Are films more violent than in the good old days? Some thoughts on Point Break

And by good old days, obviously I mean when I was a teenager. You have to consider those the good old days even if they were rubbish, that’s how it works.

Last night Belle and I watched Point Break. (The original, not the terrible looking remake.) It came out in 1991 I think, when I was 13, and I must have watched it dozens of times. Partly I just liked looking at Keanu Reeves, partly I wanted to be Tyler, because she was so cool and tough and looked amazing in that denim short/off the shoulder stretchy top combo, and partly because it made me want to join the FBI and do cool chases through people’s back gardens.

(Obviously I would never be able to do that, I’d just be huffing and puffing, shouting ‘come back!’ before collapsing in a paddling pool.)

It’s an ace film though isn’t it? A proper classic, which I why I wanted to introduce Belle to it at a similar age. When I got the box out though, I realised it’s an 18!! Seriously. I was stunned. An 18?! 

I did some research online and ‘bloody shootings’ and bad language seemed to be the thing, along with one scene where you see a flash of boob. I talked to Belle about it, as she is quite sensitive about things being age appropriate, and she agreed she would give it a go. I even said the word ‘fuck’ out loud, which I don’t think I have ever done before in front of her, to prove that it was only a word and couldn’t actually hurt you. She seemed a little taken aback, and I’m not sure I’ve ever read that technique in a parenting book, but I did really want to watch the film…

As we watched, I kept waiting for ‘the thing’ that would warrant the 18 certificate, but apart from the 71 uses of the F word, (Belle kept a tally), and a few shootings, there really wasn’t anything. I think about the sort of films nowadays that get 18 certificates, like the Saw films, which I could never bear to watch, and it just doesn’t seem to compute. 

Is it just me, or are films more violent now? If Point Break came out now, would it really get an 18 certificate do you think?

Point Break review

Image – underworld/shutterstock



  1. 10 March, 2016 / 11:40 am

    I loved Point Break too as a teen and cannot believe it was an 18! I do think that the scare factor has got higher- these days we are all so much more sophisticated in our consuming of entertainment that it takes more to shock us! But I love how Belle kept an F word tally! Bless her!!

    • Jo Middleton
      10 March, 2016 / 3:13 pm

      She’s wonderful Nadine. I never have to worry about her swearing or getting into trouble without us knowing. She won’t even let us say ARSE in the house!

  2. 10 March, 2016 / 11:44 am

    Yes I do think they are. When I watch films from my teenage years including horror films I find it hard to see how they were given the ratings like 15 or 18, maybe because of the bad language at the time? The violence is a lot tamer than it is in films today.

    • Jo Middleton
      10 March, 2016 / 3:14 pm

      I wonder if it’s a different SORT of violence too? Modern films seem to have a lot more nasty violence in, if that makes sense – proper sadistic stuff.

  3. 10 March, 2016 / 12:36 pm

    I’ve not seen Point Break but you’ve made me want to watch it now, would be interesting to see if I agree with you. And, you know… Keanu Reeves.

    • Jo Middleton
      10 March, 2016 / 3:13 pm

      You’ve never seen Point Break??!! Watch it. Seriously. Keanu’s acting is AWFUL, obviously, but it’s such a great film.

  4. 10 March, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    I hadn’t thought about it, but you are probably right. I remember watching Flowers in the Attic as a 12 year old and now that wouldn’t be considered scary probably. Showing any form of nudity was scandalous as you know. Times have changed.

  5. 10 March, 2016 / 2:53 pm

    I think they probably are more violent. I obviously obliterated the F word from my watching of the film because I don’t remember it, but I know my language is shocking nowadays and it’s largely down to language like that becoming more publically ‘normal’ and more frequently heard, even if it’s still a horrible word.

    Ok, there were always westerns with lots of shootings, and sex scenes, but the violence in some films just goes on and on, like that’s the main part of the film rather than anything else.

  6. 11 March, 2016 / 11:44 am

    That film was an 18???? Was it an 18 at the point of release on VHS? I say this because sometimes it went the other way and films like Starship Troopers were a 15 at the cinema and an 18 on VHS

    The first Terminator film was an 18 at release and is now a 15 on DVD / Blueray

    I also think back in (our) day a PG was a REAL PG!! You go back and look at Temple of Doom / Poltergeist etc and they would be 12A/15s now

  7. 11 March, 2016 / 9:51 pm

    I feel terrible that I have never watched Point Break now! I will have to add it to my list of classics that I have somehow skipped. I definitely think films are more graphic now though, probably because they can be, we have learned better techniques to fake and photoshop things and they have all this digital mumbo jumbo too.

  8. 12 March, 2016 / 7:46 am

    Me too. It was only because of Keanu Reeves that I watched it.

  9. Alan
    16 March, 2016 / 9:35 pm

    I found your blog because I googled ‘modern movies are too violent’. I’ve just turned 40, I grew up loving Superman and I’m tempted to see the new movie, but I don’t think I want too. I don’t think I’ll enjoy it because it will be too dark and violent. Not what we used to call ‘comic book violence’ but darker, nastier, longer, more drawn-out scenes. The last time I went to the cinema was to see the new Star Wars. Every trailer before the main feature was just a torrent of graphic violence and destruction, real in your face Armaggedon end of the world type stuff. Movies ARE getting more violent, swearing IS becoming more routine, and the violent scenes and violent language are in films marketed to kids. Meanwhile the modern day censors focus on political correctness. You can show horrendous scenes of violence but you can’t call a spade a spade.

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