Censorship News & Updates

Next Goal Wins (2023) – Censored PG

November 27, 2023

Next Goal Wins (2023)

Taika Waititi’s NEXT GOAL WINS (2023) is the latest film to be cut for a more commercial rating. A month ago it was M (Occasional coarse language) rated, but as of last week, it holds a PG (Mild themes and Coarse language).

We suspect the removal of one word of ‘bad language’. It opens theatrically on January 1st, so any confirmations are welcome.

Ténor (2022) – Censored M-rating

November 25, 2023

Ténor (2022)

The French comedy-drama TÉNOR (2022) was originally MA15+ rated in February. Nine months later StudioCanal modified it for a lower classification.

Although posters still show the MA15+, the December 7th opening is promoted as M-rated. If you attend a screening, please let us know how the ‘strong language’ has been censored.

In September, François Ozon’s THE CRIME IS MINE (2023) suffered similar language edits.

Along with Martin Scorsese’s KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON (2023), they are the three films of 2023 censored by their distributor for an M.

The Jackal (1997) – Censored M-rating

November 24, 2023

The Jackal (1997) - DVD

Added to the site are details of the precuts made to THE JACKAL (1997) to avoid an MA rating.

Australian audiences had a censored theatrical version followed by uncut VHS, DVD and Blu-ray.

Excessive Trim (2023) – Banned

November 11, 2023

Excessive Trim (2023) - Weed smoking alien

On 8 November, EXCESSIVE TRIM (2023) was released on the PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S platforms. On the same day, the National Classification Database listed it as Refused Classification. This triggers its removal from the Australian Nintendo eShop, PlayStation and Microsoft stores.

The presence of weed-smoking aliens was presumably the reason for the refusal. The game joins 244 titles banned under IARC in 2023. In comparison, there were 74 RCs in the whole of 2022. We have previously stated our preference for manual Classification Board reviews of all RC IARC decisions.

The POSTAL 4: NO REGERTS (2019) case shows that complaints to the board may be one way of obtaining a review.

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) – MA to M

November 10, 2023

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

Back on the site are the censorship details for Richard Donner’s LETHAL WEAPON 4 (1998). It was cut for an M-rating after initially passing MA. This version went out theatrically and on rental VHS. All subsequent releases were uncut.

The previous three LETHAL WEAPON movies still hold uncut M-ratings.

Postal 4: No Regerts (2019) – RC confirmed

November 10, 2023

Postal 4: No Regerts (2019)

In March, we reported the RC rating that POSTAL 4: NO REGERTS (2019) received under the automated International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system. It has now come to light that the Classification Board manually reviewed and confirmed the decision. This appears to have been done following complaints from gamers unhappy with the IARC RC.

It now joins MUGEN SOULS (2023) as one of the few IARC ratings to be reviewed by members of the Classification Board. The vast majority of the 1900 + banned games are not so lucky.

The original POSTAL (1997) and its sequel, POSTAL 2: SHARE THE PAIN (2005) were both initially banned in Australia. The former is now MA15+, while the latter passed with an R18+ in 2013.

POSTAL 3 (2011) was never picked-up for distribution. However, a 2013 submission by the Australian Communications and Media Authority saw it rated R18+.

Sleepwalkers (1992) – R to M

November 3, 2023

Sleepwalkers (1992)

Back on the site are details of the heavy M-rated censorship inflicted on Stephen King’s SLEEPWALKERS (1992). The MA was one year away, but had it been available, the uncut version would still have likely remained R-rated.

In 1987, Clive Barker’s HELLRAISER (1987) was also censored for a more commercial theatrical release. Like SLEEPWALKERS, it too appeared on VHS in its complete R-rated version.

Stone Cold (1991) – Abandoned cuts

October 27, 2023

Stone Cold (1991)

Back on the site are details of the failed attempt to drop STONE COLD (1991) from R to an M-rating.

It followed soon after THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) succeeded in reducing its classification.

This controversial decision ultimately led to the introduction of the MA in May 1993. Had it been available, then STONE COLD would have likely received such a rating.

The Legend of Mulan (1998) – PG to G

October 20, 2023

The Legend of Mulan (1998) - Censored

The Australian VHS of THE LEGEND OF MULAN (1998) was censored for drug use and language.

This cheap cash-in of Disney’s MULAN (1998) went before the OFLC in 1998 and received a PG before being cut to a G. Details of the missing footage are now on the site.

A couple of years earlier, Disney’s THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1996) also suffered trims to reduce it to a G.

More recently, language edits to SMALLFOOT (2018) and RIKI RHINO (2020) saw them receive lower ratings.

Three Kings (1999) – Censored MA

October 15, 2023

Three Kings (1999)

David O. Russell’s THREE KINGS (1999) is back on the site.

Violence was modified in the theatrical release to reduce it to MA. Both DVD releases were the uncut R-rated version.

Killers of the Flower Moon (2023) – Censored

October 10, 2023

Killers of the Flower Moon (2023) - Australia poster

Martin Scorsese’s KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON (2023) received an MA15+ (Strong injury detail & suicide references) rating on September 5. Currently, this is the only entry in the Classification Board’s database.

It is due to open theatrically in Australia on October 19. Some cinemas such as Event, IMAX Melbourne and Palace Cinemas list it as M (Mature themes, violence, coarse language & suicide references). Others still have it as MA15+.

Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures Australia’s artwork has the rating ‘TBC (To Be Confirmed)’.

We will have to wait and see if a second entry appears in the National Classification Database.

October 12, 2023 – Update

The M (Mature themes, violence, coarse language and suicide references) rating appeared in the National Classification database this morning. The entry was dated October 8.

Both versions are showing a 206-minute runtime.

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON (2023) is now in the database. Once known, the censorship cuts will be added.

Paramount Pictures Australia have a prior form with unnecessary censorship.

INSTANT FAMILY (2018) was modified for a lower rating. Their attempt to do the same with OVERLORD (2018) failed after an online backlash.

More details can be found in the PET SEMATARY (2019) entry, a title they submitted twice for, as yet, unknown reasons.

October 21, 2023 – Update

Details of the cut to the Australian M-rated release of KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON (2023) is now on the site.

Thanks also to Peter F., Jim and Australia Movie & TV Censorship for also identifying the missing scene.

The Crime Is Mine (2023) – Censored M-rating

October 7, 2023

The Crime is Mine (2023) AKA Mon Crime - Poster

François Ozon’s THE CRIME IS MINE (2023) looks to be heading to Australian cinemas in a censored M-rated version.

Vendetta Films will be opening it theatrically on October 12th. If you are intending to go along then let us know of any modifications you can identify.

The Kerala Story (2023) – MA15+ appeal

October 7, 2023

The Kerala Story (2023) Poster

On May 9th, Forum Films received an MA15+ (Strong themes, violence and sexual violence) for the controversial Indian film THE KERALA STORY (2023).

On the same day, a change.org petition appeared urging,

‘…both federal and state governments in Australia to prevent and ban the screening of THE KERALA STORY movie by Hoyts, Village, United & Regent Cinemas in VIC and other theatres across Australia on 12th May 2023. This film has fake, unsubstantiated narratives that are damaging to Islamic communities in Australia’

The film opened theatrically in Australia on May 12th. Five months later, and the Classification Review Board has announced it will meet on October 18th to reexamine the decision.

Presumably, this is related to the claims of Islamophobia. The unnamed person/group behind the appeal will presumably want it banned.

If you would like to make a submission to the review, then email them to crb@classification.gov.au by October 15th.

October 20, 2023 – Update

On Monday, the Classification Review Board upheld the MA15+ rating of THE KERALA STORY (2023). The appeal came from a group called Alliance Against Islamophobia.

Although the classification matrix remains unchanged, there have been minor changes to the consumer advice. ‘Strong themes’ has changed to ‘themes of religious intolerance’ and ‘sexual violence’ is now ‘ Strong scenes of sexual violence’.

The new rating is now MA15+ (Strong scenes of sexual violence, violence and themes of religious intolerance).

Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool (2017) – M to G

September 28, 2023

Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool (2017) Poster

In 2017, Pixar’s CARS 3 (2017) Blu-ray unexpectedly received an M-rating. This was due to ‘coarse language’ in the MISS FRITTER’S RACING SKOOOL (2017) extra.

Now added to the site are details of the censorship that returned it to G-rated. The Classification Board found that beeping in the uncut version did not ‘sufficiently obscure’ several uses of ‘coarse language’.

Does anyone know if MISS FRITTER’S RACING SKOOOL (2017) was released anywhere in this version? Even beeped, the language seems out of place in a short aimed at children.

Mugen Souls Z (2023) – Banned

September 17, 2023

MUGEN SOULS Z (2023) - Uncut - Nintendo Switch - Eastasiasoft

Eastasiasoft’s uncut MUGEN SOULS Z is now banned in Australia under the automated International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system. The decision appeared on September 14, the day of the Nintendo Switch release.

Back in March 2014, it received M (Sexualised innuendo and nudity). This PlayStation 3 version had been modified for release in the US, Europe and Australia.

The first game, MUGEN SOULS, had a similar censorship history. However, the uncut Nintendo Switch version appears to have received an IARC rating. A rare manual review by the Classification Board saw it upgraded to RC.

The Nintendo Switch release of MUGEN SOULS Z is also the uncut version. On July 7, Eastasiasoft’s problems with the original game saw them predict the decision in a tweet.

The eShop page for MUGEN SOULS Z is live!
Coming to Nintendo Switch on September 14th featuring content true to the Japanese original (hot springs mini-games, gallery images and more).
MUGEN SOULS Z won’t be officially available in Australia because of refused classification,

End of the Spear (2005) – MA15+ to M

September 15, 2023

End of the Spear (2005)

Back on site is the M-rated censorship of END OF THE SPEAR (2005). The Christian distributor trimmed it to avoid an MA15+.

The description of the violence in the New Zealand OFLC’s Register of Classification Decisions makes it sound like an Italian Cannibal movie.

A copy of the US DVD, presumably uncut, is up on YouTube. Get in touch if you can identify the cuts to the Australian version.

Because of the Cats (1973) – Cut for R-rating?

September 9, 2023

Because of the Cats (1973)

Generally, we don’t spend time speculating on cuts as there are hundreds of genuine banned and censored films still to add.

We have decided to make an exception in the case of BECAUSE OF THE CATS (1973). Filmways gave it an Australian release in 1977 and hyped Sylvia Kristel’s EMMANUELLE (1974) connection.

The scene’s strength, overseas censorship and the R-rated running time all point to modifications. We would like to hear from owners of the Video Classics tape who can confirm if it is uncut

Lady Bird (2017) – MA15+ to M

September 1, 2023

Lady Bird (2017)

Back on the site is the M-rated censorship of LADY BIRD (2017).

Two audio cuts of ‘strong language’ and the removal of a nude image were enough to drop it from MA15+. The uncut version appeared on Blu-ray and DVD.

Gender Queer (2019) – Unrestricted rating upheld

July 20, 2023

Gender Queer: A Memoir (2019) by Maia Kobabe

The Classification Review Board has upheld the Unrestricted rating of GENDER QUEER: A MEMOIR (2019). The Board met on May 29, and the outcome was released today. It may be the longest they have taken to come to a decision.

The decision came the same week as the controversy over WELCOME TO SEX (2023). The book by Dr Melissa Kang and Yumi Stynes was dropped by Big W after staff were abused for allowing it on the shelves.

The full Classification Review Board report and details of other targeted titles are here.

Let’s Talk About It (2021) – Unrestricted

July 14, 2023

Let's Talk About It (2021) by Erika Moen & Matthew Nolan

Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan’s LET’S TALK ABOUT IT (2021) has passed as Unrestricted by the Classification Board.

On May 25, it was mentioned in Senate estimates when the Director of the Classification Board, Fiona Jolly, was asked if it would meet the criteria of a submittable publication.

It is another title in the library wars that arrived in Australia via America. Background to this case and the Senate estimates hearing are here.

August 6, 2023 – Update

An Adelaide-based activist was behind the submission. They paid $790 to have the book rated after being denied a fee waiver by the Classification Board.

Mugen Souls (2023) – Banned

July 1, 2023

Mugen Souls (2023) - Banned in Australia

Eastasiasoft’s MUGEN SOULS is now banned in Australia under the automated International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system. The decision appeared on June 26, even though it was released on Nintendo Switch in April.

Half way through the year, and already there are 111 titles with IARC RC ratings. 2023 is shaping up to have the most banned titles since the January 2017 approval of the tool.
In late 2022, more gambling apps began to appear with RC ratings. This year it has turned into a flood, with over 90% of the 111 titles being gambling related.

It is good to see fewer RC games, but odd decisions still appear. These are likely due to the applicant incorrectly completing the online IARC form. The innocent looking CLICK THE DOG V3 from turtle4go studios appears to illustrate this point. Unfortunately, the RC rating means the Google Play link will not work in Australia. To avoid this situation, the Classification Board should be forced to review each Refused Classification decision produced through the IARC tool.

All 1792 RC titles, including many which should be G-rated, are in our Game IARC Censorship Timeline.

July 7, 2023 – Update

On July 2, Eastasiasoft tweeted that the original automated IARC decision (rating unknown) was manually reviewed and upgraded to RC.

It was the original Japanese release, which was different to previous English versions.

August 14, 2023 – Update

MUGEN SOULS is now in the Game Censorship Database. The Classification Board’s manual review warrants its inclusion.

September 17, 2023 – Update

The sequel, MUGEN SOULS Z, has been banned under the automated International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) system. Unlike the M-rated PlayStation 3 release, this Nintendo Switch version was uncut.