Banned from Television
|Banned from Television|
|Directed by||Joe Francis|
|Written by||Robert Louis|
|Music by||APM Music|
|Editing by||Emil Zappata|
|Distributed by||Fall Line Entertainment|
|Running time||144 minutes|
|Box office||$10,000,000 (USA)|
Banned from Television, also known as Banned from TV, is a 1998 direct-to-video, shockumentary film, that consists of various scenes of stock footage, depicting death and real scenes of violence. It is mainly about riots, car chases, crime, accidents and much much more from around the world. Despite its title with the word "Banned" in, it has been shown on Reality TV, as well as many European/Asian TV news channels when most of the things happened. It is banned in the United Kingdom by the BBFC. Since its release, Banned from Television has been followed by two sequels, both of which were also released in 1998 and were direct-to-video. Combining all three films together, the total length is 144 minutes. Each clip used is accompanied by very stoic commentary from a narrator, who sometimes provides extra detail explaining whether the person survived or not. For most of the clips however, no extra information is given, other than where the incident occurred. The most graphic part of each clip is usually repeated again in slow motion. Banned from Television was originally released on VHS in 1998, and was later released on DVD, on April 2, 2002. The Banned from Television series is distributed by Joe Francis of Mantra Films, which was formerly known as Fall Line Entertainment.
The film opens with a brief montage of some of the clips that are used throughout the film. After this the film begins. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a man with a knife holds an innocent baby as hostage. Police surround him and when he gets distracted an officer shoots him in the head, killing him instantly. The baby is taken away unharmed. On a street in Butte, Montana, Terry Rossland, an enraged and distraught man, sits in his car armed with pipe bombs and gasoline demanding to see his family. When the police surround him, Rossland blows the car up, then exits the vehicle and runs away on fire as rescue teams try to keep him alive. He survives, but one year later commits suicide by a drug overdose. In Seoul, South Korea, angry protesters have taken over a construction tower and throw firebombs at innocent construction workers. One of the workers is set on fire but it is quickly put out by a fellow worker. Miraculously the worker is unharmed. In San Salvador, El Salvador, veterans hold workers hostage, while the police surround them and fire real bullets and tear gas. One young man tries to flee the scene but an officer shoots him in the chest. The young man falls to the floor and its unclear if he survives. In the next clip, a man who has stolen a lawnmower flees from the police in a pickup truck. As he runs a red light he is struck by a big rig and is killed instantly as the truck is obliterated. In Salt Lake City, Utah, a man fleeing from the police gets out of his car and begins firing at them. The police are forced to return fire and the man falls to the floor. It is unclear if he survives. In Carlsbad, California, police chase a man suspected of having committed a burglary. He exits his car with no pants on and loads shells into his shotgun from the trunk of the car. The police watch at a distance as the man commits suicide with a single shot to his own head. In Zaragoza, Spain, a young man is pursued around an arena by a raging bull. The man manages to escape the arena unharmed, but the bull strips his pants and underwear off. At a festival in Madrid, Spain, a different bull is provoked into a fiery rage by a sharp prod. It is then led into an enclosed square, where it is stabbed with pointed darts by a crowd of excited spectators. They then release the bull into the city streets. It attacks one man and nearly kills a woman but remarkably she survives and no one is killed. Seven miles off the coast of Chile in the South Pacific, students take a swim in the ocean to cool off. One of them is then attacked by a 16 foot great white shark, who rips one of her legs off. She is lucky to survive. At a circus in Honolulu, Hawaii, a female elephant, Tyke, attacks its circus trainer, Allen Campbell, killing him, and then gores her groomer, Dallas Beckwith. She then escapes the circus and breaks free onto the streets of the city. She is chased by the police who fire numerous rounds at her until she is killed. At a strip club in Palm Shores, Florida, a hidden camera reveals that strippers are having unsafe sex with strangers and several of them are arrested for this. In Las Vegas, Nevada, a hidden camera captures a corrupt cop bargaining with a prostitute for leniency. He receives a brief blowjob from her and is then arrested while the prostitute is allowed to leave. Some of this footage is actually censored, contrary to the video box's claim. At a 2 Live Crew concert in Savannah, Georgia, one of the rappers pulls aside the string of a thong on a female dancer. He then pours water over it while the dancer shakes about. This resulted in public indecency charges. At another concert, audience members charge onto the stage and erupt into a wild sexual free for all.
In Santiago, Chile, at a Deep Purple concert, excited fans climb onto a light tower for a better view of the stage. The tower tips over and collapses onto the crowd with a spark. Forty-four people are injured but incredibly no one is killed. At a road rally in Canberra, New South Wales, Australia, a cameraman is struck by a 280Z as it takes a sharp corner. Remarkably, he only suffers a broken leg and a shattered knee cap. At the Daytona Speedway in Florida, a series of stock car crashes occur during a high speed race. One of the cars hits Mike Staley, who is a paramedic at the race track. Mike suffers numerous broken bones, hundreds of stitches, first, second and third degree burns, but still manages to survive. In Warsaw, Poland, a powerful storm topples a brick chimney across the street onto a crowd of people. A woman in the crowd is killed by the falling bricks. In Grozny, Chechnya, a crowd of several thousand people gather in the capital to watch the public execution of two convicted rapists. The rapists face six relatives of the rape victim. They then carry out the death sentence by shooting the rapists repeatedly to death. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at a shopping centre, two robbers shoot at the police who then return fire. One of the robbers is shot dead and the other is captured. The police decide to execute the surviving robber. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, at a balloon festival, a hot air balloon is blown into power lines. It catches fire and then there is an explosion, as the basket plummets to the ground below. Incredibly, the two people inside the basket are uninjured. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, police beat a captive, even though a camera is rolling. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, on another occasion, police beat two men at a checkpoint. The police then shoot at their car for the hell of it but luckily no one is killed and they let the men go. In Moscow, Russia, a hidden camera captures two thugs threatening a businessman for extortion money. The police are watching the scene unfold on a monitor and stop them, when they begin choking the man with piano wire. Fortunately, he lives. In El Monte, California, at a pool hall, rival gangs fight with each other. One gang member is shot to death after being beaten by a rival gang member. In Tamarac, Florida, at a Floridian drug dealer's home, a hidden camera captures two masked men break into the home to carry out revenge for a drug deal that went bad. The intruders then murder the dealer and two innocent women. Before leaving, they take off their masks. This allowed the police to find and arrest the murderers a short time later. In Guatemala, two men, convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering an innocent woman, are lined up for public execution. The execution is scheduled to go ahead, despite a late objection by Pope John Paul II and human rights groups. The men are shot at by a group of police officers holding rifles and are somehow still alive. One officer is instructed to finish them off and does so by shooting them both in the head with a pistol. In Playa Vicente, Mexico, a beaten man is accused of having raped and strangled a local girl. The villagers of the town set the man on fire and burn him alive. When word reaches authorities about the incident, police infiltrate the village and make some arrests. The last clip occurs in Champaign, Illinois, where a train enthusiast sets up his camera to record trains at the station. A crowd of people ignore the warning bells and cross the track. The last of them is a forty-one-year-old woman, Mary T. Wojtyla, who is accompanied by her lawyer. As they start crossing the track, they fail to notice a passing train to the left of them. The lawyer spots it and stops, but Mary doesn't stop in time. She gets hit and is thrown straight at the camera by a speeding train and is killed instantly. The film then just fades out with no ending credits.
In Bangkok, Thailand, at the stock exchange, a bankrupt and distraught man holds a gun to his own neck in the lobby of the building. Negotiators try to reason with the man but he pulls the trigger. Unbelievably the man survives after being rushed to hospital. In Plano, Texas, a clerk in a convenience store attends to an elderly woman. When she leaves, another man enters and begins asking the clerk questions. His partner then enters and points a gun at the clerk. When the unarmed clerk opens an empty cash register, the robber shoots the clerk to death and the pair flee the store empty handed. In Cincinnati, Ohio, a security camera captures a murder on the front porch of a house. The killer shoots another man in cold blood and then watches him die. The killer was later convicted because of the security camera. In Atlanta, Georgia, a highway patrol officer is struck by a passing car as he carries out a routine traffic stop. He survives having suffered only minor injuries. In Macon, Georgia, a highway patrol man pulls over a big and confused drunk man. The man then attacks the officer and flees the scene. He is arrested further down the road and was later convicted for his crime. In Lincoln, Maine, trooper Stephen Murray tries to issue an angry male driver a speeding ticket. The driver then verbally shouts abuse at the officer, but eventually agrees to pay the fine. In Los Angeles, California, animal control officer, Florence Crowell, is called in to deal with an aggressive pit bull that has previously attacked others. The owner of the dog then intentionally releases it and it attacks her. The dog gnaws its way into her hand, but luckily, a passing man rushes to the rescue. The dog is eventually stopped and later put to sleep, while the owner is sent to prison. In Great Britain, a horse escapes from the racetrack and nearly crushes a baby to death in its pram. Fortunately, both the baby and the horse are uninjured. In Siena, Italy, the infamous horse race, The Palio, takes place before a packed audience. Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York is also in the crowd. There are no rules, all of the jockeys ride bareback. When the race begins, one horse crashes into a wall knocking its jockey violently off. Another horse slips causing the jockey to fall off. He is then trampled by other horses as the race continues. Another horse crashes into a wall. Both the horse and jockey fall to the floor. The race finally ends when the lead jockey wins. No one is killed. In Phoenix, Arizona, a suicidal man climbs to the top of a radio tower. Suddenly he loses his balance and then falls off, crashing to his death below.
In Indianapolis, Indiana, fire fighters battle a deadly blaze in an apartment building. One of the fire fighters rescues a woman and climbs down the ladder but suddenly slips. They both fall to the ground and are badly injured but alive. In Miami, Florida, a motorcycle stunt goes horribly wrong when the rider falls from the air to his death below. Home video captures a horrifying scene as a hot air balloon is blown into a power line by high winds. One passenger falls from the balloon and dangles from one of the lower wires of the power line. He then crashes to the ground, followed by a second passenger. It is unclear if they survived. In Los Angeles, California, a man on a motorcycle tries to flee police but crashes into the side of a bus at an intersection and nearly dies. In Newark, New Jersey, police chase a suspect who crashes into the side of a van. The collision loosens the front bumper of the suspects' vehicle. Further down the road, the loose bumper grabs hold of an innocent male pedestrian at an intersection and sends him flying across the road. It is unclear if he survives, although he can be seen slowly getting up at the end of the clip. As the police attend to the man, the suspect gets away. At the Florida Turnpike, a drug dealer flees from the police, but then loses control and his car flips over onto its roof. The car slides along the road on its roof and eventually stops. The suspect is lucky to survive. In Salt Lake City, Utah, an infra-red camera tracks a fleeing suspect in the dead of night, who is then piled on by police officers and taken into custody. In Charlotte, North Carolina, a SWAT team are called in to deal with an armed suspect wielding a shotgun. The man threatens to kill his father and refuses to give up the weapon. When he steps off the porch and moves to the side of the house, the SWAT team are waiting for him. The man points the gun at the SWAT units forcing them to open fire and kill him. In Tijuana, Mexico, politician, Luis Donaldo Colosio, walks through a crowd of people and is executed by an assassin, Mario Aburto Martínez, who shoots him in the head at point-blank range. In Monrovia, Liberia, two rival militia groups shoot at each other in the city streets. Victorious militia celebrate their victory by brutally beating and shooting a rival casualty to death. Ice skater, Tonya Harding, strips down in her hotel room on her wedding night and has sex with her new husband, Jeff Gillooly. They then hire a man to brutally attack another ice skater, Nancy Kerrigan, by breaking her leg and allowing Harding to win an ice skating competition.
In a convenience store, a clerk is hit round the head with a golf club. The robber then empties the cash register as the frightened clerk backs away in shock. Fortunately the clerk survives. In another convenience store, a clerk is shot in the chest by an armed robber and left bleeding on the floor. She screams in pain for help and fortunately also survives. In Los Angeles, California, another clerk decides to fight back against a group of armed robbers. He is tragically shot to death. In Argentina, a chase sequence for a movie is filmed, but one of the stunt drivers in a car loses control. The car ploughs off the road and charges into two cameramen filming the action. It's likely they survived but remains unclear. In Buenos Aries, Argentina, a rally race goes wrong when a driver crashes and is flung out of his rally car. He survives to race again. In Bogota, Columbia, someone goes skydiving, but when they dive out of the plane and try to use their parachute, it fails to open and they fall to their death. In Texas, two officers attempt to arrest a resisting suspect who attacks them with his fists. The officers are forced to open fire on him and shoot him twice in the back. Luckily for the suspect he survives. At Spring Break in New Orleans, Louisiana and Lake Havasu, California, a variety of different women show off their breasts to both the camera and strangers, in exchange for beads. Some of them strip down completely naked on the beach. Then, when some of the women have completely stripped down, the police arrive and take the naked women away as the crowd boo them. In Crested Butte, Colorado, an extreme skier attempts to navigate his way down a steep rock slope. Suddenly he loses control and falls down the slope, hitting trees and rocks as he falls. He is later rescued and is badly wounded, but alive.
In the next clip, a man on a motorcycle tries to flee from police, but as he stops the bike, the police cruiser cannot stop in time and slams into the back of him, allegedly crushing him to death (see below). In Cobb County, Georgia, police chase a stolen jeep along the freeway. They then carry out a PIT maneuver with deadly consequences. The jeep rolls over and over and ejects one of the passengers who is then crushed by the jeep. Meanwhile, a survivor attempts to flee on foot. In Bogota, Colombia, a desperate bank robber takes a pregnant woman hostage. When he threatens to kill the woman, a sharpshooter takes the robber out with a single shot to the head. The woman is unharmed, the robber is killed. In Mexico City, another robber takes an innocent person hostage and uses them as a human shield. A police sniper then takes the robber out by shooting him in the head. The hostage is unharmed. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, a fire engulfs a large building. People on the higher levels of the building climb out onto the windows. One man then leaps off of a window to try and land near the fire truck. He tragically misses and crashes to the ground below. He is killed instantly. In Oklahoma City, police gather round a disturbed but unarmed man. When he challenges the officers they shoot him with rubber bullets and take him into custody. In Miami, Florida, a Cuban immigrant threatens police officers with a machete. When he raises the weapon the police shoot him. He survives and is taken away by paramedics. In San Diego, California, a camera crew films extreme bicycle jumps for a television show. One of the riders attempts a jump but falls off and is badly injured. In Mesquite, Nevada, a biker attempts a dangerous stunt jump. As he accelerates up the ramp and jumps into the air, a gust of wind blows him off course and he crashes onto the road. A frightened crowd gather around the man and paramedics are called in. Unfortunately, the biker dies before paramedics can help him.
Francis worked for Real TV before he developed Banned from Television. While working there, he developed the idea of composing graphic clips not suitable for mainstream television, and marketing them directly to the public. Francis bought the rights to use the clips and began editing and composing several videos together to create Banned from Television. Banned from Television received a mixture of reviews, but it made a huge profit for Francis, who became a millionaire by the age of 24. Francis' first Banned from Television video, was sold through commercials shown on TV late at night. Banned from Television was considered a commercial success and it spawned other sequels that also did well. One of the videos that Francis had licensed contained footage of female college students flashing their breasts during Mardi Gras and Spring Break. Seeing the marketing appeal, he titled that footage Girls Gone Wild (GGW). He eventually stopped licensing the material and began producing it himself. It was from Banned from Television that Francis developed the concept of college girls exposing their breasts and marketing these videos direct to consumers as well. Despite the success from Banned from Television, Francis decided that after he had produced three volumes, that he wouldn't make another. Francis admitted he had difficulty watching Banned from Television all the way through, because he found the content too graphic. Instead, he decided to produce the Girls Gone Wild franchise, which has also been very successful and is what the company, Mantra Films, continues to produce to this day.
Much of the background information on certain clips is evident to have not been correct. The clip of Mary T. Wojtyla being hit by a train is said in the video to have occurred in Champaign, Illinois, when evidence confirms that it occurred in Downers Grove, Illinois. Most of the videos have supposedly never been seen before on television, when in fact most of the police chases and shootouts have been shown on other reality TV programs such as, World's Wildest Police Videos. Some of the clips are never fully explained either, making it unclear to tell whether the person lived or died. There is also doubt as to whether what the narrator says is actually true or not. The clip of the motorcycle rider being allegedly crushed to death by the police cruiser is reported differently in World's Scariest Police Chases. The narrator in that show reports that the rider survived the crash. Similarly when the big rig hits the pick-up truck at the end of a police chase, the narrator states that the driver is a man and does not reveal whether he lives or dies. However, in World's Wildest Police Videos, it says the suspects are a teenage boy and girl, and that they were both killed instantly on impact. The shooting of the suspect in Salt Lake City, Utah is also unclear. Once again the narrator does not reveal whether the man died or not. In World's Scariest Police Shootouts, it is reported that the shooting occurred in Phoenix, Arizona and that the suspect in fact survived the shooting. They even interview one of the police officers who was involved in the shooting. Which version of the truth is unclear, but evidence would suggest that Banned from Television is incorrect, due to it being wrong about some of the locations of the footage throughout.
In January 2001, Francis was found liable by a Los Angeles jury for misappropriating the idea for Banned from Television, which preceded Girls Gone Wild and were distributed by Mantra. The jury awarded producer Les Haber a total of $3.5 million on his claims against Francis.