British Board of Film Classification

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THE SPIRIT artwork


Type of media Film

Approved Running time 102m 5s

Release date 26/12/2008

BBFCInsight Contains moderate violence

Director(s) Frank Miller

Cast includes Gabriel Macht, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes, Jaime King, Paz Vega, Eric Balfour, Sarah Paulson

Cut This work was cut. The cuts were made at the request of the distributor to achieve a particular category. To obtain this category cuts of 0m 25s were required. Details of cuts below may contain spoilers or plot details.

BBFCinsight publication date 16/12/2008

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

THE SPIRIT is an action adventure film based on a comic, and directed by Frank Miller in a similar style to SIN CITY or 300. It was classified '12A' for moderate violence.

In THE SPIRIT, we see comic book characters fighting each other with a range of weapons including pistols, knives and machine guns. There is also hand-to-hand fighting throughout the film, including sight of punches and kicks to the face. There is occasional sight of blood during the film, such as when The Spirit pulls a knife from his leg after being attacked or when we see a body lying on a morgue slab with entry wounds in the torso.

At '12A', the BBFC's Guidelines state that 'violence must not dwell on detail' and 'there should be no emphasis on injuries or blood'. During THE SPIRIT, the violence is relatively frequent but is shown with a style that clearly denotes the comic book origins of the story - the characters are larger than life, and much of the film is in black and white with dashes of colour, so that in the rare instances blood is shown it may be bright red with everything surrounding it in monochrome. While such a style draws attention to the blood, it does so in a manner befitting a graphic novel rather than in a realistic sense, and furthermore there is little actual detail shown during the violence. The comedic slant of the film also highlights the sense of the fantastical throughout.

The film includes brief nudity during a scene in which a female character is ordered to put her hands behind her head - she does so and her towel slips off. There is no focus on her naked body other than a blurred frontal shot in the background & brief rear nudity.

The film also contains mild language such as 'son of a bitch', 'piss me off' and 'bastards'.

Cuts information

Distributor chose to make cuts to achieve a 12A classification, removing: focus on knives as a group of hoodlums surround and threaten a woman; sight of the hero mounting his foe on the ground and repeatedly punching him in the head; sight of a severed finger flying towards the camera; and part of a man's rib-cage embedded in the ground. A 15 certificate without cuts was available.


Lions Gate UK Ltd
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
102m 30s
Approved footage
BBFC reference
Registration number

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