Blinded By The Light


racist language and behaviour, moderate bad language

In the 1980s a British-Pakistani teenager, Javed, discovers and is empowered by the music of Bruce Springsteen. Set against the frightening rise of the National Front political movement and his own family struggles, Blinded By The Light explores how music can empower and unite people in the face of racism and adversity.

In Blinded By The Light, two British- Asian men are attacked by those taking part in a National Front march, resulting in some bloody detail. Elsewhere, British-Asian characters are bullied and treated poorly, including being subjected to abusive language through verbal insults and hateful graffiti.

Where scenes of discrimination involve associated acts of violence, they are treated more cautiously under our guidelines. This can sometimes result in content receiving a higher age rating, unless there is clear contextual justification and condemnation for the violence. Although parallels can be drawn between the events in the film to those occurring today, the historical setting contextualises the violence as a result of the National Front’s rise and provides a degree of distancing for modern audiences from the events on-screen.

When violence occurs, it is brief and without strong detail, and instances of discrimination are spread out across the story, separated by scenes of a more gentle and uplifting nature. Perhaps most importantly, the film’s message is overtly disapproving of racist behaviour, with audience sympathies strongly aligned to the British-Asian protagonist.

Overall, the tone of the film is reassuring and light, exploring how sympathetic values exist in music felt across generations and all over the world. This, combined with the very clear condemnation of the racist behaviour and language, allowed us to classify Blinded By The Light 12A for racist language and behaviour, moderate bad language.