Geek Trivia

The Film Back To The Future Is Banned In China Because It Features?

Acting by Christopher Lloyd
Gambling
Direction by Robert Zemeckis
Time Travel
Which Movie Featured A Different Ending Depending On Which Theater You Saw It In?

Answer: Time Travel

The iconic sci-fi comedy film Back to the Future is banned in China for reasons that Western readers may find puzzling. It isn’t banned because Chinese censors have something against director Robert Zemeckis nor a particular vendetta against any of the principle actors in the film like Michael J. Fox or Christopher Lloyd. Honestly, we can’t really be sure they have anything against Back to the Future in general, to be fair. You see, the film (and the two sequels in the franchise) weren’t specifically targeted, but instead, by default, banned because of their treatment of time travel.

In 2011, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television issued a blanket ban on all media portraying time travel on the grounds that it was disrespectful to history. This announcement hinged not so much on a sudden decades late hatred for Back to the Future, but for contemporary Chinese TV shows and films depicting time travel in China that altered timelines and allowed for a sense of escapism and belief in the potential for change.

While Western films banned in China are typically banned based on political reasoning (as you can easily imagine, Seven Years in Tibet was banned instantly), there’s a long list of odd rulings. The Babe films are banned because they depict live-action talking animals. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Ghostbusters both got the ban hammer because of ghosts (portrayal of spirits is against the rules).