This page provides detailed information about some of our recent classification decisions. Full written reports are available on request.
These pages outline how the classification criteria were applied to content in movies, games and other publications. We do our best to discuss the content while avoiding spoilers, but please avoid reading this information if you do not want to learn anything about the content of a movie or game you haven't seen.
For more insight into the classification process, see How classification decisions are made
Contact the Information Unit if you require further information on a classification decision.
Date registered: 15/02/2017
Split is a 2016 American psychological horror film that follows Kevin, who suffers from an incredibly elaborate case of dissociative identity disorder. He has 23 different personalities and kidnaps three teenage girls, keeping them in an underground bunker in an undetermined location.
Split was classified M in Australia and so was cross-rated M in New Zealand also. However, Split received a PG-13 rating in the United States (with advisory notes for disturbing thematic content and behaviour, violence and some language) and a restricted 15 classification in the UK. There were concerns that the level of violence may have been stronger than the M cross-rating suggests.
Date registered: 04/11/2016
Hacksaw Ridge dramatises the real-life experiences of World War II American soldier, Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to receive the Congressional Medal of Honour. Doss went to war but refused to fire a bullet, choosing to enter the battlefield without a weapon.
The graphic nature of violence warrants restriction, and a higher restriction may have been necessary. However the Classification Office noted that the pacifist stance of the main character has a strong emotional impact.
Date registered: 12/09/2016
Suicide Squad is a U.S. superhero action film based on the characters and stories of the DC Comics. Intelligence operative Amanda Waller assembles Task Force X, a dispensable team of imprisoned supervillains, to carry out a dangerous anti-terrorist mission in exchange for clemency.
Suicide Squad was classified following a complaint by a member of the public. After examination by the Classification Office, the original rating — M 'violence and offensive language' — was changed to R13 'violence, horror and cruelty'.
Date registered: 18/08/2016
Kabali is a much-anticipated Indian Tamil/English-language crime/action film with English subtitles. Upon release, the film had the largest opening weekend for any Indian film worldwide and became the second highest grossing Indian film ever.
Kabali, a Kuala Lumpur-based gangster and revolutionary, is released after 25 years in prison having been falsely accused of instigating a massacre. He resumes charge of his old gang who work to help Tamils in Malaysia; and becomes determined to avenge the death of his pregnant wife.
Date registered: 10/08/2016
Embrace is a film about women's body image and was first scheduled to screen at the NZ Film Festival during July and August 2016. A prior decision by the Australian Classification Board to classify the film as MA15+ caused some controversy and raised the ire of the film's director Taryn Brumfitt, a well-known body image advocate. She called the Australian classification "an outrage" and said that it reinforced the destructive idea that women's bodies are shameful.
Date registered: 28/04/2016
The Chief Censor called in this DVD for classification following a complaint from a member of the public. Based on a true story, Perfect Sisters is about teenage sisters, Sandra and Beth, who live with their younger brother and mother Linda, an alcoholic. Linda enters a relationship with an abusive man named Steve, and the sisters’ lives soon become unbearable. After unsuccessfully seeking help from various adults, Sandra and Beth, so disordered from their dysfunctional home life, decide to murder Linda to rid their lives of alcoholism and abuse.
Date registered: 13/11/2015
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is a science fiction war film, and is the second of two cinematic parts based on the novel Mockingjay, the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy. The Hunger Games books and films are set in Panem, an authoritarian society which has risen out of the ravaged ruins of North America.
Date registered: 30/10/2015
The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies is an extended version of the final instalment in Peter Jackson's three-part film adaptation of the novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, and the prequel to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. It concludes the epic adventures of hobbit Bilbo Baggins, and his time with King Thorin Oakenshield and the dwarves of Erebor.
Date registered: 31/08/2015
In March 2015 members of the public raised concerns regarding the availability of the book To Train Up A Child in an Auckland Library. Under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 books are not required to be classified before they are supplied to the public. However, members of the public can seek the leave of the Chief Censor to have a book examined and classified. This is what happened in the case of To Train Up a Child.
Date registered: 30/04/2015
Mad Max: Fury Road is an Australian/US feature film 120 minutes long. The film is a reboot of the 1970s Australian classic Mad Max by George Miller, who has once more taken on the directing role. Set in a barren post-apocalyptic future where water is scarce and armies of heavily modified vehicles control the wasteland, the story concerns Mad Max, a mentally disturbed survivor who is captured by the scavengers of an evil overlord, Immortan Joe.
Date registered: 10/03/2015
Ex Machina is a US science fiction feature film around 107 minutes long, written and directed by Alex Garland. It opens on Caleb, a young programmer for a global internet corporation, winning a week's stay at the reclusive luxury home of the corporation's owner and programming prodigy, Nathan. Nathan is egotistical and narcissistic but establishes a rapport with Caleb.
Date registered: 18/12/2014
In this feature film Riggan Thomson is a fading movie star who was famed for playing the superhero Birdman. Riggan launches a Broadway production of the play What We Talk About When We Talk About Love in a bid to regain his former glory, and to be taken seriously as an actor.
Date registered: 20/01/2015
Wild is a film based on Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir, Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found. In 1995, needing to recover from her mother's death and a life which had disintegrated, she walked 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Her solo journey takes around 95 days, from the Mojave Desert to the Oregon-Washington border.
Date registered: 19/12/2014
The film is a war drama about an American sniper deployed to Iraq four times in the years following 9/11, who struggles to adjust to civilian life. The film is based on the real-life experiences of marine Chris Kyle, who was known for his high kill-rate as a sniper. In between harrowing tours of duty, Chris gets married and fathers two children. His relationship with his wife Taya is at times strained as Chris suffers fairly acute post-traumatic stress disorder.
Date registered: 16/12/2014
The game Battlefield Hardline is a police themed spin off from the Battlefield series of first person military shooters. Developed by American studio Visceral Games it contains the expansive multiplayer options the series is known for as well as a single player story. Over the course of ten episodes and a prologue, the player controls Detective Nicholas Mendoza as an investigation into drug trafficking in Miami uncovers police corruption and organised crime.
Date registered: 09/12/2014
The book Down Under The Plum Trees was previously classified by the Indecent Publications Tribunal (IPT) as "Indecent in the hands of persons under the age of 18 years, unless such persons are being instructed by parents or professional advisers." The decision was dated 21 March 1977. The classification has remained in force since that date.
In March 2014 Auckland Libraries sought leave to submit the book for reconsideration of its classifications under s42(1) of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.
Date registered: 27/11/2014
Juan Of The Dead is a comedy horror film set in Havana, Cuba. When the city is overrun by a zombie outbreak, Juan and his friends (Lazaro, California, Primo, and China) spot a business opportunity in the dispatching of zombie loved ones.
Date registered: 05/11/2014
Dying Light is a Polish console game formatted for play on the Playstation4 console. The game is a first-person survival horror set during a zombie apocalypse. The player character is a man named Crane, who parachutes into a dilapidated city. While performing missions, such as rescuing other survivors around the city, setting traps to attack a rival gang, and accessing supplies of food and vaccines, Crane increases his abilities and begins to acquire a variety of lethal weapons.
Date registered: 06/10/2014
Guncraft is a multiplayer first person shooter game set in a cartoonish blocky world. Comprised of traditional objective-based gameplay, players engage with their comrades and opponents in destructible environments made of cubes where defences can be constructed and levelled. A variety of military themed weapons such as machine guns, pistols and explosives can be used as well as vehicles such as tanks and helicopters.
Date registered: 14/10/2014
The film is a low-budget comedy horror/thriller about destructive shark tornadoes hitting the city of New York. Fin Shepard and his ex-wife April Wexler are on their way to New York to publicise their latest book, How To Survive A Sharknado, which is based on their experiences from the first film. Before they can land in New York, their plane comes under attack by sharks being thrown about by a storm. As the sharknado worsens and begins to batter the city, Fin and April battle to save their family members from the airborne shark threat.
Date registered: 26/09/2014
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is a third-person horror game from Japanese developer Capcom. The game uses cutscenes, environmental clues and in-game dialogue to reveal its complex story of bio-terrorism and human experimentation.
Date registered: 20/10/2014
Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell is an open world action game. It is a spin-off from the popular Saints Row series and is set in a fictional Hell. At the beginning of the game, the Saints (a group of young adults) gather in a futuristic crib ship. As they play with a spirit board their president is sucked through a portal to Hell. Johnny and Kenzie descend to Hell and must rescue the president before he is forced to marry Satan's daughter, Jezebel, and kill Satan. The player then works their way through the various realms of Hell.
Date registered: 09/06/2014
Housebound is a New Zealand comedy horror film. The film opens with Kylie involved in a botched attempt to rob a bank ATM. She is sentenced to home detention at her parents' house, a fate that could be regarded as worse than prison. There are signs that the house is haunted. Kylie's probation officer Amos is a closet paranormal enthusiast, and starts investigating the phenomenon and things take a turn for the strange with her counsellor Dennis.
Date registered: 01/08/2014
The Evil Within is a third-person survival-horror game from Japanese game director Shinji Mikami. A single player game set in the present day, it follows Detective Sebastian Castellanos as he is called to a grisly mass killing at Beacon Mental Hospital. Attacked by Ruvik, a murderous inmate with supernatural powers, Castellanos wakes in a nightmare world of giant monsters, distorted humans and madness. Trapped inside the mind of a serial killer, Castellanos must battle his way through disturbing memories and tortured manifestations to save his remaining officers and unveil the source of the evil.
Date registered: 15/08/2014
Californication is an American drama/comedy TV series which follows Hank Moody, a New York writer based in Los Angeles. The series focuses on Frank's dissolute lifestyle and many relationships with various women. Hank has a difficult relationship with his young teenage daughter Becca. Other key characters include Becca's mother Karen, Hank's agent Charlie and his wife Marcy. This series introduces Levon, who is Frank's long lost son, and his mother Julia.
Date registered: 15/06/2014
Lost Girls is a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and drawn by Melinda Gebbie. The three main characters in Lost Girls are the heroines of classic works of fiction from the 19th and early 20th century: Alice, from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland (1865) and Through The Looking Glass (1871), Dorothy Gale from The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz (1900) and Wendy Darling from J. M. Barrie's (1904) play and (1911) novel Peter Pan.
Date registered: 07/07/2014
The book American Psycho is set in the late 1980s and is written in predominantly first person narrative, split into 60 chapters with titles such as Date With Evelyn, Concert, and Taking An Uzi To The Gym.
The book follows the exploits of the central character Patrick Bateman, a 26-year-old Wall Street investment banker. The book documents Patrick firstly as a vain and superficial yuppie obsessed with materialism and pop culture, and secondly, as a sadistic and nihilistic serial killer.
Date registered: 06/06/2014
Under The Skin is a British feature film starring Scarlett Johansson, and was submitted for classification as part of the 2014 New Zealand International Film Festival. The film is slow-paced, shot in realist-documentary style. Set in Scotland, it follows a woman (revealed to be an alien) who, with the assistance of a motorcyclist (also alien), lures men to a den where the men's bodies are harvested. The majority of the film follows her as she prowls the streets looking for victims.
Date registered: 15/06/2013
Fantail is a New Zealand feature film about a young woman, Tania, as she saves to visit her father in Australia, and her adolescent brother, Pī, who descends into a lifestyle of crime when he moves to Papamoa to pick kiwifruit. Tania works the graveyard shift at a petrol station, saving money to take Pī to Surfers Paradise to find their father. The station's regional manager, Dean, trains Tania in store security, and the two become attracted to each other.
Date registered: 22/05/2014
The film A Million Ways To Die In The West is an American comedy-western about Albert Stark, a sheep farmer living in the frontier town of Old Stump, Arizona in 1882. When his girlfriend Louise abandons him for the local moustache shop owner Foy, Albert comes to realise there is little keeping him in town. However his world is soon turned on its head when Anna arrives. Unbeknownst to Albert, Anna is the wife of renowned gunslinger Clinch, and when they fall in love, Clinch is quite upset. Challenged to a duel, Albert must gather his courage and steady his aim to win.
Date registered: 16/06/2014
Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie is the feature-length film adaptation of Brendan O'Carroll's award-winning BBC television series Mrs Brown's Boys. The comedy is set in Dublin and follows market-trader Agnes Brown. Agnes' fruit and vegetable business comes under threat of closure from a retail property developer who hires Russian gangsters to pressure her into closing her stall. At the same time, she receives a letter from the revenue department stating she has a large historical tax bill that needs to be cleared in order to save her business.
Date registered: 23/04/2014
The film Bad Neighbours is a comedy about a young couple, Mac and Kelly, whose quiet suburban life is disrupted when a fraternity moves in next door. Mac and Kelly initially try to befriend the fraternity members, but a rift forms after they call the police on them during a noisy party. From then on the relationship between the neighbours is marred, leading to tit for tat reprisals that spiral out of control.
Date registered: 03/04/2014
Jim Jefferies: I Swear To God is a recording of a stand-up routine performed in New York by Jim Jefferies, an Australian stand-up comedian with a crass and offensive comedic style.
This DVD contains one stand-up routine that was filmed in New York, and a variation of the same act on stage at an unknown location called Jim Jefferies: Contraband Live. Jefferies discusses a wide range of topics, including religion, sex, his family and previous romantic and sexual relationships. He is controversial and likes to shock his audience.
Date registered: 08/05/2014
Risen 3: Titan Lords is a third-person action role-playing game developed in Germany. Playing as a captain haunted by a ghost pirate, he and sister Patty search for an ancient treasure. Exploring a crystal cave populated by demonic hounds, they discover a portal to another realm. Caught by a demon, the player's soul is taken to the underworld and Patty is left to bury her brother's corpse. However when a roaming mystic chances upon the fresh grave, the player is awoken from the dead. Faced with a slow transformation into a demon, the player embarks on a quest to find three mages and regain his soul. But with the underworld stirring, not everything is as it seems.
Date registered: 17/01/2014
Set in the mid-19th century, the film 12 Years a Slave tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York State. He is tricked into travelling to Washington with the offer of work. Once there he is abducted, transported to the south, and there sold into slavery.
Date registered: 31/01/2014
Titanfall is a multiplayer first-person shooter game set in the contested frontiers of sci-fi planets. The player fights alongside five others in an attempt to defeat six opposing players. A number of weaker, computer-controlled robots assist both sides, serving as additional cannon fodder. The main focus of the game lies in the classic competitive modes traditional to online games, such as team-based deathmatch, capturing flags or controlling areas of the map.
Date registered: 09/12/2013
The film Dallas Buyers Club follows the real life story of Ron Woodroof, a homophobic electrician and cowboy from Texas who is diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s. Facing persecution and death, he seeks out alternative treatments after a near-fatal stint on the FDA-approved drug AZT. He develops unlikely friendships with Dr Eve Saks and fellow sufferer and trans woman, Rayon, in the process.
Date registered: 15/01/2014
The film Her is set in a not too distant future metropolitan society, in which a new technology allows people to intimately interact with their personal computing operating systems thanks to the advancements of artificial intelligence. A soon-to-be-divorced writer, Theodore, purchases an operating system (which names itself Samantha) and quickly falls in love with her. Their relationship is marred by the question of human physical experience and Samantha's accelerated evolution as a free-thinking technology.
Date registered: 14/01/2014
Dark Souls II is an action adventure role-playing video game set in a dark fantasy world. Afflicted with a terrible undead curse, the player takes a portal to the in-between world of Drangleic in the hope of finding a cure. Played from a third-person perspective, the player explores decrepit ruins and windswept landscapes whilst avoiding traps and defeating deadly enemies.
Date registered: 05/12/2013
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is the latest in a long series of games that debuted in 1987. The game is set in Cuba in 1975. The player controls a soldier named Big Boss whose mission is to rescue comrades from a US military detention facility using a combination of stealth and military combat. In contrast to earlier games in the series that were linear, this game engages the player in an open world environment allowing for a lot more flexibility when completing missions.
Date registered: 17/01/2014
Outlast is a survival horror video game for the PlayStation 4 and computers. It uses a continuous first person perspective and body awareness such as terrified breathing or a hand touching a wall when peeking to immerse the player in its world. The game follows journalist Miles Upshur as he follows a tip on illegal experiments occurring at Mount Massive Asylum. The player explores these dark, bloodied environments with the help of a night-vision enabled video camera.
Date registered: 08/01/2014
This book was classified twice by the Classification Office and twice by the Board of Review.
Date registered: 23/12/2013
The film The Wolf of Wall Street is a flamboyant drama based on the true life events of Jordan Belfort, a Long Island penny stockbroker who was sent to prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scheme that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world. The film focuses on Belfort's rise from small beginnings to become wealthy co-founder and chairman of brokerage house Stratton Oakmont. As he leads an increasingly reckless and dishonest life, Belfort quickly transforms from a law-abiding citizen to an uncaring, drug-addicted, white-collar criminal.
Date registered: 29/10/2013
Carrie is an American film and the third adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. Closely following the original narrative, it concerns a socially-isolated high school student Carrie White. Her fanatically religious mother Margaret torments her at home and a group of girls, led by Chris, viciously bully her at school. Carrie discovers she has telekinetic abilities which she hones after research and practice.
Date registered: 08/10/2013
The film Filth is a Scottish comedy drama about a misanthropic, drug and alcohol-addicted, misogynist, racist police officer - Bruce Robertson - who wants to secure a promotion at work and win back his wife and daughter. Bruce is selected to lead an investigation into the hate killing of a Japanese exchange student. Even though he apparently knows who the killers are Bruce makes little progress on the investigation, and instead sets about sabotaging and undermining his colleagues' chances of success for promotion.
Date registered: 26/09/2013
Colorado Adventures is a role-playing console game based on the popular American television series South Park. This particular game was examined on an Xbox 360 debug console unit, and is also available in PC and PlayStation 3 formats. Set in the South Park universe, the game uses a first-person avatar to complete quests within the context of a 'LARPing' (live action role-play) game played by the central characters in the television series.
Date registered: 13/08/2013
Grand Theft Auto V is the fifth instalment in a very popular, sometimes notorious, free-roaming action adventure game. The current version is set in modern-day Los Santos, a game world parody of Los Angeles and surrounding regions. There are three playable protagonists: Michael, a retired bank robber; Trevor, a destructive and possibly psychopathic drug addict; and Franklin, a repo man. The lives of the three men intersect as they complete missions to earn money.
Date registered: 27/06/2013
Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion is a hack'n'slash adventure game examined on the PlayStation 3 console. The game is played in third-person perspective in single player or co-operative modes. The player selects one of four orcs to battle hordes of human warriors and fantasy creatures. The puerile humour of the game centres on the player's orc who is able to fart and belch in order to stun opponents, enabling them to be killed more easily.
Date registered: 14/06/2013
The Heat is a US action comedy film about two female public officials forced to work together. Ashburn, a talented but arrogant and uptight FBI agent, is assigned a case that has her paired with a foul-mouthed, derisive Boston police officer, Mullins. Together they investigate a large local drug distribution ring in order to bring down the drug lord responsible.
Date registered: 25/06/2013
Saints Row IV is the fourth in a series of free-roaming sandbox games initially modelled on the popular Grand Theft Auto series, but now striking out in a more fantastical and less realistic direction. The player controls the leader of the Third Street Saints, who has now become the President of the United States. The game returns to the same fictional city of Steelport from Saints Row: The Third and takes place a few years after The Third, focusing on the Saints fighting a larger threat than the typical street gangs: aliens.
Date registered: 17/05/2013
The film The Hangover Part III is the third in a commercially-successful franchise about a group of friends who get pulled into ridiculous and often dangerous situations. Alan, Phil, Stu and Doug are travelling to Las Vegas to seek help for Alan's “condition” (unspecified, but seemingly a blend of Tourette and Asperger syndromes). On the way they are attacked by a crime boss named Marshall who kidnaps Doug and forces the others to track down an Asian criminal from the previous two films, Chow, who stole half of his gold.