The powers that be behind Risen — the upcoming film that stars Joseph Fiennes and Tom Felton as Roman officers who go looking for the body of Jesus — have unveiled an official website for the film that has some new photos as well as a timeline that charts some of the key events between the Crucifixion and the Ascension.
One detail I hadn’t noticed before is that the film is rated PG-13 partly for “biblical violence”. Is this a first? I know that films like Star Wars and Gods of Egypt sometimes get tagged with warnings for “sci-fi violence” or “fantasy violence”, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a warning for “biblical violence” before.
The MPAA didn’t include warnings with its ratings until about 20 years ago, but for what it’s worth, here is how it has rated other recent biblical movies:
- King of Kings (1961, rated in 2004) — Rated PG-13 for some violent content.
- The Prince of Egypt (1998) — Rated PG for intense depiction of thematic elements.
- The Gospel of John (2003) — Rated PG-13 for violence involving the crucifixion.
- The Passion of the Christ (2004) — Rated R for sequences of graphic violence.
- Judas (2004) — Rated PG-13 for some violent images.
- The Story of Jesus for Children (2005) — Rated PG for some violent and thematic elements.
- The Nativity Story (2006) — Rated PG for some violent content.
- The Final Inquiry (2006) — Rated PG-13 for violence.
- The Ten Commandments (2007) — Rated PG for some mild peril.
- Son of God (2014) — Rated PG-13 for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence.
- Noah (2014) — Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.
- Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) — Rated PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images.
- Risen (2016) — Rated PG-13 for Biblical violence including some disturbing images.
- The Young Messiah (2016) — Rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements.
It looks to me like most biblical films over the last dozen years or so have had general warnings about the violence, and at least two have had ratings that drew special attention to the depiction of the Crucifixion in those films. But I can’t think of any other film that has ever had a warning for “biblical violence” specifically.
The funny thing is, if you’ve seen the trailers, then you know that at least some of the violence in Risen — such as the bit where Clavius kills a Jewish rebel — is not biblical, but is part of the fictitious narrative that has been built up around the biblical narrative. Indeed, except for the Crucifixion, most of which takes place offscreen, just about every violent act within the film is part of that non-biblical storyline.
In any case, you can check out the Risen website here.
The film itself opens February 19.