British Board of Film Classification

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KILLER JOE artwork


Type of media Video

Approved Running time 98m 5s

BBFCInsight Contains strong bloody and sadistic violence and sexual threat

Genre(s) Drama

Director(s) William Friedkin

Cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon, Marc Macaulay, Jeff Galpin, Danny Epper

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 15/08/2012

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

KILLER JOE is a drama about a police detective who also works as a contract killer. He is hired by a young man to kill his mother so the young man can use his mother's life insurance to clear a debt to a drug dealer. It was rated 18 for strong bloody and sadistic violence and sexual threat.

There are violent scenes including a woman being punched hard in the face, causing her face to become heavily bloodied, a scene where a can of food is used as a weapon to repeatedly punch a man in the face, a scene in which a man is beaten because of his debt to the drug dealer, and scenes where characters are shot and we see blood from their wounds. The BBFC's Guidelines at 15 state 'Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable'. With some dwelling on the infliction of both pain and injury, and some sadistic violence, these scenes were only allowable at 18.

There are also two scenes of sexual threat. In the first scene, a young woman is ordered to remove her clothes before she is engaged in sexual activity. In the second scene a woman is made to kneel and suck on a chicken drumstick which has been placed in front of a man's crotch. During this scene the man holding the chicken mimics sexual pleasure by thrusting his hips towards the woman and moaning. In both cases the sexual nature of the threat and the threat of violence which accompanies the latter scene in particular means they can only be passed at 18.

KILLER JOE also contains strong language, sexualised nudity and some soft drug use.

No-one younger than 18 may see an 18 rated film in the cinema. No-one younger that 18 may rent or buy an 18 rated video or DVD.


Entertainment One UK
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
98m 5s
BBFC reference

Components List

This work is made up of a number of separate components. Note that since February 2001 the BBFC has measured each component separately, but older works may not have the exact details, only a list of titles


Rating information

The version of this work detailed above is rated by the BBFC under the Video Recordings Act 1984 for use on any Packaged Media format (including DVD, Blu-ray and VHS). This classification may also be used when the same work is made available on Digital Video Platforms (including Video On Demand) provided that the platform is licenced to use BBFC ratings.

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