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Two Evil Eyes

The House of Hitchcock Collection

Walk Among the Tombstones, A


  • BBFC 15
  • R-Rated
Release: Jan 27, 2015 - Author: Mike Lowrey - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Liam Neeson has had a remarkable career renaissance since his unexpected action hit Taken in 2008. Since then the actor has starred in several other roles that show him as the seasoned, sympathetic go-to guy with varying amounts of action. A change of pace is the British crime thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones where Neeson's private eye character Matt Scudder acts with more composure as he hunts down two brutish murderers.

But it doesn't take nonstop action in order to have to deal with censorship. In this case it even was a free decision since UK distributor Entertainment One wanted to cash in on Neeson's popularity. Therefore, they let the British classification board BBFC take a look at an unfinished version of the movie and get an idea of what rating was most likely. The BBFC tended to rate it "18" but that wasn't to the liking of Entertainment One who wanted a "15" rating. After the board gave them hints as to how the desired classifcation could be achieved by censoring the film, they followed the advice and got the rating they wanted:

This work was originally seen for advice. The company was advised that the film was likely to receive an 18 certificate but that their preferred 15 classification could be achieved by making cuts to reduce a scene of sexualised threat and to remove an accompanying aggressive use of very strong language directed at a woman. When the finished version of the film was submitted for formal classification, edits had been made to this scene. The formal submission was consequently rated 15.

Now, one could say that that's a problem for the folks in the UK but especially the last half year showed that that conclusion falls short often enough. As Pompeii, Hercules or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty show, such pre-cuts prior to the UK theatrical release can find their way not only onto the UK home cinema releases but into all releases worldwide. Since there are also examples of cases in which the censorship was reversed for UK DVD/BD or didn't affect releases in other markets, it looks like every case has to be checked individually.

The case of A Walk Among the Tombstones, however, is a positive one at least for those outside of the UK. While the pre-cuts persisted on the British home video releases, a comparison with the US Blu-ray shows that they weren't implemented worldwide. Also, the scene isn't totally butchered in the British version, either, as it still shows the essence of what's going on.

Comparison between the censored British Blu-ray (contains the BBFC 15 theatrical version) (by Entertainment One) and the uncensored US Blu-ray (R-Rated) (by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment).

1 difference = 7.56 seconds

0:46:27: Both versions show how Ray and Albert torture their victim Leila. The uncut version has Albert holding the knife in front of her face a little longer. It is also prolonged when her shirt is cut open by the knife and a breast becomes visible. Ray can be heard saying "You dirty little cunt." as his face comes nearer to hers.
7,56 Sec.

BBFC 15R-Rated