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Star Wars Prequels Media Movies

Attack of the Clones Cut in UK 481

MartyJG writes "The British Board of Film Classification has demanded a cut in Ep2 AOTC for a head-butt. I don't know which is more extreme: UK viewers insisting on viewing the US version for 1 second of extra film, or that a 1 second cut means the difference between a '12' (~PG-13) and a 'PG' certificate. For some reason the distributors must think fewer people would see the film if it was a '12'. The film report is on the BBFC website."
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Attack of the Clones Cut in UK

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  • by dazed-n-confused ( 140724 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:29AM (#3489987)
    For some reason the distributors must think fewer people would see the film if it was a '12'.

    My daughter is four, and she's looking forward to the new Star Wars film. So that's one.
  • Jaja Binks (Score:2, Funny)

    by pknut ( 571294 )
    I just wish that they'd cut out Jaja Binks in the UK release of Episode 1...
  • Not the first time (Score:5, Informative)

    by AmunRa ( 166367 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:34AM (#3490017) Homepage
    This sort of thing is not uncommon in the UK. If I recall correctly, Jurassic Park (1 or 2) had similar cuts. This is mainly due to the rating system in the UK, which is quite different to the states. In the UK, there are 5 certificates:
    • U - Any age
    • PG - Parental Guidance - If you are under 12, you have to be with a parent to see it
    • 12 - 12 yeras or over
    • 15 - 15 years or over
    • 18 - you get the idea...
    These are all legally binding (i.e. the cinema will get fined if they let a 10 year old into a 12 film). Basically, if AotC got a 12 cert, then Lucas would loose all those kids who he seems to be aiming at, and it would be less £££ (or $$$) for George.
    • by gowen ( 141411 )
      PG - Parental Guidance - If you are under 12, you have to be with a parent to see it
      Thats not actually true. PG [] and U [] are both open to all. The PG is a warning to parents to use their discretion as to whether little Johnny should be allowed to go (harking back to a previous age, I fear).
    • by karmawarrior ( 311177 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:53AM (#3490155) Journal
      They're not actually legally binding for films in cinemas. The system is a little more complicated than that.

      Local government has the absolute right to allow or disallow a film to be shown in local cinemas in the UK. To make things smoother, there's a policy that there will be little or no meddling in what films can be shown as long as the BBFC rates them and cinemas agree to restrict access according to the ratings. Cinemas who do not comply risk being unable to show films, either because the local council will withdraw their right to do so, or (more often) because the cinema chain will remove troublesome managers to prevent exactly this kind of showdown from happening.

      Occasionally ratings are ignored and censorship goes ahead anyway: many local councils banned Life of Brian and also The Last Temptation of Christ, though generally the public doesn't stand for this kind of thing: bus tours were organised to neighbouring towns and counties where the films were being allowed to be shown. On the flip side, many art house cinemas are able to show films that aren't rated, if they have a liberal enough local council.

      The BBFC ratings do have a legal mandate in one area, videos (and DVDs) where during the early eighties, the Thatcher regime responded to a "moral outrage" panic fanned a hysterical press about so-called slasher movies and passed a law making the ratings compulsory for video cassettes, and forcing sellers of video cassettes to abide by the certificates. There's at least one film, The Exorcist IIRC, that isn't available on video because the BBFC refuses to rate it.

      Incidentally, on your rather specific definition of PG: PG is a voluntary code in more ways than one - there's no requirement that a parent accompany the child, and I recall seeing films when I was below that age without needing a parent to come with me. It was assumed that my parents had given me the necessary "guidance". This may have changed in the last 20 years, but I'm pretty sure I'd have heard if it had.

      • by AmunRa ( 166367 )
        Indeed, I believe you are right. I do know some local councils (I think mine) have a policy of fining cinemas as well if they do not comply. It also gets quite complicated if you look at Cinema clubs. If you have a member's only cinema (i.e. no joe blogs public), then you can show what you like full stop.

        I'm involved in a student cinema, and as we show stuff just to the (student) members, we don't bother with ratings. OK, mainly this is because all our memebrs are >18, but we have certainly shown a number of independent films that are not rated...

      • Whoops!
        The Exorcist has been out on video and DVD for a couple of years now, and been shown on BBC TV at least once. The BBFC got much more relaxed in recent years, and now you can even nip down your local HMV and pick up a DVD of Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salo. or 120 days of Sodom
    • The dvd release of The Matrix in the UK had a headbutt cut out. They couldn't be bothered to amend the directors commentary track to match so the UK R2 release doesn't have the commentary track on it.

      Large hunting knife in the forehead, yes, headbutt, no.

      • Large hunting knife in the forehead, yes, headbutt, no.
        That (and I'm not saying I agree) is to do with "imitative behaviour". The idea being that its easier for kids to copy their heroes laying the Liverpool Kiss on one another than hacking limbs/skulls with knives/lightsabres.
  • No big deal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by buckeyeguy ( 525140 )
    I'm sure it happens all the time; it's just that THIS movie is far more noticeable in the details that its fans pay attention to.

    Acc. to the site, run time is 2 hours, 22 minutes. A good long film... one second will likely not be missed.

  • by Black Aardvark House ( 541204 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:34AM (#3490023)
    All those over a one-second headbutt? I wonder how many British children are exposed to professional wrestling? They'll see loads there.

    But even on the other side, this is one of those things where ignorance is bliss. If this was never reported, no one would have complained, since one second is a trivial amount of footage.

    I'd have to side with leaving the footage in. After all, there's much worse violence than a lousy head-butt.
  • by JHromadka ( 88188 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:35AM (#3490029) Homepage
    Argh! Now I know there is a head butt in AOTC! Please no spoilers please! Next thing you know someone is going to go around telling everyone that Yoda is Luke's uncle.
  • by rde ( 17364 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:35AM (#3490034)
    It's all very well cutting out Head-butt (who was much funnier than Beavis, IMO), but what happens when a bunch of impressionable six-year-olds watch the movie and emulate the language of their heroes?
    I can just picture them reciting their twelve-times-tables in class...

    Four times twelve, forty-eight is
    Five times twelve, sixty is

    This is a much more egregious assault on our children than a guy with a lightsabre quoting Ezekiel 25:17 as he pops a photon in a bot's ass.
  • by InterruptDescriptorT ( 531083 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:36AM (#3490039) Homepage
    ...that while a movie that shows graphic violence, including decapitations, disembowellings and other acts of torture and sickness that turn viewers' stomachs can still a 'PG-13' or 'R' rating in the US, while just about any sort of hint of sexual acts, both heterosexual and homosexual, will merit at the very least an 'R' or an 'X' rating?

    American censors and the film ratings boards seem to believe that it's OK for people to see violence because it won't affect them at all. Hey, the country was founded in a pit of blood during the Revolutionary War. But it's a hell of a lot better to have that on screen than it is to see two people who love each other show it intimately. Better that we have teenagers running into their school brandishing easily-purchased assault rifles than it is to have them falling in love with someone and spending time with them.

    I'm just curious when the culture of violence and hate that the United States pushes on its citizens will finally become tiresome or offensive to them. Look at crime rates in Europe, where guns are near impossible to get hold of and where there are no restrictive anti-sex laws on television. Is it any wonder that their crime rates per capita are significantly lower than the US?

    Let's keep producing more violent movies and glorifying war, like Platoon, Saving Private Ryan and all the Rambo movies do. That'll make everyone safer...
    • how does the government push culture on us? last time I checked, Corperations are owned by private citizens.

      and, BTW the reasons of our culture come from 2 points.

      1)we are a country that has been born and defined by its conflicts over its young life

      2) Puritans and other sexualy represive religions founded this nation back in the 1600's and stayed relevent in our country up until the 1960's, so we still have a lot of growing to do in the sexual realm. remember, Europe is the place that did not want the folks that first setteled the US, so we will be diffrent from them just because of that.
    • Well nobody is going to run around decapitating you with a light saber or shooting you with a blaster in the UK, but it's actually quite fashionable with some in the UK to 'nut' someone, risking breaking their nose or worse in the process. This was probably why this bit of violence was considered realistic enough to be cut.
    • by First Person ( 51018 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @10:04AM (#3490207)

      Actually what I find even more stupid is that (in the US) full frontal female nudity is perfectly okay for a R, but any full frontal male scenes and you are talking NC-17 or X. For the nearly all male movie executives and ratings board members, it's not like this should be anything they haven't seen before. Right?

    • Let's keep producing more violent movies and glorifying war, like Platoon, Saving Private Ryan

      Wow, the "Saving Private Ryan" movie I saw must have been a different one, because it certainly did not glorify war. Maybe you saw the UK version, with all the deaths cut out?
    • by Loligo ( 12021 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @10:14AM (#3490272) Homepage
      >Let's keep producing more violent movies and
      >glorifying war, like Platoon, Saving Private

      Uh... You honestly think Platoon or Saving Private Ryan "glorif[y] war"?

      Have you SEEN Saving Private Ryan? Have you actually WATCHED Platoon? There's nothing in either of those movies that glorifies war. They both attempt to portray war as the horrible nasty hellish nightmare that it is.

      After the release of SPR, military recruiters all over America reported a drop in inquiries. This from a nation that was ALREADY largely apathetic about military service. This was almost exclusively in response to the opening D-Day scenes.

      If you're looking for a movie that glorifies war, go find a copy of The Longest Day (B&W, please, none of that Turnerized colorized crap). Watch the Omaha Beach landing sequence. Compared to SPR's, it's about as violent as an episode of Seinfeld.

      For a more modern movie (yet set in an older war...), go get Mel Gibson's "The Patriot".

      Neither SPR nor Platoon try to be "feel good" movies. Neither is a chest-thumping rah rah "we kicked their sorry asses" movie.

      Oh, and I can't let this one go...

      >Look at crime rates in Europe, where guns are
      >near impossible to get hold of

      That kid in Germany sure seemed to have his share. I won't mention terrorist groups like the IRA, Red Brigade, ETA, 17 November, or any of a hundred splinter groups...

    • is it any wonder their crime rates per capita are significantly lower than the US?

      Actually, that would be a wonder since it is a commonly held (but innaccurate) perception as (for example) this graphic from the Telegraph shows ...

      chart []

      No question it is an amusing notion that crime is so much higher in the US because of its inherently violent movies but amusing != true. The truth is there has been a downward trend in crime in the US (and a corresponding upward trend in Europe) for more than the last decade - I'm not assigning any particular meaning to this statistic, just pointing out that perception in this case doesn't reflect reality.

    • I'm not from Europe so correct me if I am wrong. I don't mean to troll but I might come off as one.

      Look at crime rates in Europe, where guns are near impossible to get hold of and where there are no restrictive anti-sex laws on television. Is it any wonder that their crime rates per capita are significantly lower than the US?

      I contend that most evidence points to the fact that the US, Europe, and Canada (western nations really) have the same crime rates across the board. However the homicide rate in the US is about 5 times greater than other western nations. I think the obvious conclusion we can all draw is that firearms are more easily obtainable in the US than elsewhere in the world. I think the school shooting in Germany proved however that Europeans are not immue from violent crime either.

      The real problem I think with your argument is that the crime rate (all of them) in the US is dropping. See this DoJ site [] for more details. On the other hand crime rates is Europe are slightly rising as reported by business week [].

      Okay, so I haven't really shown any conclusive evidence about whether or not crime rates are really different, but I will say this. It is in my opinion that the perception of crime is what guides people to make conclusions above. I agree that homicides and other violent crimes are higher in the US than the rest of the western world, as reported [] by Scientific American. But I think many people choose to ignore or forget that Europe has a rising non-violent crime rate. The American media does not help the situation. I can regularly see homicide reports on the local news, I don't think the newspapers in Paris document every Metro pickpocketing. People think crime (in general) in the US is much higher than it really is because it is perceived to be much more prevalent.

      Now I don't want to say is that the situation in both regions on the world are okay and nothing needs to be done. The homicide rate in the US, the fact that US jails a tremendous number of its citizen (mostly young black males) as compared to the rest of the western world. There are certainly problems that need to be solved. But to make a sweeping conclusion that the violence in movies in the US and increase sex in the media in Europe is the cause for (untrue) lower European crime rates is a shaky argument.

      If anyone has hard evidence on the crime rates in Europe, Canada, and US and their trends of the last decade, I would like to see them. Please feel free to refue my argument, but please remember I am expressing an opinion.

      • I recently read that here (Sweden) you actually have a higher risk of getting into some form of trouble than you do in the US. Trouble being fights, robberies, theft, assaults etc etc. BUT, the risk of serious injury or death is magnitudes higher in the US.
        Could it be that since firearms are so common there, the people out to make trouble think twice before doing something, not knowing if their victim is carrying a weapon. But when they indeed do, it's a larger chance that they or the victim are killed.

        So basically, we have friendlier criminals here, neener :p

    • Yeah, the crime rates in Europe are great! Things like the ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia would never happen th...oh, wait. Maybe there are some violent Europeans, but at least they're not freelance. They work for the governments. That makes everybody much safer. Except maybe Jews. Or Gypsies. Or Muslims...

      What was your point about violence in the US again?

    • American censors and the film ratings boards seem to believe that it's OK for people to see violence because it won't affect them at all.... But it's a hell of a lot better to have that on screen than it is to see two people who love each other show it intimately

      Oh, lighten up!

      Different cultures are going to have different taboos based on different experiences. You might find it difficult to sympathise with, but it's generally the Americans' problem to deal with, just as European hangups are for Europeans to deal with. British and Irish attitudes to sex are not that far removed from Victorian times, even today

      It's only when people start visiting their hangups upon people whose culture doesn't share those hangups' bases, that we end up with serious problems

      Oh, and Switzerland has a huge gun owning constituency, and very low firearms crime rates. Is it just possible that a nations culture dictates the scope and severity of anti-social behaviour, rather than how many weapons can be found?


  • by shut_up_man ( 450725 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:38AM (#3490048) Homepage
    If Jar-Jar is the one who gets headbutted, I'm flying to the states to see the full version, ooooh yeah.

    • > If Jar-Jar is the one who gets headbutted, I'm flying to the states to see the full version, ooooh yeah.

      Sorry, d00d, but you're confusing "head butt" with "butt head".

  • I don't know which is more extreme: UK viewers insisting on viewing the US version for 1 second of extra film, or that a 1 second cut means the difference between a '12' (~PG-13) and a 'PG' certificate.
    It doesn't take that long to graphically show a throat being slit or to flash nudity. Obviously, these types of scenes are not in this movie, but one second is pleanty of time to "cross a line."

  • I seem to recall that Episode 4 was originally going to get a "G" rating, but Lucas was worried it would be thought of as a "kid's movie" and wouldn't be as popular. As the story goes, the shots of Luke's family members' burnt bodies was inserted to bump it up to a PG.
    Can anyone verify/debunk this?
  • Episode IV was "G" (Score:5, Informative)

    by dschuetz ( 10924 ) <david@d a s> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:42AM (#3490076)
    From what I recall, when the MPAA originally screened the first Star Wars (now referred to as Episode IV), they gave it a G rating. Lucas believed that such a rating was a kiss of death, being associated with movies exclusively for small children, and so added a one-second shot to make it "PG".

    It's in the cantina scene -- when Obi Wan shuts up the guy who'd been bugging Luke ("I'll be careful." "You'll be dead!"), we see a quick cutaway to a severed arm lying on the ground. In hindsight, it looks sorta out of place -- no characters in view, etc., just an arm on an unidentifiable floor.

    At least, this is what I remember being told way back when...
  • by Karl Cocknozzle ( 514413 ) <kcocknozzle AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:42AM (#3490077) Homepage
    How many kids saw Mike Tyson bite Evander Holyfield's ear off? Certainly plenty under 13, have we heard of a rash of ear-biting incidents? Lots of boys watch boxing with their father... These kids, so far it seems, haven't been scarred for life.

    Also, there's plenty of "dirty moves" in "professional" wrestling (quotes mine,) perhaps we should label those as innapropriate for children under 13 as well? (The fact that I think it IS inappropriate is at my discretion as an adult, I wouldn't presume to stick a label on the show because I find it distasteful.)

    Movie ratings are such a goof in this country and abroad. At least they made the cut over an act of violence, not sex. I mean, what's worse for a kid to know about? Everybody (at some point, hopefully) has sex. Everybody does NOT perpetrate violent crime on society. Yet shows like "Walker: Texas Ranger" are considered reasonable "family" viewing fare, despite long brutal hand to hand combat sequences in every show. Some of the moves Chuck Norris does in that show would kill a man if applied by an untrained person.

    What's worse: Your kid seeing a breast, or your kid being given a video tutorial on how to kill somebody?

    (FLAME OFF: The question is rhetorical for you to consider for your own lives and families...)
  • Aren't they afraid that UKian audiences will be confused when one of the characters suddenly gets blood all over his face for no reason?
  • Company chose to cut sight of a head butt to achieve a "PG". A "12" uncut was available to the distributor.

    I am surprised of all things in this film they could out for being violent they choose a head butt (it better be some impressive head butt). This film is ofcourse set during the clone wars so I thought there would be some more violent scenes they would cut out first. Hell I have even heard a major character gets killed.
    • I am surprised of all things in this film they could out for being violent they choose a head butt

      That's probably it. The ratings boards generally give the film owner a rating, and in some places tell them what things need to come out. If you had your choice between snipping some stupid head-butt, or dropping the scene where they show the major character getting killed, what would you get rid of?

      Quoteth the article:
      ' Company chose to cut sight of a head butt to achieve a "PG". '

      The list was probably like:
      1) The scene where one guy shoots lightening at the other guy.
      2) The lightsaber duel between those two guys
      3) The Natalie Portman panty-shot
      4) A headbutt

      Seems like an easy choice.
  • When it gets *down* to 1sec I think their work will be done.

    (not a fan :)
  • by keesh ( 202812 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:45AM (#3490098) Homepage
    It's in the 2nd Jango TV spot. You can get an MPEG here [].
  • They didn't cut out the head butt, they cut out the butt-head (jar jar of course).
  • by awol ( 98751 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @09:49AM (#3490128) Journal

    To quote the BBFC rating for a 12

    Imitable techniques
    Dangerous techniques (examples include: combat, hanging, suicides) should contain no imitable detail. Realistic and contemporary weapons should not be glamorised.

    and for a PG

    Imitable techniques
    No glamorisation of realistic, contemporary weapons. No detail of fighting or other dangerous techniques.

    So I reckon this is why a head butt would be enough to get a PG and light sabres and laser guns don't make a big deal.

    • Hrm, and it might explain why SWIV:ANH gets a U (i.e. Universal, suitable for all audiences from 0 up) rating despite having a scene where an arm is lopped off (Ben killing the alien in Mos Eisley Cantina)
    • Imitable techniques
      No glamorisation of realistic, contemporary weapons.

      And I thought that worrying about head-butts in a movie that presumably will show masses of people being fried with lasers, chopped up with lightsabers, etc., was just insane!

      Good thing they don't fight with artillery, big explosions _might_ be "imitable."
  • Did anyone else see the "Contains sci-fi action, violence, and peril" part? This just begs for a Python tangent of some sort.

    "No, No, the headbutt is far too perilous"
  • Logical: "Let's see, 'sliced in half by lightsabre[1]' - OK, 'headbut' - unacceptable."

    So, we (and every other post so far) have established that this isn't a logical move. We can move on to considering emotional or political.

    Emotional: "People sliced in half by lightsabres doesn't bother me, but a headbut really upsets me." One could argue that the lightsaber is purely fictional, whereas the headbut is grounded in reality, so this might be a possibility. However, since the job of the censor is to protect the under 12 crowd, assuming a sophisticated, reasoned emotional response like this is asking too much.

    Political: PHB Censor: "Ian[2], this movie is too violent, you need to make some cuts"
    Ian the Censor: "Actually, I quite liked the movie and I didn't find any use of violence gratutious."
    PHB Censor: "Dammit, Ian, I said make some cuts."
    Ian: "OK Boss". Hmmm, what can I cut that won't actually make any difference in the movie?

    [1] assumed british spelling
    [2] seem's like there's a 50/50 chance of the guy being called Ian
  • Moral Guardians? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Komarosu ( 538875 )

    The whole censorship thingie has been flying around for years now, the BBFC class themselves as the moral guardians of modern british society...which frankly has annoyed more people over the years than our goverment has, and thats saying something.

    Tbh, i dont think a 1 second cut will affect the film at all, but still its the principle of the matter...why do we have a legally binding orginisation that can tell us what we can and can't watch? Freedom of choice doesn't exist in all aspects of life it may seem.

    Just my $0.02 on the subject, i did media studies at college and i think i have a good look on the system...but prove me wrong if u feel u want to :)

  • I suppose that gives Lucas an extra reason to release a shitload of different versions onto DVD..

    I can imagine the sticky label: NOW WITH AN EXTRA 1 SECOND OF NEVER-SEEN-BEFORE FOOTAGE!

  • OBI-WAN: See ye, Jango!
  • Well, I guess that missing second will circulate as a surprisingly small mpeg on the Net for those really badly worried.... :-)
  • Can't I have just a little peril?

    No... It's too perilous.
  • Us brits always get our headbutts cut. The worst case recently has to be the Matrix - 15 seconds were cut, all due to headbutts. What really sucks is that this threw off the timing of the Music-only-Soundtrack/directors commentry extra, intended for inclusion on the DVD, so they binned it. 15 seconds and a couple of dvd extra's down the pan. If anyone's interested in seeing what else the british board of film clasifictaion deletes from movies try for dvd releases and for general uk censorship
  • Just call Star Wars a news program and it can have all the violence it wants and no rating.

    or better yet it's a scared strait program. this way kidswon't become evil overlords looking to take over the galexy
  • Tyler Durden could replace the 1 second with a much more appropriate clip...
  • Excuse me! (Score:4, Funny)

    by El Camino SS ( 264212 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @11:25AM (#3490744)
    "Excuse me! Can I say something?"


    SHORT GUY IN THE BACK: "Look, I understand that a headbutt might be a little violent for you raters out there... I UNDERSTAND. Real quick though, why is it you object to the headbutt, but wholesale chopping off of limbs with a lightsabre is totally okay?"

    THE BOARD: "Oh, sit down! We judge the morals around here!"
  • Seriously. The headbutt is a guy wearing a helmet (Boba Fett?). I can see some little reject putting on a hockey helmet and fracturing the skull of the kid next door, though I don't imagine we'll hear of any "school photon-blaster rampages" in the near future. They censor by what is realistic. If a kid figures out how to cut someone in half with a flashlight, the censors will get that, too.

    Until that day comes, you can watch saber-duels, but not metal-helmet-adorned head cracking.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday May 09, 2002 @01:04PM (#3491467) Homepage
    Lucas was the first, in 1978, to blow up an inhabited planet on-screen. That was the most violent, genocidal mass murder in the history of motion pictures.

    Few objected, because it wasn't "graphic violence".

Disks travel in packs.