Civil War

NZ release: 11 April 2024

Violence, cruelty, offensive language and content that may disturb Rated on: 03 April 2024

civil war poster

What’s it about?

The US states are at war with each other. Experienced photojournalist, Lee Smith, takes a young war photographer, Jessie, under her wing as a group of journalists make a dangerous journey to Washington D.C. to interview the president.

The facts

  • Directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation)
  • English language
  • Runtime: 109 minutes
  • Produced by A24 (Everything Everywhere All at Once, Hereditary)

Why did it get this rating?

This film was classified by Te Mana Whakaatu, Classification Office. You can find out more about classification process and ratings here.

Violence and cruelty

The film depicts violence and cruelty which is often sudden and shocking. There are scenes of intense gunfire, regular explosions and gunshots which are loud and sometimes startling. Several characters are shot.

One of the most shocking scenes involves a drawn-out confrontation between journalists and soldiers. Two journalists have been taken hostage. In the background we briefly see a truckload of bloodied dead bodies being dumped into a pit. A soldier interrogates the group of journalists and shoots two of them. We don’t see wound detail but both shootings are sudden and shocking. One of the journalists ends up in the pit of dead bodies. This is briefly shown but we see close-ups of the bloodied bodies as she crawls over them to escape.

There are scenes of wound detail, dead bodies and tortured victims. For example, two men hang from their wrists in a shed, their faces are severely bloodied and blood is dripping down their bodies. We see a man’s bloody face, badly swollen eye and blood spilling from his mouth. In another scene, a man is tied with a tyre around him and is set alight. These scenes could make some viewers feel confronted or uncomfortable.

We see scenes of violent riots. Armed defenders fend off angry citizens, people are struck with batons, a man is dragged along the ground and there is blood splatter on the ground. Bodies fly in an explosion. Other scenes show the aftermath of riots/fighting, such as bombed-out buildings/vehicles and bloodied bodies on the ground. This may be shocking and distressing for viewers.

The violence and cruelty in this film may be impactful for some viewers as it is often shocking and shown in quite a realistic way.

Offensive language

Offensive language is often used such as “f*ck” and “sh*t” during casual conversation, to express character’s feelings and as threatening insults.

What our Youth Advisory Panel said

Two members of our Youth Advisory Panel attended the screening.

Both found the scene where two journalists are shot and another crawls through the pit of bodies to be the most impactful, particularly as the scene was cruel and sudden, and the murders seemed racially motivated.

They both found the film to be very hard hitting with “a lot of intense content to handle”. They commented on the realistic scenes and confronting violence: “it’s really visceral, they don’t hold back.”


The violence and cruelty in the film could be upsetting for some viewers. If you are struggling with what you have seen on-screen, please reach out for help. If you or someone you know needs to talk:

Further information

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