British Board of Film Classification

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W.E. artwork


Type of media Film

Approved Running time 119m 1s

Release date 20/01/2012

BBFCInsight Contains strong language, once very strong, and scenes of domestic violence

Genre(s) Drama, Romance

Director(s) Madonna

Cast includes Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, James D'Arcy, Oscar Isaac, Richard Coyle, James Fox, Laurence Fox

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 10/01/2012

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

W.E. is a drama that switches back and forth between the romance between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson and a more contemporary romance in New York City in the late 1990s. It was classified '15' for strong language, once very strong, and scenes of domestic violence.

The BBFC's Guidelines at '15' state 'There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, 'fuck'). The strongest terms (for example, 'cunt') may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable'. There are four uses of strong language and a single use of very strong language. The one use of very strong language is directed by a husband at his wife during the course of an increasingly heated exchange that culminates in domestic violence. Although the word is spoken with a degree of aggression, it is not said with a great deal of strength or vehemence. It is neither the climax of the sequence, nor does it punctuate the scene with significant force. Moreover, the use is not gratuitous but serves to escalate the tension, being immediately met with a slap from the woman that in turn leads to further violence.

The scenes of domestic violence, including the one referred to above, are relatively brief and lacking in strong detail. In one scene the naked female victim is pulled from a bath by her hair before being slapped and kicked by her abusive husband. However, the scene carries no erotic charge and does not challenge the BBFC's strict policy on sexual violence, even at the '15' classification category.

W.E. includes a scene in which it is inferred that Edward VIII spikes his flagging guests' champagne with Benzedrine in order to re-energise them but the film as a whole does not promote or encourage drug misuse. The film also includes frequent scenes of smoking. In one scene Edward VIII refers to Ali Khan as a 'camel jockey' but the film as a whole does not endorse discriminatory language or behaviour.


Studio Canal
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
119m 1s
Approved footage
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