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MACHINE GUN PREACHER <span>(2011)</span> artwork


Type Feature

Approx. Running minutes 126

Release dates 02/11/2011

Rating Info Contains strong language, violence, threat and gory injury detail

Genre(s) Drama, War, Action

Director(s) Marc Forster

Cast includes Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Kathy Baker, Michael Shannon, Souleymane Sy Savane

Cut All known versions of this work passed uncut.

  • Suitable only for 15 years and over icon15

Rating info

Rating info publication date 23/10/2011

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

MACHINE GUN PREACHER is an action drama based on the true story of a violent drug addict who turned to Christianity and dedicated himself to helping and protecting the children caught up in a brutal conflict in northern Uganda. The film was classified '15' for strong language, violence, threat and gory injury detail.

The film contains over 30 uses of strong language, some of which are used in an aggressive manner. This exceeds the terms of the BBFC's Guidelines at '12A'/'12' which state 'The use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') must be infrequent' but is permissible at '15' where the Guidelines state 'There may be frequent use of strong language'.

The Guidelines at '15' also 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'. The violence occurs in two distinct contexts. First of all, the audience is shown the hell-raising life of the central character in his American homeland, prior to his religious conversion, and then we are shown the battles between military forces in Uganda, in which he becomes involved as he attempts to build a church and an orphanage for the child victims. In the scenes set in America, the violence includes the beating-up of a drug dealer and the horrific killing of a vagrant in which the victim is decapitated. In terms of the Ugandan scenes, the battle violence is characterised by sustained exchanges of gunfire and explosions which result in bloody injury. There is also a strong sense of threat in a scene in which a Ugandan village is raided by a rebel army, with youngsters being rounded up to serve as child soldiers and a young boy being forced into murdering his mother. However, the violence and threat is mostly delivered without strong detail and is shot in a manner that reflects the central character's volatile nature back in America and then the frantic chaos of war in Uganda. There are a number of images which show stronger gory injury in the aftermath of attacks, such as a woman who has had her lips cut off and a young boy whose legs have been blown off in a landmine explosion. However, these images are brief and intended to highlight the horrors of war rather than dwell on disturbing detail.

The film also contains scenes of hard drug use, which do not glamorise or endorse the activity, and a moderate sex scene.



Cinema, DVD
Lions Gate UK Ltd,Lions Gate Home Entertainment UK Ltd
Classified date(s)
Main language
Other languages
BBFC reference

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