The Films of Ken Russell

 Detailed BBFC and MPAA cuts

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  Raising Hell...

New book released by Richard Crouse about Ken Russell's The Devils

Link Here 17th November 2012

Raising Hell Richard Crouse See  review from

Crouse reconstructs The Devils in meticulous detail, from Russell's arduous shoot to the hysteria surrounding its X-rated release. Arguing for the film's place at the cutting edge of 70s cinema, he notes that censors treated The Exorcist with kid gloves just two years later. What's different is The Devils potent mix of sex and religion---and its vision of a corrupt Church that uses possession as a tool to intimidate and manipulate the innocent. History, in the hands of an unflinching filmmaker, can be more graphic than fiction.

Summary Review: Worthy

This is a worthy examination of this powerful and unforgettable British masterpiece.

If there are any small caveats, they would be a brief dismay at the lack of photographs, posters or set designs to illustrate the incredible story of the film, and a little more about a couple of details on the cuts imposed by Russell himself, as well as the censors.


 Offsite Article: Film Review: The Devils Uncut...

Link Here 13th November 2012
Ken Russell's true cut of The Devils has been screened sporadically at festivals since 2004. A rare viewing of the director's approved print was an intriguing prospect, and it was far from disappointing.

See article from


 Update: Uncut Film Season...

BBFC celebrating 100 years of film censorship at BFI Southbank, including a showing of the Director's Cut of The Devils

Link Here 13th October 2012

The Devils Special Edition DVD Uncut Film Season
BFI, Southbank
1st to 30th November 2012

To mark the centenary of the BBFC in 2012, BFI Southbank is presenting a season of films which have been either banned or censored in the last century of cinema.

The season has been curated by film critic Mark Kermode and Professor in Film Studies at Southampton University Linda Ruth Williams.

The season will give film fans a chance to see some of the most contentious films ever made in their complete version on the big screen and will aim to illustrate how the BBFC's attitudes to confrontational material have changed over the years. While some films in the season have remained as shocking as the first time they were seen by UK audiences, the impact of some has lessened with time.

Each of the films in the season will present a case-study in the BBFC's negotiation of UK law, public opinion, political pressure, and principles of public protection and free speech.

The films being shown are:

  • Pink Flamingos
  • Crash
  • Enter the Dragon
  • The Evil Dead
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist
  • The Devils (Director’s Cut)
  • Maitresse
  • Shock Corridor
  • Timeshift: Dear Censor... The secret archive of the British Board of Film Classification
  • No Orchids for Miss Blandish
  • Cape Fear
  • Island of Lost Souls
  • Blackboard Jungle
  • Irreversible
  • This Is England
  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
  • The Killer Inside Me
  • Trash
  • The Killing of Sister George

Update: More background to the Uncut! season

13th October 2012. See  new release from

Behind Scenes BBFC Classification Digital DEAR CENSOR... DEBATE AND DISCUSS!

Audiences will be able to engage in discussions on censorship during special events in the season, beginning with What the Silent Censor Saw -- 100 Years of the BBFC. This illustrated talk by Bryony Dixon (BFI) and Lucy Brett (BBFC) will explore the earliest days of the BBFC as it wrestled with such controversial issues as sex, drugs, birth control, animal cruelty and the modus operandi of criminals in film. Season curator Mark Kermode will be joined on the Southbank Stage by David Cooke (BBFC), Dr Julian Petley (Brunel University) and Dr Clarissa Smith (University of Sunderland) for Screens as Battle Grounds: Debating the BBFC and Media Regulation Today. This panel of expert will examine the BBFC's colourful past, debate its role today and suggest its possible future evolution. Finally Timeshift: Dear Censor... The secret archive of the British Board of Film Classification is a frank documentary that charts the BBFC's history through examination of some of its most infamous cases. Following the screening there will be a Q&A with David Cooke, Lucy Brett and Craig Lapper from the BBFC moderated by Dr Julian Petley.


A subject which has continued to prove divisive in the popular press is the cinematic portrayal of sexual violence, however, the BBFC has not always followed the political and press consensus in their reaction to these kinds of films. In the wake of sensationalist stories and comments from ill-informed politicians, the BBFC was duty bound to investigate claims that Crash (Dir. David Cronenberg, 1996) was obscene. Despite being cleared by the Board this extraordinary tale of alienation and sexual sub-cultures was still banned by Westminster Council. Gaspar Noe's harrowing Irreversible (2002) was reviled in some circles for having a rape scene which was almost unwatchable, but the BBFC decided to pass the film uncut because they concluded that the scene was deliberately repugnant and avoided eroticisation. Similarly, Michael Winterbottoms's adaptation of the Jim Thompson pulp noir novel The Killer Inside Me (2010) was passed uncut when the BBFC deemed that the portrayals of sadistic violence and sadomasochistic behaviour were not eroticised and did not endorse the kind of violence being seen on screen.

Sick Life Death Flanagan Supermasochist SEXUAL DEPRAVITY THROUGHOUT THE CENTURY!

Sexual imagery is something that the BBFC has dealt with a great deal over the past century. The Board's attitude towards images of a sexual nature has certainly adapted over the years: for instance No Orchids for Miss Blandish (Dir. St John L Clowes, 1948) was initially described by the Monthly Film Bulletin as 'the most sickening display of brutality, perversion, sex and sadism ever to be shown on the screen' and banned by the Board, but it went on to be passed uncut with a PG on video in 2006. The Killing of Sister George (Dir. Robert Aldrich, 1968) provoked a similar reaction for a lesbian love scene, with a modified version eventually being approved by the Board. Also screening will be Sick -- The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (Dir. Kirby Dick, 1997), which documents the proud life of cystic fibrosis sufferer Bob Flanagan, who remained a staunch supporting of the liberating power of consensual S&M throughout his terminal illness. With scenes of transsexuals masturbating (Trash, Dir. Paul Morrissey, 1970), frank depictions of S&M (Maitresse, Dir. Barbet Schroeder, 1975), ingestion of dog faeces (Pink Flamingos, Dir. John Waters, 1972) and mass orgies (The Devils, Dir. Ken Russell, 1971), the 1970s proved a particularly busy time for the Board and the season will see screenings of all these controversial films in their entirety. In a time when Fifty Shades of Grey is the literature of choice for millions around the country, it is clear that the British public has had a change in attitudes to sexual imagery since the days of outcry over No Orchids for Miss Blandish.


The mainstream martial arts hit Enter the Dragon (Dir. Robert Clouse, 1973) fell foul of the BBFC's anxieties about violence upon its release in 1973. The censors effectively banned the appearance of flying stars and nunchucks from UK screens, arguing that -- unlike guns -- these weapons could be legally purchased in the UK. Another violent film which gave the Board some concerns was Cape Fear (Dir. J Lee Thompson, 1962). However, on this occasion the BBFC found itself in the unusual position of being vilified by the tabloids for being too stringent: '161 Cuts In One Film' declared a concerned and somewhat outraged centre-page spread in the Daily Express.


Based on The Island of Doctor Moreau by HG Wells, the notorious 30s horror film Island of Lost Souls (Dir. Erle C Kenton, 1932) tells the tale of an obsessed scientist who performs experiments on animals on a remote island. The film was banned outright when it was first submitted to the (then) British Board of Film Censors in 1933, and then rejected a further two times. Co-starring the legendary horror actor Bela Lugosi, Island of Lost Souls was eventually passed uncut with a PG in 2011. Another film which censors feared might be too frightening for audiences was Shock Corridor (Dir. Samuel Fuller, 1963). This tale of a sane man whose infiltration into a mental asylum drives him mad caused the BBFC to worry that its 'unjustified and alarmist' tone might frighten those with incarcerated relatives. Sam Raimi's now legendary first feature The Evil Dead (1981) starred cult hero Bruce Campbell as possessed chainsaw wielding Ash, and was one of the films at the centre of the so-called 'video nasties' witch-hunt. The Evil Dead was effectively outlawed on video for years in the wake of several successful prosecutions, and this screening presents the original uncut version in all its gory glory.

Indiana Complete Adventures Blu ray Region NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN!

Providing a stark contrast to Raimi's horror are two films which could be viewed as more family friendly, the first of which is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Dir. Mark Herman, 2008). This film provided a difficulty for the BBFC in that it attempts to boldly address the Holocaust in manner that will be acceptable to younger audiences. Rated 12A, the film raises important questions about the classification of upsetting images for children, and the parental responsibility of 'advisory' classifications. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Dir. Steven Spielberg, 1984) was cut by distributors in the UK in order to achieve a family friendly PG certificate. The season will give audiences a chance to see the 12 rated and uncut Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom for the first time in a UK cinema.


Having wrestled with the 'teenage rampage' issues of The Wild One, the BBFC passed Blackboard Jungle (Dir. Richard Brooks, 1955) only after several minutes of cuts. This tale of an altruistic teacher attempting to 'reach' his disillusioned students prompted reports of Teddy Boy audiences being provoked into seat-slashing revelry. This Is England (Dir. Shane Meadows, 2010) is a more recent example of a film which provoked discussions of certification for teenagers. This brilliant coming-of-age tale follows a young boy who becomes seduced by the bigotry of a racist skinhead mentor. Rated 18 by the BBFC for strong racist violence and language, the film made headlines when Meadows insisted that its target audience was 15 year olds. Take this opportunity to decide for yourself whether or not our censors and classifiers have got it right or wrong over the years with this varied programme of potentially cut-able classics.

The season also ties in with an exhibition about the history of the BBFC and a centenary book mapping 100 years of film classification and controversy. Available from November, the book, Behind the Scenes at the BBFC: Film Classification from the Silver Screen to the Digital Age , invites a range of writers from both inside and outside the BBFC's walls to help form a picture of what the BBFC is all about. The BBFC exhibition, at the BFI Southbank Atrium throughout November, uses images and documents from the BBFC archives to bring to life the development of film classification over the past 100 years.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, said:

The BBFC's centenary gives us a double opportunity: to showcase our initiatives for making the BBFC a still more trusted and up to date guide to the public in the internet age; and to celebrate the sometimes controversial, sometimes quirky, but always absorbing history of film classification in the UK. I am grateful to those who have made this film season possible, and especially to our industry partners and to the BFI. I am also grateful to the BFI for other collaborative work including on the centenary book and exhibition. This will be a really fascinating film season, showcasing films which, as well as being important films in their own right, raised classification issues which in many cases go to the heart of the balance between freedom of expression and the grounds for intervention. It also adds up to an unmissable slice of British culture and social history.







Billion Dollar Brain

Link Here

Billion Dollar Brain Michael Caine

See trailer from

BBFC uncut


best available

PG cert



1967 UK thriller by Ken Russell with Michael Caine, Karl Malden and Ed Begley. IMDb

The slightly re-edited version was passed PG with BBFC film cuts restored for:

The US release features the slightly re-edited version and is MPAA Unrated for:

From IMDb:

  • The scene with The Beatles A Hard Day's Night playing on the record player was cut so as to avoid paying royalties
PG cert 104:05s Passed A/PG after BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1985 Warner VHS
  • UK 1967 cinema release

From IMDb:

  • Cut for A (PG) by shortening the struggle between Harry and Anya.







Women in Love

Link Here

Women Love DVD Alan Bates

See trailer from

BBFC uncut 15 cert 125:11s

1969 UK drama by Ken Russell with Alan Bates, Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson. IMDb

Passed 15 without further BBFC cuts for:

BBFC uncut 18 125:19s Passed 18 without further BBFC cuts for:
  • 1988 Warner VHS

There's no mention of cuts being restored so presumably the cut cinema version has become the definitive version.

X cert   Passed X (16) after BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1969 cinema release

From IMDb:

  • The nude wrestling scene posed problems for UK censor John Trevelyan who was concerned by the homoerotic undertones. The film was only passed after Ken Russell made some edits to the original print to reduce full-length shot of Gerald standing motionless before the wrestling begins and to darken shots of the wrestling itself.
  • The sex scenes between Gerald and Gudrun were also reduced on the censor's request.

The male wrestling scene was a British censorship milestone. It was the first to show full frontal male nudity, albeit reduced by the censor.

The BBFC noted the submitted running time as 129:41s = 124:30s PAL.







The Devils

Link Here
  • The Devils of Loudon
  • Ken Russell's Film of The Devils

Devils Special DVD 2012

The Devil's is a 1971 UK drama by Ken Russell
With Vanessa Redgrave and Oliver Reed. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Cut by Warners and the BBFC for cinema release. Further cut in the US for an R rating. The Director's Cut has been found but never released except for 100 years of the BBFC cinema event.

Director's Cut
Warner logo
  The cut footage has been relocated along with a pre-cut scene known as the Rape of Christ. However these have yet to be incorporated into any release. Much to the irritation of genre fans Warner's are sitting on the Director's Cut and refuse to release it. The Director's Cut was shown at an event celebrating 100 years of the BBFC
BBFC cut

Warner logo

best available
for now


X rated

106:41s UK: The cut UK Cinema version/X Rated US Version was passed 18 without further cuts for:

This version restores the US cuts made for an R Rating and so is the cut/pre-cut UK Cinema Version. Note that this is misleadingly noted in the US as a Special Uncut Restored Version.

US: The UK Cinema Version is MPAA X Rated for:

BBFC cut

Warner logo



R rated

103:40s UK: The extensively cut US R Rated Version was passed 18 without further BBFC cuts for:
  • 1988 Warner VHS

US: The cut UK Cinema Version was passed X for its US release but was further cut for an R Rating.

This R Rated version was cut as follows:

  1. Grandier (Oliver Reed) drives doctors away from dying woman loses some of hers screams and a little nudity.
  2. Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave) dream of Grandier as Christ does not show her licking Christ's wounds, clasped hands by a crown of thorns and some of the lovemaking scene.
  3. Shots of Jeanne masturbating and two shots of her whipping herself have been removed.
  4. A nude Phillipe (Georgina Hale) brought before Laubardemont (Dudley Sutton) has lost the pubic hair.
  5. An enema of Jeanna on the altar does not show the insertion of a syringe between her legs.
  6. Shots of nuns stripping and one vomiting have vanished
  7. the King's visit to Loudon has lost vomit and pubic hair along with a nun masturbating with a candle and an enema.
  8. A needle is Grandier's tongue has been cut.
  9. Whilst Laubardem collects statements against Grandier, we miss naked nuns kissing and caressing.
  10. The shot of a nun's hanging body been taken down has been cut to remove nudity.
  11. The torture of Grandier has lost 4 hammer blows and a shot of his bloody legs.
  12. As Grandier crawls to the stake, kicks by Barre (Michael Gothard) have been deleted
  13. The burning of Grandier has been reduced
  14. Jeanne inserting a purging device between her legs is no more.
BBFC cut

Warner logo

X cert


  UK: A pre-cut version was passed X (18) after BBFC cuts for:
  • 1971 cinema release

Based on article from

The film was first seen by the BBFC in an unfinished rough cut on 27 January 1971. At around the same time, this rough cut was also shown to senior executives from Warner Brothers, the film's distributor. Both the BBFC and Warners expressed strong reservations about the strong religious and sexual context of the film, which seemed likely to provoke significant controversy. Warners and the BBFC therefore drew up separate lists of the cuts they would require before the film could be distributed in the UK. Warners were content with their own plus the additional cuts requested by the BBFC and a full list of required changes was forwarded to the director.

The cuts were intended to reduce:

  • (i) the explicitness and duration of certain sexual elements, including an orgy of nuns
  • (ii) elements of violence and gore during an interrogation scene and the final burning of the character played by Oliver Reed
  • (iii) scenes that mixed sexual activity and religion in a potentially inflammatory fashion.

A modified - but still technically unfinished - version of the film was seen again by the BBFC on 8 April 1971, incorporating many (but not all) of the cuts requested by both the BBFC and by Warners. Ken Russell had toned down or removed what had been regarded as the most difficult scenes, including the entire Rape of Christ sequence in which a group of nuns cavort on a crucifix, whilst hoping that the significant reductions he had already made would perhaps allow certain other shots to remain. The BBFC requested further reductions in four sequences. Russell responded by complying fully with three of the cuts but insisted that the fourth additional cut could not be made properly because it would create continuity problems.

On 18 May 1971 the BBFC awarded an X certificate to the cut version of the film. Because of the scale of the changes made to the film (including the deletion of one entire scene) it is difficult to calculate accurately how much was removed from the film between January and May 1971. However, it is safe to say that several minutes were removed.

The resultant version suffered cuts as follows:

  • A scene showing nuns assaulting an effigy of the cross was deleted (approximately 30s)
  • An enema scene loses some details
  • The crushing of Grandier's legs loses details.
  • Grandier's tongue torture loses details
  • Shots of a priest being assaulted by nuns after the King's visit are missing
  • Jeanne masturbating with a chard bone was cut
  • Whippings scenes throughout were removed







Crimes of Passion

Link Here aka
  • Ken Russell's Crimes of Passion
  • China Blue

Crimes Passion DVD Region NTSC

See trailer from


1984 US drama by Ken Russell with Kathleen Turner, Anthony Perkins and Bruce Davison. IMDb

The US release features the Director's Cut and is MPAA Unrated for:

The Swedish release features the Director's Cut for:

The Director's Cut restores cuts for the US R Rating but the additional scenes over and above the European Version are uncontroversial plots scenes previously removed for reasons of pace. See version details from IMDb

Summary Review: A Lurid Masterpiece

Ken Russell's masterpiece has cult movie written all over it. A lurid, extreme sex-and-violence fantasy porno-movie.

In the bravest and best performance of her career, Kathleen Turner plays the mystery woman who is Joanna, prim fashion designer by day and China Blue, the fantasy hooker to end all fantasy hookers, by night.

Her nemesis is Anthony Perkin's psychopathic preacher with the razor-sharp dildo. His is the kind of performance that goes beyond mere acting into some kind of crazy stratosphere all it's own.

 Barry Sandler's script is brilliant.

R Rated
The US R Rated Version was heavily cut. These cuts were to the sex scenes.
BBFC uncut 18 102:29s The European Version was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for strong sex, nudity and one use of very strong language with previous BBFC cuts waived:
  • UK 2004 Optimum R2 DVD
  • UK 2004 Film Four TV Showing
24s 18 102:18s The European Version was passed 18 after 24s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1986 Rank VHS
  • UK 1985 cinema release

The BBFC cuts were:

  • Opening dialogue (over credits) missing the line Fuck You, Hopper!
  • Deleted sight of Miss Liberty reaching through trouser opening to stroke client's erect penis (concealed by his trousers) immediately after unzipping his flies
  • Considerably reduced duration of mock rape of China Blue by removing much of the thrusting and the two most explicit Japanese erotic prints.
  • During China Blue's S&M scene with policeman client, deleted emphasis on his truncheon being inserted and twisted in his anus, sadomasochism to be generalised rather than reaching a climax through anal penetration.








Link Here

Whore Uncut Ken Russell DVD

See trailer from


1991 US/UK drama by Ken Russell
With Theresa Russell, Benjamin Mouton and Michael Crabtree. IMDb

The Unrated Version is uncut but only available on US VHS.

best available


81:28s The shortened NC-17 Version was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1991 Palace VHS
  • UK 1991 cinema release

The Czech release features the NC-17 Version for:

From IMDb. The NC-17 Version was shortened for pacing as follows:

  • 38-39min: Brutal Man (Daniel Quinn) with Liz (Theresa Russell): Of this scene only the first 15s are shown, the remaining 82s are cut.
  • 56-62min: Liz and Rasta (Antonio Fargas) in the theater, in alternation with Blake (Benjamin Mouton) in his car: 7 scenes have been partially or completely cut, resulting in a total elimination of 138s. Eg Blake saying that he goes to great lengths to teach his girls her profession as this is not unskilled labor ; he then complains about hypocrisy.
R Rated
There is a cut R Rated version to avoid


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