British Board of Film Classification

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Type of media Film

Approved Running time 156m 59s

Release date 25/01/2013

BBFCInsight Contains strong language, violence and scenes of torture

Genre(s) Drama

Director(s) Kathryn Bigelow

Cast includes Jessica Chastian, Scott Adkins, Jason Clarke, Taylor Kinne, Mark Strong, James Gandolfini, Mark Duplass, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Kyle Chandler, Edgar Ramirez, Stephen Dillane, John Barrowman, Callan Mulvey, Harold Perrineau, Chris Platt, Frank Grillo

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 15/01/2013

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

ZERO DARK THIRTY is a drama about the decade-long hunt to find Osama Bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks in the US. It is rated 15 for strong language, violence and scenes of torture.

There are several uses of strong language ('f**k' and 'motherf***er').

Strong violence includes a number of people being shot by gunmen who storm a hotel, with brief sight of impact wounds and spurts of blood. Some victims are shot repeatedly. American operatives are portrayed torturing prisoners for information, including with the use of the technique known as 'waterboarding'. In one scene a dog collar is attached to a detainee's neck and he is led around the room on all fours, with sight of urine and faecal matter on the floor. These scenes are based on real accounts.

The film contains a scene in which a male soldier refers to a female operative, saying, 'her confidence is the one thing that's preventing me getting ass-raped in a Pakistani prison'. There is also brief real-life footage showing the aftermath of bombing incidents in London and New York and an opening scene featuring the voices of people caught up in the events of 9/11.

The film also contains moderate and mild language, such as, 'bitch', 'dick', 'asshole', 'ass', 'bullshit', 'shit' and 'crap'.

No-one younger than 15 may see a 15 rated film in the cinema. No-one younger than 15 may rent or buy a 15 rated video or DVD.


Universal Pictures Int (UK)
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
156m 59s
Approved footage
BBFC reference
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