British Board of Film Classification

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Type of media Film

Approved Running time 104m 30s

Release date 22/07/2011

BBFCInsight Contains strong language and one strong sex reference

Genre(s) Drama

Director(s) Mike Mills

Cast includes Ewan McGregor, Melanie Laurent, Christopher Plummer, Goran Visnjic

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 12/07/2011

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

BEGINNERS is a drama about a recently widowed 75 year old man who announces to his son that he is coming out as gay. The film was classified '15' for strong language and a strong sex reference.

The BBFC's Guidelines at '12A'/'12' state 'The use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') must be infrequent'. The film features a number of uses of strong language, some of them aggressive. The majority of uses occur during a single sequence in which a group of people show their excitement at a firework display. Consequently the film is more appropriately classified at '15' where the Guidelines permit 'frequent use of strong language'.

There is a single strong sex reference when a line from the Allan Ginsberg poem, "Howl", is heard being recited by Ginsberg himself. The line in question contains references to both anal and oral sex and exceeds the terms of the '12A'/'12' Guidelines which state 'Sex references should not go beyond what is suitable for young teenagers'. By contrast, the Guidelines at '15' state 'There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour'.


Universal Pictures Int (UK)
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
104m 30s
Approved footage
BBFC reference
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