Iranian state-run television said on Thursday that the country's Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council, headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, issued the ban on foreign films that promote what were termed "arrogant powers", a propaganda term the Iranians use to refer to the United States.
The ban affects films that deny the existence of God as well as those seen to promote immorality, violence, drug usage, alcohol consumption, secularism, liberalism, anarchy and feminism, the television report said.
The culture minister and the head of national broadcasting were charged with enforcing the ban.
The decision did not mention Iranian movies, which already are censored.
"It is good bye to those few American movies which we could see sporadically," said Hooshang Rahimi, a moviegoer standing in front of a movie house in downtown Tehran.
"From now on, any of them could be banned because of an alcohol consumption scene or action and thriller theme."
During his presidential campaign, Ahmadinejad promised to confront what he called the Western cultural invasion and promote Islamic culture.
"This is a sign of the beginning of an era of restrictive cultural policies of President Ahmadinejad"
"This is a sign of the beginning of an era of restrictive cultural policies of President Ahmadinejad," said Pouran Golmahammadi, another moviegoer.
During the rule of former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, Iran opened its doors to Hollywood blockbusters such as The Passion of The Christ and The Aviator.