PRIVATE PEACEFUL is an adaptation of the book by Michael Morpurgo, in which two brothers fall in love with the same girl and then go off to fight in the First World War. It was classified '12' for moderate battle violence.
There are some intense scenes of battle violence set in the trenches and battlefields of France. These include sight of British soldiers being mown down by German machine-gun fire as they charge an enemy position, sight of soldiers being blown off their feet when a shell explodes in a trench, and sight of a German soldier being shot in the back after infiltrating a British trench. In another scene there is a sense of panic as the Germans deploy gas and the British soldiers hurriedly put on their gas masks. Dead bodies are seen from time to time, including that of a dead German soldier draped over barbed wire in No Man's Land. Although there is very little detail of blood or injuries, the scenes are too intense to be permitted at 'PG' and are more appropriately classified at '12' where the BBFC's Guidelines state 'Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood'. The final part of PRIVATE PEACEFUL is also quite downbeat in nature and the sad ending has the potential to upset younger viewers, particularly those who are unfamiliar with the novel.
The film also contains occasional mild sex references and mild bad language, including the terms 'arse', 'bastards', 'bloody', bugger and 'shit'. There is some use of outdated discriminatory terms, such as 'Frenchie', 'Bosch' and 'Hun' but these merely reflect the period in which the story is set. There are occasional scenes of cigarette smoking that also reflect the period in which the story occurs but the film as a whole neither glamorises nor promotes the practice of smoking.