We’d like to state that “zina of the eye” mentioned in the hadith applies for sure to watching bad or immoral scenes in a movie. It should be clear that Islam has taken a firm and decisive stance against Zina (fornication or adultery). Allah, the Almighty, commands in explicit and unequivocal words: “And come not near unto adultery. Lo! it is an abomination and an evil way.” (Al-Israa’: 32)

Thus, Islam not only prohibits Zina, but also closes all the avenues and means leading to it. This is achieved by prohibiting every step and means leading to stimulating desires, opening ways for illicit sexual relations between men and women, and promoting indecency and obscenity.

In an authentic Hadith reported by Ahmad, it is narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “The eyes commit Zina, the hands commit Zina and feet commit Zina and the genitals commit Zina.” (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith no. 4258) In another Hadith, he is reported to have said that “the genitals confirm or deny it.” (indicating that starring at opposite sex in a lustful way has a spontaneous effect on the genitals and may induce person to commit Zina). So, watching immoral scenes in a movie is prohibited in Islam as it is one of the means or avenues leading to Zina.

As for Islam’s stance on watching movies, we’d like to state that the ruling cannot be issued generally.

If the content of the movie includes immoral scenes, then it would not allowed in any case. But if the content of the movie does not contradict the teachings of Islam, then there is nothing wrong in watching it. Movies are not haram due to them being movies, but rather due to the message they give and their content. The message and content could be good or bad. If they are good and do not contradict the teachings of Islam, then it is permissible to watch such movies. But if they are bad, then it is not permissible to watch them.

Basically watching films, plays and artistic works is permissible as long as they do not present what is contrary to Islamic teachings. [Any Movie or piece of] art that provokes vices and temptation is prohibited.
It is permissible to watch films that uphold virtue, morality and humane principles while maintaining the rule of lowering gazes. Islam does not go against beautiful art. On the contrary, it always encourages art that agree with pure humane nature. Art is an effective tool which could be placed at the head of the good deeds in our world only if it is perfectly used. That is why Muslims should not ignore this field, leaving it to enemies of religion and humanity.
It becomes incumbent upon all Muslim intelligentsia to make use of what Allah endows them with in reforming society. We greatly need, through films or serials, to remind the new generation about the heroic lives of Muslim reformers and scholars. Moreover, society is in great need to present good morals, history of Islam, and to provide solutions for its problems through works of art that strongly affect different classes in society.
Focusing more on the topic, the late Sheikh Ahmad Ash-Sharabaasi, a prominent Azharite scholar says:
“Movie, unlike theatrical works, depends more on pictures. According to actors, acting aims at analyzing life experiences. It depicts faults as something to be avoided and highly praises virtue and calls people to adhere to it. It exposes lessons and experiences in a way that makes the message presented indirectly, through inspiration. As long as acting, either cinematic or theatrical, achieves this aim, presents morality and good taste, does not reveal private parts or provokes sexual instincts , it is deemed lawful as religion does not prohibit this kind of acting.
However, it is prohibited to watch x-rated movies or plays, as well as any form of acting that attacks religion and virtue, encourages vices, and presents what is prohibited, for this kind of acting spreads evil and corruption. This is based on the juristic rule that what leads to something prohibited is in itself prohibited, and we are ordered to block all channels of evil.
Concerning movie in particular, Al-Azhar scholars consider it a double-edged weapon, as some people use it in proper way to benefit the whole nation, upholding religion and good manners, while others misuse it, by encouraging crimes, vices, and stirring sensual, psychological, ethical and social corruption in the society.
What we need now is to employ this sophisticated technology in the service of religion, airing ethical values and spiritual principles, as well as filling the mind of the new generation with patriotism. Al-Azhar scholars urge film directors all over the world to respond to the call of religion, morality, and patriotism and produce pure and serious films that could strengthen principles of good and virtue in man. They also urge the filmmakers to encourage building social relations among people, based on religious principles, for this will help in developing art.”