Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood


strong bloody violence

Set in 1969, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood follows a struggling actor, Rick Dalton, and his faithful stunt double, Cliff Booth, as they try to resurrect their movie careers.

Similar to Tarantino’s earlier film, Inglourious Basterds, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood takes history as its basis but depicts an alternate course of events. In the film, Rick lives next door to actress Sharon Tate, who was brutally murdered by followers of cult leader Charles Manson. The film builds to that tragic night, but in a darkly comic twist the cult members accidentally enter Rick’s house rather than Tate’s, where Cliff and Rick proceed to kill them and unwittingly save Tate and her friends.

The unexpected wish-fulfilment fantasy of saving Tate and despatching her murderers also provides relief from the growing tension that the previous scenes have steadily built. The manner of their deaths is also blackly comic, with Cliff and Rick using a can of food, Cliff’s dog and a flamethrower to gory effect. Cliff has also ingested drugs prior to the home invasion, and his stoned demeanour coupled with the hapless would-be killers’ incompetence lends the scene a darkly comedic tone.

Our guidelines at 15 allow for strong violence, but there should not be a sustained focus on the infliction of pain and injury. During the attack, a woman stabs Cliff in the leg and he retaliates by slamming her head against walls and furniture over and over again in gratuitous fashion, until much of her face is caved in. Despite the outrageous humour, the graphic imagery and brutality of the violence by one of the film’s protagonists meant the film required an 18, and so we classified the film 18 for strong bloody violence.