THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS | British Board of Film Classification
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THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS <span>(2009)</span> artwork


Type Feature

Approx. Running minutes 120

Release dates 16/10/2009

Ratings Info Contains infrequent strong language, scenes of threat, hanging and smoking

Genre(s) Fantasy, Drama

Director(s) Terry Gilliam,Not known

Cast includes Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jude Law, Lily Cole, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, Not known

Cut All known versions of this work passed uncut.

  • Video release suitable for 12 years and over icon12

Ratings info

Ratings info publication date 06/10/2009

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS is a fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam. The film was classified '12' for infrequent strong language, scenes of threat, hanging and smoking.

At '12A/12', the BBFC's Guidelines state that 'moderate language is allowed. The use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’) must be infrequent'. There is one use of strong language in the film, and it is muttered by a character with the soundtrack obscuring it to a degree. Other language includes uses of 'bitch', along with 'bastard', 'bollocks' and 'tits'.

As much of the film concerns characters being chased or scared, there is a level of threat throughout which is heightened in the 'Imaginarium' sequences, during which people see all manner of bizarre creatures. At one point a character is also chased by gangsters hell-bent on killing him. During such sequences we see characters being punched or slapped, including some heavy blows landed by a teenage girl onto a brutish man who is trying to molest her. In another sequence a character slaps a woman hard in the face, knocking her to the ground. None of these scenes dwell on detail, with occasional sight of blood only. These scenes accord with the BBFC's Guidelines at '12A/12', which state that ''Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail'.

The hanging scenes include sight of a character swinging by the neck from a rope under a bridge, seemingly having tried to commit suicide. At '12A/12', BBFC Guidelines state that 'Dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on detail which could be copied, or appear pain or harm free'. This scene goes on for several minutes with clear and repeated sight of the character hanging from his neck under the bridge before he is rescued, and other scenes show a man being chased by gangsters and then an angry mob with the intention of hanging him. The act of hanging someone by the neck from a noose is a method that is well known to even very young audiences having seen a range of viewing material, but the sequences are set within fantastical scenarios, and are not shown to be pain or harm free through the progression of the narrative.

The film also contains occasional scenes in which we see a teenage woman smoking. Such instances are brief and there is no discussion of the habit.

Sex references in the film include the sight of a fifteen year-old girl posing nude on stage during a show, but all nudity is covered by her hair and limbs. There is also a scene in which a man and woman sleep together, but this is not accompanied by any visual detail other than sight of him doing up his shirt after sex, and her lying down with her bra exposed. We also hear the line "you're a very naughty girl!" during the scene. At '12A/12' BBFC Guidelines state that 'Sexual activity may be briefly and discreetly portrayed'.

In one scene we see the Doctor's assistant on stage with black make-up, and he is mistaken as a 'poor black child' by a haughty rich woman that attends the show. This is clearly played for laughs and does not carry any racist message or sense of discrimination - rather it shows how out of touch the woman is and how amateurish the stage production.


Also known as
Cinema, DVD
Lions Gate Home Entertainment UK Ltd,Lions Gate UK Ltd
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