This is one of the most controversial rape scenes of all time and was the cause of the film being banned in Great Britain and other countries for many years.
Although by today’s standards the sexual assault seems pretty tame, the controversy is that Susan George’s character seems to change her mind halfway through and actually enjoys the rape. This reinforces the wrong message that ‘No doesn’t always mean No’ and it is on this basis that the movie was banned.
The background is that George’s ex-boyfriend responds to her flirting by coming on to her, but when she initially says No he forces her to have sex with him. She appears conflicted though, and at one point kisses him back passionately and pulls her towards him before protesting once again. As he is fucking her, is her face contorted in agony or ecstasy? It is this ambiguity — purposely done on the part of director Sam Peckinpah to illustrate her being torn between her ex and her husband — that is the main source of controversy.