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Jagged Edge (1985)

When the film was submitted for classification in 1985 the first examiners to view it suggested two cuts may be required to achieve an 18 classification.

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WARNING: This case study contains plot spoilers

The thriller Jagged Edge (1985) is directed by Richard Marquand and stars Glenn Close, Jeff Bridges, Peter Coyote, and Robert Loggia. The film opens with a wealthy woman and her maid being murdered. The husband, Jack Forrester (Jeff Bridges) is accused of the murders and hires district attorney Teddy Barnes (Glenn Close) to defend him. The pair begin to fall in love and Teddy clears his name. She believes his innocence until she finds evidence against Jack and he attempts to murder her, but in her self-defence she shoots him dead.

When the film was submitted for classification in 1985 the first examiners to view it suggested two cuts may be required to achieve an 18 classification. Both of these suggested cuts were to scenes of sexualised violence and murder and to descriptions of sexualised violence in the courtroom. The film was examined again by a different team who recommended that cuts were not required and the film was passed 18 uncut.

The report available here, written by an examiner viewing Jagged Edge for its video classification in 1986, agrees with the 18 uncut classification, describing the scenes as tough but unexpolitative and considers how the scenes highlight the awfulness and inhumanity of the crime committed.

The BBFC file for Jagged Edge contains one letter of complaint about the film, in which a member of the public takes a different view, they said "'Jagged Edge' is an exceptionally exciting, well made and enjoyable thriller for the most part, but it could have been just as good without (these) details, which are sickening and gratuitous addition to the many scenes of violence that seem to have become an accepted and uncurbed part of cinema and television drama, glamorising what should be abhorrent."

The video was passed 18 uncut again in 1995 and on DVD in 2000. The scenes retain their strength and impact but do not go beyond the Classification Guidelines at 18 which reflect the public's opinion that adults should be free to choose their own entertainment as long as it does not breach criminal law or pose any harm risk to the view or society.

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