Published: 13th May 2022

BBFC guide to the sci-fi film galaxy

From 2001: A Space Odyssey to Everything Everywhere All At Once, audiences have been marvelling at the world of science-fiction on the big screen.

From alien invasions to time travel, we’ve taken a look at some of the most iconic films rooted in sci-fi origins to honour this long-beloved genre. We’ve included the age ratings, and information about what the films contain, so you can choose what’s right for you. 

2001: A Space Odyssey

mild violence, threat

After discovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the Lunar surface, mankind sets off on a quest to find its origins with help from intelligent supercomputer H.A.L. 9000.

Back To The Future Part III

mild violence, mild bad language

Back To The Future Part III is an action adventure comedy sequel in which a man travels back in time to save his friend.

violence

A character is caught in a noose which causes him to choke, before he is hauled up and briefly hanged, but he is quickly rescued. There is also a shooting and some blows to the face.

language

There is mild bad language including use of 'sonofabitch', 'shit' and 'asshole'.

A Wrinkle In Time

mild threat

A Wrinkle In Time is a US fantasy drama in which a girl and her brother search for their missing father in a fantastical realm.

threat

Children are threatened by fantastical forces: they flee a vast storm, fall from great height and meet sinister red-eyed villains along their journey. A physical embodiment of evil flies through space and hits the Earth, causing explosions. Two young men, influenced by this evil, bully a homeless man.

There are moments of violence: a girl throws a ball into a bully's face; a girl is caught by the tendrils of a fantastical force and flung around.

Big Hero 6

mild threat, scary scenes

Big Hero 6 is an animated adventure about a young science genius who uses his friendship with a special robot to hunt down the man responsible for causing a devastating fire that threatened the city.

threat

There are a lot of prolonged fight sequences between various robotic entities and between the heroes and the main villain. Nobody ever gets hurt in these fights, but there is a lot of destruction wrought and the scenes are very noisy. Some of the images of the villain, as he summons up his huge army of microbots, are a little scary.

The film also contains a narrative thread dealing with bereavement which is shown to be the principal motivating factor for the main character.

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

contains mild language and moderate fantasy horror

Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

Dune

moderate violence, threat, bloody images

Dune is a sci-fi drama in which a noble household are tasked with overseeing the harvesting of a rare commodity on a desert planet, but their role makes them the target of multiple adversaries.

violence

Scenes include close-quarters combat with bladed weapons, including slashes and stabbings resulting in brief sight of blood. There is occasional focus on bloodied blades, or blood on hands and clothes. Other sequences depict large scale attacks in which ships and buildings are bombed and explode, and a number of deaths caused by toxic gas.

threat and horror

Scenes of threat include characters being pursued and attempting to escape giant worms, flying through a sandstorm, fleeing from explosions, being held at knife point, and being targeted by remote devices that inject poison. A character is left paralysed by poison, and his body is seen naked in a chair as his enemies mock him.

There are occasional mild sex references, including in a sequence in which men's comments suggest threatening intent towards a woman. There is use of mild bad language ('ass') and milder terms including 'God', 'hell', and 'damn'. Occasional reference is made to the hallucinogenic properties of a fictional substance.

Tenet

moderate violence, threat, domestic abuse, infrequent strong language

Tenet is a sci-fi thriller in which a man is enlisted to stop an evil plot involving futuristic technology.

language

There is infrequent strong language ('f**k'), as well as milder terms including 'bitch', 'bullshit', 'bloody' and 'piss'.

threat and horror

There are frequent tense sequences in which people are in dangerous situations, come under fire, or attempt to evade bombs. In one scene terrorists take over an auditorium and there is brief distress among the audience. There is also a scene in which an abusive husband holds his wife at gunpoint, and threatens to beat her with his belt.

violence

Scenes include gunfights, fistfights, stabbings, use of improvised weapons, and explosions. In an interrogation scene it is implied a man's teeth are pulled out, but bloody detail is minimal. Another man is beaten to death, but the scene does not feature strong detail. A man verbally threatens another man with castration. A husband is abusive towards his wife, threatening her and later shooting her. In one scene she aims a gun at him, but he disarms and punches her. His behaviour is implicitly criticised throughout.

Discreet references are made to suicide and discriminatory behaviour. There are also mild sex references.

Blade Runner 2049

strong violence, language, sexualised nudity

Blade Runner 2049 is a science fiction sequel in which a Los Angeles detective investigates a mystery.

violence

Scenes of strong violence include fights with guns and knives, resulting in bloody injuries.

language

There is occasional strong language ('f**k') as well as milder bad language such as 'prick' and 'shit'.

nudity

There is female breast and buttock nudity.

Everything Everywhere All At Once

strong violence, sex references, language

Everything Everywhere All At Once is a sci-fi action film in which the owner of a laundrette, bored with her everyday existence, finds herself at the centre of a multiverse battle.

violence

There are scenes of strong violence, including bloody beatings and shootings, implied stabbings, as well as emphasis on the breaking of bones. Some scenes contain slow-motion bloody detail upon impact of weapons and bullets. Other violence includes highly stylised martial arts fight sequences.

sex

There are strong visual sex references, including references to BDSM and sexual role-play (e.g. a woman uses large dildos in a bloody beating; it is implied that two men purposefully land on pointy objects, which are subsequently revealed sticking out from underneath their clothes).

language

There is use of strong language ('f**k'), accompanied by milder terms ('bitch', 'shit', 'bullshit', 'piss', 'God', 'damn' and 'butt').

flashing/flicking lights

This work contains flashing images which may affect viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.

There are scenes of moderate, fantastical threat in which a woman is jolted from universe to universe.

Snowpiercer

strong bloody violence, language

Snowpiercer is a South Korean science fiction drama, from 2013, following a rebellion on a train, in which the last surviving humans circle a frozen Earth.

violence

A rebel stabs a soldier in the chest and cuts upward, with bloody detail. A man is stabbed through the hand, with close-up focus. There are regular fights with axes, guns and makeshift weapons.

language

There is use of strong language ('f**k', 'motherf**ker') as well as other terms such as 'bitch' and 'Jesus'.

It is implied that characters misuse a fictional drug. A character tearfully admits to having eaten human babies.

Attack The Block

contains strong language, violence, gore and soft drug use

Attack The Block is a comedy sci-fi horror film about a young nurse and a gang of teenage boys who are forced to defend their London tower block from an alien invasion.

language

There is strong language ('f**k').

violence

There is strong gory violence when aliens attack humans, ripping their throats and faces with sight of blood spurts and spray; a decapitation is also implied. Human characters are seen defending themselves against the aliens using a variety of weapons including baseball bats, swords and handguns. There is also a scene in which characters are robbed at gun point.

drugs

Characters are seen rolling, smoking, selling and growing marijuana.

The Matrix

strong violence

The Matrix is a 1999 sci-fi action in which a computer hacker's reality turns upside down after he uncovers the truth about 'the Matrix'.

violence

There are bloody shootings and prolonged fights scenes that include often repeated and targeted blows to the head and body. A knife is thrown into a man's head.

There are also several scenes of threat, as well as infrequent strong language ('f**k'), rude gestures and milder terms (for example, 'shit', 'bullshit', 'asshole', 'ass', 'crap', 'hell'), as well as brief sex and drug references.

To find out where you can stream, buy or rent these films, check out Find Any Film.