strong language, drug misuse, suicide

The Iron Claw is a sports biopic exploring a series of tragedies that plagued the Von Erich family of professional wrestlers across the 1980s and 1990s. Based on real events, the film charts their rise to fame, the close-knit dynamics of the four brothers, and how their father’s relentless pressure for them to excel took its toll on their mental and physical health.

Key classification issue: suicide

The film captures the tragedy and trauma of losing a loved one to suicide. Following life-changing injuries and family tragedies, two of the brothers take their own life. The suicide scenes are relatively brief, do not present novel information and are infrequent across the film as a whole. Although they are not graphic, they do feature a level of detail, including in the aftermath of the deaths, that exceeds our standards at 12A/12.

The presentation of suicide is further complicated by a surreal sequence in which the deceased brothers are seen reuniting in an idyllic afterlife. It is a challenging sequence from a classification perspective, as content which may be seen to endorse or romanticise suicide are of immense concern, and in some cases may require an 18 classification or even intervention. However, the film handles this material sensitively, with the reunion seemingly being the imagining of protagonist Kevin Von Erich. Faced with losing his brothers, he has experienced anger, devastation and numbness at his loss, but eventually finds solace in the belief that his brothers are happy and together again.

We classified The Iron Claw 15 for strong language, drug misuse, suicide.