LINCOLN | British Board of Film Classification
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LINCOLN artwork


Type of media Video

Approved Running time 144m 26s

Ratings Info Contains infrequent moderate war violence, gore and strong language

Genre(s) Drama

Director(s) Steven Spielberg

Cast includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee Jones

Cut This work was passed uncut.

  • Video release suitable for 12 years and over icon12

Ratings info

Ratings info publication date 25/02/2013

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

LINCOLN is a drama set in 1865 during the final months of the American Civil War, about Abraham Lincoln's struggle to end slavery in the face of intense political opposition. It is rated 12 for infrequent moderate war violence, gore and strong language.

The film contains images of violence in the context of battle, including a stabbing to the chest, repeated blows to a soldier with the butt of a rifle, bayoneting of soldiers, and a brief scene of a soldier's face being pushed into muddy water by another soldier's foot, in an attempt to drown him. The shot ends before the soldier is seen to die. These images are brief and the battle scene itself is not prolonged. In another scene the President rides through a battlefield and witnesses the results of the violence, with several dead soldiers seen. One of the bodies has a stomach wound, but there is otherwise little focus on injury. During a visit to an army hospital there are shots of the bandaged stumps of wounded soldiers as they sit in their beds. Blood is seen on cobblestones outside the hospital, followed by the sight of amputated limbs being tipped from a wheelbarrow into a hole in the ground. It is a brief startling image illustrating the horror of warfare. Towards the end of the film, Lincoln is seen, dead, in his bead with his pillow soaked in blood. It is a brief moment and not particularly focused upon.

There are two uses of strong language. In a brief confrontation between two men, one says 'f**k you, you son of a bitch' before running off. The second use occurs as a reaction to the President's unexpected visit, when a man says, 'well, I'll be f***ed'.

The film also contains racist language and references. These include use of 'nigger' and 'coon', and references such as '...hates niggers, hates God for making niggers' and 'voted yes for nigger freedom'. The language and references occur in a historical context, during an intense debate within American politics, and they illustrate the strength of feelings. However, the focus of the film is on the fight for equality and on those who fought to abolish slavery,

LINCOLN also contains a use of 'bitch' and other milder terms, including uses of 'shit', 'crap' and 'son of a bitch', 'goddamn', 'damn', 'hell' and a use of 'Jesus'.

No-one younger than 12 may see a 12A film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult. No-one younger than 12 may rent or buy a 12 rated video or DVD.


Twentieth Century Fox Home Ent.
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
144m 26s
BBFC reference

Components List

This work is made up of a number of separate components. Note that since February 2001 the BBFC has measured each component separately, but older works may not have the exact details, only a list of titles


Rating information

The version of this work detailed above is rated by the BBFC under the Video Recordings Act 1984 for use on any Packaged Media format (including DVD, Blu-ray and VHS). This classification may also be used when the same work is made available on Digital Video Platforms (including Video On Demand) provided that the platform is licenced to use BBFC ratings.

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