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Watching the censors watch Watchmen

8th March

Updated: Watchmen Again...

2nd version of Watchmen appears on the BBFC database

A second entry has appeared on the BBFC website for the cinema release of Zack Snyder's Watchmen.

The first time the film appeared on the database, it was rapidly removed but appeared a few days later on 13th Feb running at 161:54s and 18 uncut.

Now there is a second entry logged at 3rd March that runs for 4.5 minutes shorter at 157:35s. Still noted as 18 uncut with the same extended classification information as below.

BBFC explain their uncut 18 rating for the film

Watchmen is the latest film from director Zack Snyder and the team behind 300. Based on a famous graphic novel from the 1980s it tells the story of an alternate America in which the Vietnam War was won, Nixon was elected for a third term and costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of society. It was passed ‘18' for strong bloody violence.

The BBFC Guidelines at ‘15' state that ‘violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury'. In Watchmen however there are a number of scenes that focus on strong detailed violence and its gory result. In one such example, a man is stabbed through the arm, with it forcefully twisted and broken as the knife is shown penetrating his arm and emerging from the other side. In another, a man is shown being struck in the head with a meat cleaver followed by repeated bloody sight of the cleaver striking the head. Both of these scenes, in addition to one or two others, were considered inappropriate at ‘15' and better placed at the adult ‘18' where detail of strong violence is permitted.

Watchmen also contains an attempted rape scene, strong language and sexual activity without strong detail.

Update: IMAX Version

7th March 2009. Thanks to Mark

I contacted the BBFC regarding Watchmen being resubmited, and that it has a shorter running time, and they replied back with this:

I suspect you are referring to the IMAX version of WATCHMEN which was submitted recently. This version is identical to the previous film, and was classified '18'.

So the shorter version is the IMAX version, and for some reason they sometimes run shorter. So the original version runs for 161:54 uncut, unless you see the IMAX version.

Update: Director's Cut

8th March 2009. Based on article from

The theatrical version of Watchmen has been rated MA 15+ in Australia and R in the US. It runs to 161 minutes plus change.

Director Zack Snyder promises two longer versions this year, the director's cut at 190 minutes, and the 205 minute Black Freighter version, which is the DC with an animated cartoon edited into the narrative, as per the graphic novel. Synder has also said that the DC will be more violent and sexually explicit. It's not clear yet whether this footage was cut for the US R rating, or it's just extended juicy material.


7th March

Update: X-Men...

US nutters whinge at Watchmen

The Christian Film & Television Commission, a nutter group in Hollywood, has filed a complaint with the MPAA about the R rating for the movie Watchmen.

This movie contains extreme violence, nudity, and sex, including rape said Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman and spokesmen of the Commission: Throughout most of the whole picture, one male character walks around completely naked, with his private parts waving in the breeze.

This kind of content used to be rated X or NC-17. The motion picture industry keeps changing its standards. No wonder the MPAA's rating system confuses parents.

Dr. Baehr said, The MPAA office told us that it would bring our concerns about this movie and its rating to their board. Whatever they decide, we appreciate the board taking another look at this issue. Even so, the movie industry needs to clean up its act and stop inserting graphic violence, sex, nudity, and drug use into its movies.

After all, would Casablanca become an even better work of art if the script contained a bunch of “f” words, or if Ingrid Bergman appeared completely nude? Definitely not!


19th February

Updated: Watching BBFC Watch Watchmen...

Watchmen classification decision fleetingly appears on the BBFC database

While browsing earlier today I spotted that the eagerly anticipated Watchmen movie was on there as having been rated yesterday. It had been given an 18 certificate for "Strong violence" with a duration of 161 minutes.

However, having a look again a few minutes ago (about 2 hours after initially checking) I find that the Watchmen entry has disappeared.

Knowing the source material quite well I have to say I was a little surprised that the BBFC had felt the film strong enough to warrant an 18; I'd predicted a 15. But I figured maybe there was some of that notorious dwelling on the infliction of pain and injury we're always reading about. But now with its removal from the site I'm assuming the studio are appealing or cutting as we speak to avoid the dreaded 18 certificate.

Update: Watching Paramount

17th February 2009. Thanks to William:

I have just spoken to Paramount UK and Watchmen will remain an 18 and therefore uncut.

Update: 18 Uncut

19th February 2009. See article from

The Watchmen entry has been restored to the BBFC database and, as promised, it is 18 uncut.


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