Straight Outta Compton | British Board of Film Classification
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Straight Outta Compton

Film information

  • Straight Outta Compton

  • Director: F. Gary Gray

  • Status: 15 uncut

  • Year: 2015

Genre: BIOPIC, Drama

The film Straight Outta Compton was announced in late 2009. The film depicts the rise and fall of the rap group NWA and its members Eazy-E, Dr Dre and Ice Cube. Members of the group were heavily involved in the production, with Dr Dre and Ice Cube attached to the project from the beginning as producers. Eazy-E's widow, Tomica Woods-Wright, is also a producer and other former members DJ Yella and MC Ren served as creative consultants.

The plot of the film follows NWA's emergence from the streets of Compton, California and the group's rise to local, national and international fame, revolutionizing hip hop music before legal disputes and personality clashes break them apart.

Press interest in the film was high due to some incidents during pre-production and filming. These included a drive-by shooting that occurred in front of the cast and crew while they were shooting on location outside the Compton Courthouse and a hit-and-run involving record producer Suge Knight. The latter incident left one man dead and another injured and resulted in Knight being charged with murder. He was also indicted for 'threatening death or bodily injury' to the film's director F. Gary Gray.

Universal submitted trailers for the film earlier in 2015, with 12A requests. The BBFC gave these trailers a rating of 12A, noting the they contained some suggestion of violence and the sight of guns and baseball bats, but there was no clear detail of blows making contact and no bloody injury detail. The trailers also contained implied strong language with an abbreviated use of the term 'mother' audible in lyrics during a performance.

The distributor sought advice from the BBFC, stating that they would like to release the work with a 15 rating. They submitted a finished version of the film, which was seen by Compliance Managers, who felt that the requested 15 would be acceptable.

Straight Outta Compton was submitted for formal classification in July 2015, with its release scheduled for 28 August. It was submitted with a 15 request and passed at that category, with the BBFCinsight of 'strong language, violence, sex, drug use'.

The detailed BBFCinsight notes that there are several uses of strong language ('f**k' and 'motherf**ker'), during dialogue and in rap lyrics. There are also uses of discriminatory language such as 'nigger', with some aggressive uses of the term during scenes of police brutality. When a character is diagnosed with AIDS, he complains 'I ain't no fag'.

As planned, the distributor released Straight Outta Compton on 28 August 2015 in the UK. The BBFC did not receive any complaints about the film's 15 rating.

The BBFC passed an extended 'Director's Cut' version, which received an 18 rating. That version contains an additional 26 minutes of footage, including two stronger sex scenes. In the first, a man watches pornography on a tour bus and another character complains about it. There is nudity, moaning and thrusting, but no strong sexual detail. The second sex scene combines drug-taking with sexual activity, with two women smoking marijuana while having sex with a man. The Compliance Officer who watched it for classification noted that, under the BBFC Classification Guidelines, a combination of sexualised nudity and drug use required an 18 rating.