attempt to eliminate Itto, the shogun then expected him to swear his loyalty or commit suicide, so he turned against the Shogun and became an assassin for hire.
This is simply a totally bad ass movie. The American edit is super fast paced and filled with a ton of bloody action, featuring eleven fight scenes, tons of spraying blood, and splitting heads. All of the fight scenes are memorable and Lone Wolf always has some type of tricks ready on his baby cart.
The narration by the child and the new score are perfect for a dubbed adaptation and are a good fit for the time when this was released, the synthesized score is very reminiscent of the sound from John Carpenter films and the Phantasm horror series.
The movie was highly influential on many filmmakers, most notably Quentin Tarantino and John Carpenter. Tarantino has incorporated the super violent spraying blood into Kill Bill and many of his other productions.
This film is the one that the bride’s daughter watches when she goes to bed in Kill Bill: Volume 2., Carpenter used some similar imagery from this in Big Trouble in Little China, mainly the three guys wearing the straw hats. If you like action and violence, then this is essential viewing. There are also six films from the original Lone Wolf and Cub series, along with a television series and the comic that they were based upon.
17. Hard Boiled (1992)
“More exciting than a dozen Die Hards”. The story involves Inspector “Tequila” Yuen (Chow Yun-Fat), who is looking for revenge against the Triads after his partner and an undercover cop were killed in a gunfight with a group of gangsters. He must eventually team up with Alan (Tony Leung), who is an undercover cop working for the Triad leader played by Anthony Wong. The films climactic ending takes place in a hospital with a fierce gun battle, where they must try to save the patients while battling mob hit men.
This was director John Woo’s final Hong Kong film before moving on to Hollywood, he had success in Hong Kong with the Better Tomorrow series, The Killer, Bullet in the Head, and Once a Thief. This was by far his action opus, creating quite possibly the greatest action scenes put to camera.
There are three main action sequences that take place; one in the beginning, one towards the middle, and then basically a thirty minute gun battle in a hospital that gets completely destroyed. They are all memorable for various elements. Somewhere near 80 people get killed in this movie, it’s insane. There were also three great main actors at the top of their game in Yun-Fat, Leung, and Wong.
The production sounded pretty grueling. It was mostly shot in an old Coca-Cola plant, doubling for the warehouse scene, the hospital, and whatever else was needed. They had issues with local gangsters trying to get protection money and threatening to shut down production and destroy equipment.
For the hospital scene, they were shooting simultaneously with a second unit inside and outside the building. The shooting schedule was going anywhere from eighteen to twenty four hours a day for four to five days, with the hospital scene taking forty days to complete.
It didn’t do as well as previous Hong Kong films, but has a strong cult following among Hong Kong cinema, action films, and fans of the director and actors. If you like any of those then this is a must see.
16. Natural Born Killers (1994)
“In the media circus of life, they were the main attraction”. This is director Oliver Stone’s brilliant satirical look at the glorification of violence and serial killers in pop culture and the media. The story involves a pair of lovers that had been victims of traumatic childhood events and abuse, who become mass murderers and end up becoming glorified by the media.
It features some rather unique camera angles and shooting styles, mixing between black & white, filters, animation, various types of film stock, and special effects. The soundtrack is also notable, featuring an eclectic mix of songs ranging from Leonard Cohen to Nine Inch Nails.
The film did well at the box office and received decent reviews, but had many issues regarding the level of violence that was portrayed. It has to be noted that two other movies on this list show up in this, clips of The Wild Bunch and Scarface appear on television when Mickey and Mallory are in a hotel.
The initial cut was rated NC-17 and Stone had to pare down the violence in order to get an R rating. There is a great deal of violence, which includes a body count in the hundreds, spraying blood, lost body parts, media dramatizations of murder scenes, and a huge prison riot and escape that contains the then controversial bullet hole through the hand sequence and the warden’s head on a pike. EW ranked it in a list as the eighth most controversial film of all time.
15. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Steven Spielberg’s epic WWII story about a group of soldiers sent behind enemy lines, in order to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers had been killed in the war, is absolutely riveting and pulls no punches. The war visuals are violent and realistic.
Only one scene in this film needs to really be mentioned, the opening D-Day invasion of Normandy on Omaha Beach that runs just over twenty minutes. It is one of the most realistic, brutal, and heart wrenching battle scenes ever filmed. We witness soldiers being shot and killed, set on fire, body parts being blown off, a man picking up his severed arm, intestines hanging out of a soldier clinging for life, and a blood soaked ocean after its all over.
Most of it is shot in a shaky cam style which further adds to the realism of the situation and makes the camera seem like the viewpoint of one of the soldiers at certain times. The overall kill count for the picture ranges between 165 and 255, but around 2,000 allied soldiers were killed in that battle alone.
15 Replies to “The 20 Most Violent Movies of All Time”
nah…not even in the same ballpark! “Toy Story” has more Violence than “Braveheart” 🙂
If you’re bringing in exploitation movies (which you clearly are) then you’ve barely scratched the surface.
MagnuM opus, not magnuS opus..
These are most definitely not the most violent movies of all time, not even close
Ya, I feel it’s too broad a subject. Would be best to narrow down to Most Violent Asian, B-Movie, Horror Movie, Action Movie, etc. Ichi The Killer might make a most violent overall list though, so glad to see that on here.
Agree with Brandon. Just too broad.
I Saw The Devil is the GOAT.
Keep in mind that I still haven’t seen many of these on This list, but I think that these should be added: Rambo (2008) Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012)
August Underground, August Underground: Mordum, Irreversible, I could go on and on….
What about BLACK HAWK DOWN, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, TITUS, Evil DEAD, and DEAD ALIVE?
The Raid was done by Gareth Evans not Gareth Edwards, Edwards did Monsters, Godzilla and Rogue One.
Saving private Ryan? You must be kidding with this list.
C’est arrivé près de chez vous (1992)
I’d throw in “Wake in Fright”, a film that shows little actual onscreen violence (apart from to kangaroos), but feels absolutely steeped in violence.
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .