The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan, NC-17

Batman films have always displayed a varying degree of violence, regardless of who’s behind the camera. But how violent is too violent for the Caped Crusader’s acts of heroism within Gotham City? Where is the line when all that stands between justice and anarchy is another villain lying in a pool of their own blood and misdeeds?

Recently while appearing on the ReelBlend podcast (via NME), THE DARK KNIGHT RISES actor Matthew Modine revealed that Nolan originally scripted and shot a death scene for his character that if kept would have called for the film to receive an NC-17 rating. Modine portrayed Peter Foley in the film, second-in-command to Commissioner Gordon and one of Gotham’s more brash authoritative figures. During the podcast, Modine shared that in a deleted scene from the final cut of the film, Foley is run over by a vehicle Marion Cotillard’s Talia al Ghul is driving following the death of Bane (Tom Hardy). He then stated that the scene was cut because it was deemed to be too violent.

“It was so violent that it would have gotten an NC-17 rating,” Modine informed listeners of the podcast. “All it does is, it just cuts, and I’m on the ground, dead. But it was so violent,” Modine added. “The guy that was doubling me got hit by the car. They put a plexiglass thing on the front of [the car] and he got hit. They had ropes to pull him into the air, but he went up and they dropped him from about 15 feet, and the sound of his body hitting the cobblestone street in front of the New York Stock Exchange, it was sickening.”

Modine then continued to elaborate by saying, “I remember I looked at Christopher Nolan when we shot it and his face was white. He was like, ‘Ok, let’s move on. We got that.’ But it was like, ‘Oh my God, is that guy going to get up? Is he okay?’ But [Nolan] said that if he would have put it in the movie, it would’ve got an NC-17 rating because it was so violent.”

Holy Bat-crap! That sounds intense, and I can only hope that the stunt person involved wasn’t injured in the process.

When all was said and done, Peter Foley’s death was changed to a scene wherein he’s gunned down during the fight between Bane’s henchmen and the GCPD. While it may not be as dramatic as Nolan’s original plan, I’m sure the film’s censors did less squirming in their seats as a result. In the end, the final film in Nolan’s Batman trilogy was given a PG-13 rating, and no one had to watch some brave stunt person get launched by a slab of plexiglass moving at high speed.

Do you think this scene would be too violent for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES? How much violence is too much for any Batman film? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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