British Board of Film Classification

Quick search of releases

Advanced search




Type of media Video

Approved Running time 100m 7s

BBFCInsight Contains infrequent strong language and moderate sex references

Genre(s) Comedy, Crime, Drama

Director(s) Brett Ratner

Cast includes Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Tea Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Pena, Alan Alda, Judd Hirsch, Zeljko Ivanek

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 28/11/2011

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

TOWER HEIST is a comedy starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. They play a concierge and a street criminal who team up to recover money stolen from them by their disgraced boss. The film was classified '12' for infrequent strong language and moderate sex references.

At '12A'/'12' the BBFC's Guidelines state 'Moderate language is allowed. The use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’) must be infrequent'. The Guidelines also state 'Discriminatory language or behaviour must not be endorsed by the work as a whole. Aggressive discriminatory language or behaviour is unlikely to be acceptable unless clearly condemned'. During TOWER HEIST there is one use of strong language in which a charatcer comically refers to an old TV series and an aggressive, albeit comic use of the Jamaican term 'bumbaclot' spoken by a female character as she knocks out a security guard. The film also contains infrequent use of the word 'nigger'. In this case it is used in a self-referential manner by a black character without racist intention. Given the context in which the language is used, it is permissible at '12'.

At '12A'/'12' the Guidelines state 'Sex references should not go beyond what is suitable for young teenagers. Frequent crude references are unlikely to be acceptable'. Sex references include a character stating 'I seek lesbians out - they got the nicest titties', and in another scene the same character complains 'You brought me out here for some freak shit - you wanna stimulate my nutsack!'. Such dialogue is spoken in a comic context and it reflects the bawdy attitude of the character in question. There are also glimpses of a Playboy magazine in the film, but without sight any clear nudity. Both the dialogue and visuals fall within the allowance under Guidelines at '12'.

The film also contains a brief threat of suicide as a depressed man walks in front of a subway train, but he is stopped just in time and recovers without harm. The focus is on him recovering and getting support from his friends, with the suicide itself not glamorised or endorsed in any way. There is some shoplifting seen in one sequence, but the focus is on the incompetence of the characters rather than the criminal activity. Other language in the film includes over ten uses of 'bitch', as well as 'wanker', 'shit', 'asshole' and 'prick'.

Parents can find additional information about the content of this film if they visit


Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
100m 7s
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.

Share this!

Facebook logo Twitter logo