UK BBFC cinema cuts of spaghetti westerns

I know how prudish the BBFC used to be, but I find the classification of this hugely entertaining and gloriously silly film as an X quite incomprehensible.

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Classified ‘X’ for theatrical release in 1971 after the following cuts (c.9m):

DR1 - The shots of men cutting the throat of a bullock were removed.
The scene of Brandt forcibly making love to his wife Melissa was considerably shortened.
The attempted rape of Melissa on a wagon, and the accompanying dialogue, was considerably shortened.
The whole incident between Brandt and Chinese prostitute after she has said “I show you good time” was removed, resuming when they are seen in bed in the morning with another woman in Reel 2.
DR2 - The rape of Melissa by Frank was considerably shortened; shots of his moving up and down on her were removed.
DR3 - Shots of Frank’s companion writhing after he has been shot were removed.
The sequence in which Brandt’s men look at the man who has been shot through the eye and then go off leaving him to die was considerably shortened.
The shootings of members of the gang beside a pool was considerably reduced, in particular shots of men being killed in slow-motion and of blood spurting from their wounds were removed.
DR4 - The incident in which a member of the gang tries to rape Melissa and is stabbed by her was considerably shortened.
DR5 - Shot of Brandt stabbing a wounded man in the throat was removed.
All shots of the gangster after he has been shot in the face by Frank, including shots of him shuddering as he dies, were removed.
DR6 - The time that Frank takes to die was considerably shortened.

Contemporary UK publications record a 102m running time for the UK theatrical release compared to 111m for the uncut version.

Classified ‘18’ for video in 1986 (uncut version submitted) after the following cuts (1m43s):

At 35s - As cowboy cuts throat of bullock, sight of knife in throat and blood gushing out were removed.
At 9m - Duration of sexual assault on woman in back of the cart after man tears open her blouse was considerably reduced.
At 18m - In scene on train when man terrorises Chinese prostitute, all sight of him threatening to burn her with candelabra and grappling with her naked body on bed was removed.
At 67m - Sight of horse tripped into heavy forward fall and later distant shot of horse somersaulting were removed.
At 74m - When man attacks woman in bedroom, sight of him punching her hard in the stomach and also the pan up her exposed legs as she struggles was removed.

All violence cuts waived for 2015 DVD but horsefall cuts, at 67m above, maintained (2s).

Really heavy theatrical cuts although this is an extreme and gratuitously violent film - Trevelyan mentions this in his autobiography as a film he disliked a lot.


Film titled Sartana rejected for theatrical release in 1972.

I examined the BBFC case file for this which was unfortunately sparse and contained no plot summary. I assume this is the original Sartana but cannot be 100% sure.

A letter from BBFC Secretary Stephen Murphy to the distributor in February 1972 observed that “…having looked at your film Sartana with the examiners, I can see no prospect of our issuing a certificate for it. I cannot remember seeing a film in which there is so much unjustified and unjustifiable violence and somewhere about the fiftieth death we could finally take no more. It is really not possible to argue that this is the routine violence of the Western. There is a kind of savagery about the film that the examiners and myself found difficult to accept and I cannot think that extensive cutting would help”.
In 1974, the distributor asked the BBFC to re-look at the film but a BBFC examiner merely consulted the original viewing notes (lost, unfortunately) about “this horrid film” rather than watching the movie again and Murphy informed the distributor that “I really cannot encourage you to think that there are any prospects of our taking a different view of this film”.

Sartana (original film) was classified ‘15’ uncut for video in 1986. This is about the only example I can see of a film rejected in the early 1979s being given an uncut 15 only 14 years later.

The UK Arrow Blu Ray is ‘15’ uncut.

Assuming this was the original Sartana, the rejection seems somewhat inexplicable. Apart from a five minute sequence of continual cold-blooded killings and numerous close shots of bullet wounds to the head (a stagecoach is attacked and two groups of bandits get double-crossed and massacred), which is rougher than usual but could have been edited easily, there is nothing here that the BBFC had not passed already in spaghetti westerns such as Sabata and Django Kill.
One can only assume that the timing of the submission, at a point where the BBFC was under severe political pressure from the Festival of Light was a major factor in its rejection.

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Classified ‘A’ for theatrical release in 1967 after the following cuts:

R1 - In the pre-credit fight reduce the beating-up of Jerry and especially remove kicks and two handed blows.

R2 - Shorten the death agony of the man who has been stabbed in the barn and especially remove Jerry’s hysterical roaring and choking of the man when he has died.

Reduce the fight in the saloon; especially remove kicks, foul blows and shots of man’s hand pinned to the table with a dagger.

R3 - Considerably reduce the fight, especially removing kicks and attempts to drown a man in the river. (NB: this must be the long fight with Henry Silva’s henchmen with Silva watching and laughing),

Passed ‘12’ uncut for DVD in 2008.


Classified ‘U’ for theatrical release in 1966 after the following cuts:

R2 - Remove shots of cocks in actual contact in cock-fight.

R3 - Considerably reduce number of shots which kill Williams.

R4 - Remove shots of blood-stained face of ‘customer’who has been attacked by Burns and Jackson.

R5 - Remove two of the four blows which Duke gives to Steve.

Classified ‘PG’ for video in 1986 after the following cuts made to conform with the Cinematograph (Animal) Act 1937 (20s):

At 22.5m (tape code - Remove all sight of cocks making contact in cockfight scene, and subsequent sight of cock flapping and struggling after being shot (just before line “You lose, my fat friend”).

At 41.75m (tape code - Remove sight of white horse falling onto its knees (just before man cries, “Beautiful shooting, Joe!”)

At 74.5m (tape code - In fight scene in square, remove sight of middle house falling on to knees (just before shot of man in stetson hat falling towards Jackson’s Bank).

At 75.5m ( - Remove sight of horse falling on to its knees, as rider in white shirt is thrown to ground (just before villain grabs woman as hostage).

Note that horsefall cuts made to video and not to theatrical print. Violence cuts waived for video - rating raised from U to PG.


Classified ‘X’ for theatrical release in 1969 after the following cuts (2m):

R1 - Remove blows with ‘bazooka’ in stomach & face (before credits).

Shorten the fight between Lynch and Mackay; especially remove some of the heavy and noisy blows in the face,

R2 - Shorten the fight in the bar; especially remove kicks and stomach blow with ‘bazooka’.

R3 - Considerably reduce the beat-up of Mackay, especially remove the kick in the face and the blow with the ‘bazooka’.

R4 - Shorten the fight between Lynch and Mackay, and remove as many as possible of the shots where Mackay’s hands are trapped.

UK theatrical version cut by 2m to 98m.

Passed ‘12’ uncut for 2021 Blu Ray release.

Usual OTT cuts there for a film that is pretty comic strip in its fight scenes.

Chuck Connors was quite popular in the UK. His Branded series was shown in the 1970s in the UK on ITV (although made in 1965-1966) and I remember the pre-credits scene in which all of his lapels are torn off his shirt because he has been court martialed and I think his sword was broken as well. Can’t remember anything else.

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Classified ‘A’ for theatrical release in 1975, as Gunman in Town, after the following cuts (c.2m-3m):

R1 - Reduce pre-credits menacing of man by shooting at his feet and the rough handling of his daughter.

Reduce beating up of Sartana (soon after the credits) removing in particular all kicks.

Remove close shot of prison guard with spike in his neck.

R2 - Remove whole scene in which gaoler is gagged, bound by his own belt with hands to side, covered in paraffin from lamp and set alight, including all sight of him on fire. (NB: over 1m probably cut here)

Remove final coup-de-grace shooting of man in pig trough.

R3 - Remove sight of card-player pushing fingers into another’s eyes.

Remove dialogue: “What a ball-breaker you are”.
Remove whole of first scene in which Monk bull-whips people (this is immediately after Sartana welcomes him). (NB: probably 30s-45s cut)

R5 - Remove close shot of flick-knife opening.

Version released in UK cinemas ran only 89m (10m short) and must have been also subject to distributor pre-cuts.The BBFC cuts list above does not mention the R1 scene of a prisoner tortured by being doused with acid which is referred to in the BBFC consumer advice for the later Blu Ray release as one of the reasons for the ‘15’ rating. This should have been cut based on BBFC ‘A’ standards in 1975 and was presumably a pre-cut.

This was released late in 1975 and missed the ‘cut’ for Staig & Williams’ book so you won’t find it in there.

The English dubbed dialogue also tones down much of the bad language present in the Italian dialogue with, for example, ‘rat’ being used for ‘bastardo’ (bastard) while a character utters ‘merda’ (shit) in Italian but nothing at all in English.

Cuts waived for ‘15’ rated Blu Ray in 2018 as Light theFuse, Sartana is Coming (uncut 99m version).

This film was the only one of the five ‘proper’ Sartana films to get a UK release. The original Sartana was rejected and the next three were not released.

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Classified ‘AA’ for theatrical release in 1973 after the following cuts:

R2 - In ranch-house fight, remove scene where Hubel kicks man in face.

R4 - Reduce the shooting of Dave by Jonas.

R5 - In the scene where Heneker (old man) is shot in front of ranch, reduce the shooting from seven shots to first three only.

Reduce the shots of horses being shot and throwing their riders.

The Odeon DVD is uncut and ‘15’ rated.

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Classified ‘A’ for theatrical release in 1973 after the following cuts:

R3 - In saloon fight, remove all shots of kicks to the crotch & kneeing the crotch.

R5 - Remove dialogue where man tells Ebeneezer to go up now (to whore), as it’s bad to do it on a full stomach.

R6 - The final fight is far too long & must be shortened, in particular removing stomach punches.

DVD is uncut and ‘12’ rated.

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Classified ‘A’ for theatrical release in 1973 after the following cuts:

R4 - Remove the scene at the start of the reel, where Billy shoots a man from his horse and then guns him down while he is sitting on the ground.

Abridged 85m version submitted. No subsequent release.

This is one of the very few Peter Lee Lawrence films to be released in the UK (I think Garringo was the only other) and appears to have only been released 6 years late in order to capitalise on the forthcoming Sam Peckinpah movie.

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Released in the UK as ‘A Few Bullets More’ … which suggests cashing in on the Leone ‘Dollar’ movies, which still played as double features right into the late 70s, even after being shown on TV.

Aldo - isn’t that the US poster you copied. It doesn’t have a BBFC certificate and has a different distributor. US trailer also.

MFB review from June 1973:

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You’re right there … but I do remember seeing a UK quad poster predominantly red in colour, same design as above, but couldn’t find a picture on line this time.

PS: Aren’t USA and UK trailers usually the same thing, except if it’s a UK film … ?

Maybe this one? But this is another film.

Oh come on now, Wobble !!! :rofl:

The reviewer in Films and Filming absolutely hated this film (“We should call it The Sewer Six!”) on account of its non-stop slaughter, which probably reflected the BBFC mindset of the day - so it’s curious that it gets away with a mere two-minute cut, whereas If You Meet Sartana, Pray for Your Death got banned for a similar body count…

The spineless hypocrisy of these civil servant dweebs is galling - There is nothing in ‘Kill Them All’, to warrant a 16 years and over X cert … Look at the far more controversial mainstream films available at this time period. Look at what’s seen in a typical ‘Bond’ film of the time … no problem passing those movies. All kinds of sadistic torture and exotic death is more in line with what this self appointed faceless group get a kick out of …

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Classified ‘A’ for theatrical release, as Kill or be Killed, in 1968 after the following cuts:

DR1 - Very considerably shorten the fights in the saloon; especially remove kicks, knee-kicks and the use of glass tankards as weapons.

DR3 - Considerably shorten the fight between Jerry and Black Slim, particularly remove kicks, knee-kicks, banging of head against a cart, stomach blows, and the repeated picking up and knocking down of one of the men.

DR4 - Remove the whole of the beat-up of Jerry, including the episode in which men shoot at him and he crawls away and another man sends him rolling down a slope.

No MFB review for this one so release must have been pretty limited. As a result, this is another one missing from Staig & Williams’ appendix. Reviewed by The Daily Cinema and Kine Weekly (trade papers) in March 1968.


Classified ‘U’ for theatrical release in 1965 (92m version submitted) after the following cuts:

R1 - Reduce shots of the two men tied to stake.

R3 - Shorten the fight between Paul and Geoffrey.

R4 - Remove close shot of Sergeant’s blood-stained hand and chest when he shakes hands with Corporal.

R5 - Shorten the battle with the Indians, in particular reducing the number of shots of men being killed by tomahawks and men falling from stockade.

The 92m version submitted to BBFC and subsequently cut to 84m by distributor for cinema release.

Quite an obscure film to get a UK release.


Classified ‘A’ for theatrical release in 1966 after the following cuts:

R4 - Remove shots of man kicking Clay and grinding his heel on his face.

Shorter 89m version submitted with the unhappy ending.

Not reviewed by MFB until March 1967 and compared unfavourably to A Pistol for Ringo with the reviewer probably not realising that this came first.

NB: under BBFC website misspelled as ‘Minnisota Clay’