British Board of Film Classification

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Type of media Film

Approved Running time 130m 49s

Release date 14/02/2014

BBFCInsight Contains scenes of emotional distress and moderate threat

Genre(s) Drama, War

Director(s) Brian Percival

Cast includes Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Ben Schnetzer, Nico Liersch, Joachim Paul Assbock

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 04/02/2014

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

THE BOOK THIEF is a drama based on the novel by Marcus Zusak. It tells the story of a young girl and her foster parents, who decide to shelter a Jewish friend during the period of Nazi control of Germany. It is rated 12A for scenes of emotional distress and moderate threat.

In the wake of a wartime bombing raid, a child discovers some dead bodies and is clearly distressed. She cries over the bodies, pleading with them not to be dead, and cradles them briefly. There is no sight of graphic or bloody injuries.

One sequence reconstructs the events of the 1938 'Kristallnacht', showing Nazis smashing the windows of Jewish businesses, dragging Jews into the street, and kicking them as they lie on the floor. In another scene, a Jewish man is forced from his home; when another man attempts to intervene, he is pushed to the ground and is subsequently seen to have a bloodied head. Further threat occurs as Nazis are shown searching houses and marching Jewish people through the streets.

There is some mild violence as a young girl fights a bully in the playground, delivering some punches to his body. The bully is also seen to slap another young boy on the face.

There is very brief sight of a young boy who has died as a result of an illness, with a small trickle of blood running from his nose. His body is wrapped in a blanket and then buried.

There is some very mild bad language, including uses of ‘hell’.

No-one younger than 12 may see a 12A film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult. No-one younger than 12 may rent or buy a 12 rated video or DVD.


20th Century Fox Film Co. Ltd
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
130m 49s
Approved footage
BBFC reference
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