THE PAPERBOY | British Board of Film Classification
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THE PAPERBOY <span>(2012)</span> artwork


Type Feature

Approx. Running minutes 104

Release dates 15/03/2013

Ratings Info Contains strong language, sex, sex references, violence and gory images

Genre(s) Drama

Director(s) Lee Daniels

Cast includes Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Macy Gray, Scott Glenn, David Oyelowo, Ned Bellamy

Cut All known versions of this work passed uncut.

  • Suitable only for 15 years and over icon15

Ratings info

Ratings info publication date 05/03/2013

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

THE PAPERBOY is a drama set in America's deep south in the 1960s about an investigative reporter who sets out to prove that a man on Death Row was wrongly convicted of murder. It is rated 15 for strong language, sex, sex references, violence and gory images.

The film contains over forty uses of strong language ('f**k'). There are also several uses of discriminatory language when black people are referred to, occasionally aggressively, as 'niggers'.

THE PAPERBOY contains a couple of strong sex scenes, the first of which shows a man thrusting vigorously between a woman's legs, his buttocks visible as he thrusts. The other takes place when a woman meets a man in prison for the first time. In front of other witnesses and at his request, she opens her legs to reveal the gusset of her knickers. She then opens her mouth and we see him rub his crotch as she begins to mime oral sex. We briefly see the man's arm moving as masturbation is implied and a brief image of a small wet patch on the man's trousers implying that he has reached an orgasm by watching her. However, there is no explicit detail shown in either scene. There are numerous sex references, including verbal references to oral sex and masturbation.

The violence is depicted without much detail, for example when a character has his throat cut we simply see blood seeping into a shirt from beneath the killer's arm. In other scenes, however, there are some gory moments which show the aftermath of violence. In one scene a man is found naked lying on some plastic sheeting on the floor. The plastic and his body is covered with a significant amount of blood and we see a brief image of his face covered in cuts, blood and swelling. In another scene we see a black and white still photo of a dead man lying on the ground with his intestines spilled around him. The brutality of the event is reinforced by a voice over reporting that the killer allegedly 'dragged his intestines for half a mile until he died'.

THE PAPERBOY also contains a scene showing a man covered with red blisters over his face arms and chest after he is stung by jelly fish. Realising the poison could kill him one says ''They say you're supposed to piss on a jellyfish sting", at which point a woman squats awkwardly over his body and a small stream of urine is seen trickling down onto the man's chest. This is an unusual image, but it briefly establishes a narrative point and occurs clearly in the specific context of someone trying to save a friend's life.

Other gory images include sight of a dead alligator being gutted and a dead raccoon is seen with blood dripping from its mouth. There is no evidence that any animal was treated with any cruelty. In other scenes two women share a cannabis joint, which is not commented on, and characters are seen smoking cigarettes throughout which is a reflection of common practice at the time.

No-one younger than 15 may see a 15 rated film in the cinema. No-one younger than 15 may rent or buy a 15 rated video or DVD


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DVD, Cinema
Lions Gate UK Ltd,Lions Gate Home Entertainment UK Ltd
Classified date(s)
Main language
BBFC reference

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