Killer Joe

Movies goes out with an NC-17 rating for violence

15th March

Updated: Killer Rating...

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William Friedkin's Killer Joe given the dreaded NC-17 rating

The MPAA has given an NC-17 rating to William Friedkin's crime drama Killer Joe , prompting Liddell Entertainment to announce it will appeal the ruling.

The film stars Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch and is due for its U.S. premiere at SXSW in March and a domestic launch this summer.

Hirsch portrays a 22-year-old drug dealer who has his stash stolen by his mother and has to come up with $6,000 quick or he's dead. Desperate, he turns to Killer Joe (McConaughey) when he finds out that his mother's life insurance policy is worth $50,000.

Update: Appeal turned down

15th March 2012. See  article from

The Classification and Rating Appeals Board has upheld the NC-17 rating given to the movie Killer Joe .

The Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) had assigned the movie the NC-17 rating for graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality.

In the appeal brought by LD Entertainment, the Appeals Board heard statements on behalf of Killer Joe from David Dinerstein, President of LD Entertainment, and Tracy Letts, Pulitzer Prizewinner, Playwright and Screenwriter.


27th May

Updated: Killer Rating...

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William Friedkin's Killer Joe sticks with the dreaded NC-17 rating

LD Entertainment will release William Friedkin's Killer Joe with an NC-17 rating, opting not to edit it for a more commercial R Rating..

David Dinerstein president of LD Entertainment said:

As we support the artistic integrity of our filmmakers [...] 'Killer Joe' will be released in theaters on July 27th in its original version as an NC-17 film.

The film has played to enthusiastic crowds at the Venice, Toronto and South-by-Southwest Film Festivals where many critics have noted this is Matthew McConaughey's best performance to date. As our initial LD Entertainment release, we are excited to bring this very entertaining, funny and provocative film to audiences this summer.

The last major film to bow with an NC-17 ratings was Shame, which earned the vast majority of its grosses overseas.

Update: 18 Uncut

27th May 2012. See article from

The BBFC have now passed the film 18 uncut for strong bloody and sadistic violence and sexual threat for:

  • UK 2012 cinema  release



Extract: Uncut Interview...

Click Magazine interviews William Friedkin about Killer Joe and his hassles with the US film censors

Link Here 27th June 2012
Full story: Killer Joe...Movies goes out with an NC-17 rating for violence

CLICK: You opted to not fight the NC-17 rating, why?

William Friedkin : Because they're full of shit! No the rating's correct too. I don't target 13 year olds or 16 year olds to see this movie. I don't think the ratings incorrect. Its draconian, it limits you and limits your audience but it's not an incorrect rating.

This should be an 18 plus which it is over here and throughout Europe and in the rest of the world.

The ratings board is extremely problematical in that they don't have a rule book that's as thick as this [holds up a sheet of paper]. There's nothing that you can read that says: if you do this or that thing you will get an NC-17.

With the ratings board, we don't know how they got there. We know it was political. But their judgements have no legal standing, they're a self-governing body of the MPAA and they will not give an NC-17 to a member company of that group. There will be little concessions made to them -- a few frames here and there...

You might have asked -- did you ever think you'd get an NC-17 and did you have to change it? And I can answer you honestly no I didn't change a frame of it because I'm too old to bow down before this anonymous board of censors.

...Read the full interview



Offsite Article: The William Friedkin Interview...

Link Here 6th August 2012
Full story: Killer Joe...Movies goes out with an NC-17 rating for violence
Part 1: Good vs. Evil, Killer Joe and the MPAA

See article from



Update: Killer Joe...

Passed 18 uncut for upcoming UK DVD and Blu-ray release

Link Here 26th August 2012
Full story: Killer Joe...Movies goes out with an NC-17 rating for violence

Killer Joe is a 2011 US crime thriller by William Friedkin.
With Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple. See IMDb

UK: Passed 18 uncut for strong bloody and sadistic violence and sexual threat for:

  • UK 2012 Entertainment One RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 22nd October 2012
  • UK 2012 Entertainment One R2 DVD at UK Amazon released on 22nd October 2012

Censorship History

Never cut, but it is notable for being one of the few films to accept the uncommercial option of an MPAA NC-17 (ie 18) rating for its US release.

Promotional Material

When drug dealer Chris (Emile Hirsch) has his stash stolen by his mother, he plans to dispatch of her and cash in on her $50,000 life insurance to repay his debts. He hires Detective Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a dirty cop who moonlights as a contract killer, who sets his sight on Chris' innocent sister Dottie (Juno Temple) as collateral for the job. But the agreement turns complicated when Dottie forms a bond with Killer Joe and everything begins to unravel. Killer Joe is a controversial and shocking black comedy thriller from director William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection).


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