Batman Begins

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Not suitable under 15; parental guidance 15 and over (violence, horror)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Batman Begins
  • a review of Batman Begins completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 15 June 2005.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under the age of 15 Not suitable due to violence, horror, disturbing visual images, and drug use. There is a strong possibility that horror content and the scary visual images in this film, could seriously disturb children under the age of ten years.
Children aged 15 and over Some susceptible older adolescents may still need parental guidance to view this movie.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Batman Begins
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Moderate violence, Moderate themes
Length: 134 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Eight year old Bruce Wayne, while playing on grounds of Wayne Manor, falls through a disused well and is attacked by a large flock of bats, as a result being left with a fear of bats. A number of years later, Bruce (Christian Bale) is an inmate in a prison somewhere in Asia. The mysterious Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) aids Bruce’s release from prison, and trains Bruce in the ways of the League of Shadows, an age-old secret society that fights corruption and evil. At the end of his training, Bruce has a falling out with Ducard and returns home to Gotham City.

Once home, Bruce finds that crime boss Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson) is in control of Gotham City, which is now full of crime and corruption. To fight the criminal element of Gotham, and with the support of Alfred (Michael Caine), and Wayne Enterprises’ Applied Science division run by Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Bruce acquires all the equipment necessary to transform into his Batman persona, a terrifying batlike creature able to strike out of shadows and vanish without a trace.

Batman learns that there is an even greater evil at large than Falcone. Dr. Jonathan Crane (Cillian Murphy) uses a fear-inducing psychotropic drug to make his victims see him as a terrifying Scarecrow, resulting in permanent brain damage and psychotic behaviour. Crane/  The Scarecrow is backed by Ducard and the League of Shadows, who have been supplying Crane with the fear inducing drug. Batman and his ally Detective Gordon (Gary Oldman) join forces to defend the population of Gotham City against their evil plans.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.


Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Batman Begins contains many scenes of brutal physical and psychological violence, and fear is used as a major weapon. Violent scenes include:

  • martial arts style fighting, including punches and kicks to the head and stomach
  • street style fighting, that is brutal, vicious and dirty)
  • sword fights
  • automatic weapons being fired at Batman
  • Bruce’s parents being shot at point blank range while a young Bruce looks on
  • a courtroom assassination
  • an older Bruce being held by thugs and punched in the face
  • Batman being doused with petrol and then set on fire
  • the Scarecrow using a fear inducing drug to terrorise both men and women
  • Batman punching and kicking numerous villains
  • Batman using a fear inducing drug to terrorise the Scarecrow
  • Detective Gordon firing missiles from the Batmobile to blow up a monorail.

The violence presented in Batman Begins is more disturbing than any other Batman film as the violence is presented a realistic manner rather than comic book style. Both good and evil characters use physical and psychological violence to intimidate and control those who oppose them. Batman’s use of vigilante violence was glamourised, and portrayed as successful, justifiable and acceptable.

Most of the fight scenes in the movie are represented as a whirl of movement leaving the viewer with an impression of what happens rather than actually seeing it. The fight scenes still give the appearance of being very violent and brutal, and Batman’s victims demonstrate a genuine fear of Batman’s wrath.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned scenes, there are many scenes that could scare or disturb young children. Two scenes of Bruce as a young boy could be particularly distressing:

  • Bruce being attacked by bats, and the obvious terror he suffers
  • witnessing the murder of his parents.

Visual images that could disturb children under the age of eight include:

  • the Scarecrow character itself
  • Scarecrow’s face riddled with maggots
  • Bats crawling out of the Scarecrows mouth
  • a skeleton faced policeman
  • a horse with demonic eyes that breathes fire
  • Batman transforming into a very scary, dark, demon like creature with a scary demonic voice
  • Many of the bad-guy/evil characters have a very mean, intimidating appearance, which young children may find threatening and scary.

Other scenes of concern are:

  • thousands of bats attack Gotham’s police force.
  • The manner in which Batman attacks his victims is specifically designed to create terror. He drops out of nowhere, wraps his victims in his wings and then disappears back up into the sky, all in the blink of an eye (reminiscent of the manner in which the alien creatures attacked their victims in the film Aliens).
  • loud explosions and gunfire
  • car chases where numerous cars are destroyed and a mono-train derailed

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may be disturbed by the above mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

The violence and violent visual images in Batman Begins are presented in a very realistic manner and setting, and are still capable of scaring or disturbing children aged eight to fifteen.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Some older adolescents could still be disturbed by the horror-like images presented in Batman Begins. It is recommended that parents consider the film’s contents and carefully assess their own teenager’s ability to cope with it.

Product placement

None noted.

Sexual references

There are no explicit sexual references, although there is some mild sexual innuendo, including the implication that Bruce Wayne is a playboy, accompanied by beautiful, provocatively dressed playgirls.

Nudity and sexual activity

None noted.

Use of substances

The movie contains some use of substances, including:

  • Bruce holds a birthday party for himself at Wayne manor. He pretends to be intoxicated and abuses his guests referring to them in terms such as “sycophantic suck ups”.
  • Bruce see distorted images as a result of breathing in the smoke of a hallucinogenic drug
  • In a number of other scenes, the Scarecrow blows a hallucinogenic drug into the faces of his victims causing them to become psychotic and see horror like images.
  • While the film contained no scenes involving the consumption of illicit drugs, there were several scenes where reference was made to Gotham’s population being dependent on illicit drugs and scenes where large quantities of illicit drugs, packets of white powder, were being smuggled into Gotham.

Coarse language

Mild, and occasional use of coarse language, including what the hell and bloody.

In a nutshell

Batman Begins is about the struggle of a sole vigilante against injustice and corruption. Batman struggles with his ideals, his own anger and uses fear to fight his own fear.

Parents of teenagers who view this film may wish to discuss the portrayal of violence as an acceptable method to fight injustice and corruption, and what the real life consequences can be of vigilante justice.