Watership Down (1978)

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Watership Down (1978)

Postby Jim » 29 Mar 2016, 15:46

The BBFC emphasized again that this is the film which always gets a flood of complaints by angry parents every year, despite its U certificate. More so after its Easter showing on C5! It is listed as uncut at the BBFC site, but this is very confusing as many sources/reviews have it as either 101 mins or 92 mins NTSC speed. I have it on PAL DVD at 88 mins transfer speed difference allowed. Could there have been a longer version out there on the older vhs format which is adding to the confusion of film runtimes? The German blu- ray is 91 mins 55 seconds.
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Re: Watership Down (1978)

Postby m35541 » 29 Mar 2016, 18:39

The BBFC have the theatrical submission pegged at 101m but all DVDs/videos at 88m pal or 92m ntsc. Need to check trade papers of the time or press books for the actual running time of the theatrical release.
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Re: Watership Down (1978)

Postby Jim » 29 Mar 2016, 19:10

Yeah, that is very curious, because there are two BBFC pages for this individually stating these different runtimes depending on the relevant link Google finds as well as various blu ray/DVD sites adding to this confusion writing 101 mins or 92 mins. My gut feeling is that back in the good old vhs days(pre DVD) it existed in a much longer version. Happy hunting, because I cannot find diddly squat via any Net source. Thanks mate! :D
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Re: Watership Down (1978)

Postby m35541 » 30 Mar 2016, 17:29

Per the BBC news site:

The U-rated 1978 film Watership Down would be classified PG were it released today, the new head of the British Board of Film Classification has said.

BBFC director David Austin told BBC Radio 5 live its violence was "arguably too strong" for it to be rated U now.

He added the film also contains language that would be "unacceptable" in a film rated U under 2016 criteria.

His comments followed complaints over the film's content after it was aired on Channel 5 on Sunday.

"Well done to whoever at Channel 5 decided that Watership Down was a nice Easter Sunday afternoon film to show," wrote one tweeter.

Based on the novel by Richard Adams, the animated film tells of a group of rabbits who leave their burrow in search of a new home.

Their quest brings them into contact with a battle-scarred rabbit called "General" Woundwort, as well as a gull called Kehaar who tells another character to go away using an expletive.

The BBFC continues to receive "one or two complaints" each year over its content, which includes scenes of rabbits fighting, being throttled and gasping for air.

The film - which features the voices of Sir John Hurt and the late Richard Briers - received a U rating on its initial release for its "very mild language, mild violence and threat".

According to Austin, though, "standards were different then". "The film has been a U for 38 years, but if it came in tomorrow it would not be," he continued.

For it to receive a different rating, however, it would have to be re-submitted to the BBFC - something Austin said would only happen if the title was acquired by a new distributor who wished to re-release it.

According to BBFC guidelines, a U-rated film "should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over" while a PG may feature scenes "unsuitable for young children".

A spokesman for Channel 5 said the broadcaster would not be commenting on the issue.


Next time I am in the BFI library I will check out the MFB for the actual theatrical running time.
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Re: Watership Down (1978)

Postby Jim » 30 Mar 2016, 19:03

Much appreciated. :D
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Re: Watership Down (1978)

Postby m35541 » 01 Apr 2016, 15:53

I checked the October 1978 MFB and the 18 October Variety issue and they both have 92m for the theatrical release.

As far as I can determine all releases are 92m and the only source for 102m is the BBFC website. Either:

(a) 102m is a typo for 92m; or
(b) the film was passed at 102m but then cut by the distributor prior to actual release
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Re: Watership Down (1978)

Postby Jim » 01 Apr 2016, 17:21

It appears that the distributor may have cut it down from an original 102 to 92 minutes for later releases. A couple of people I know swear that it runs longer on vhs and could still have copies in the attic. Until I see it with my own eyes it could be a typo error.

That said it is up on YouTube in a 106 mins 50 secs version now, so it is anyone's guess! Taking what you said about the BBFC before, the YouTube version NTSC speed would correspond to PAL frame 102 minutes given by the BBFC so distributor edits look a possibility. Thanks again for your help. :D
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Re: Watership Down (1978)

Postby m35541 » 01 Apr 2016, 20:59

That 106m You Tube print is a weird one, it seems to begin and end mid-flow so I would check it out properly before making any assumptions.
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Re: Watership Down (1978)

Postby Jim » 02 Apr 2016, 11:10

That why I said 'anyone's guess'! No assumptions made and I did thoroughly check it out at the time of writing. I surmised that it could be some telecined hybrid with weird runtime on YouTube due to its juddery playback etc.
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