Cannibal Holocaust is a 1980 Italian cannibal film directed by Ruggero Deodato from a screenplay by Gianfranco Clerici, starring Carl Gabriel Yorke, Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi and Luca Giorgio Barbareschi. Cannibal Holocaust was filmed in the Amazon Rainforest with real indigenous tribes interacting with American and Italian actors.
The film tells the story of a missing documentary film crew who had gone to the Amazon to film cannibal tribes. A rescue mission, led by the New York University anthropologist Harold Monroe (Robert Kerman), recovers the film crew's lost cans of film, which an American television station wishes to broadcast. Upon viewing the reels, Monroe is appalled by the team's actions, and after learning their fate, he objects to the station's intent to air the documentary.
Cannibal Holocaust is unique for its "found footage" structure in which the gradual revelation of the recovered film's content functions similar to a flashback. The film's notion of "recovered footage" has influenced the now-popular genre of found footage horror films such as The Blair Witch Project.
Cannibal Holocaust achieved notoriety as its graphic violence aroused a great deal of controversy. After its premiere in Italy, it was seized by a local magistrate, and Deodato was arrested on obscenity charges. He was charged with making a snuff film due to rumors that claimed some actors were killed on camera. Although Deodato was later cleared, the film was banned in Italy, Australia, and several other countries due to its disturbing portrayal of graphic brutality, sexual assault, and animal violence. Some nations have since revoked the ban, but the film is still banned in several countries. Critics have suggested that the film is a commentary about civilized versus uncivilized society.