18 certificateNatural Born Killers is a Film programme that first aired in 1994 and has been classified a 18 certificate.

Natural Born Killers is a 3 star programme

Image for the Film programme "Natural Born Killers"

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Natural Born Killers (1994)

Directed by
Oliver Stone

When it was originally released in 1994, this controversial and shocking crime thriller suffered more than 150 cuts, most of which involved instances of violence against authority figures. Oliver Stone's uncut version restores those cuts. It also includes deleted scenes from the prison riot and, most crucially, there's a subtle but important difference to the film's ending.

The film is the natural-born successor to A Clockwork Orange, not only in its theme (the link between media and real-life violence), but in the way it was received. No other film since Kubrick's has spawned such hysterical reaction. Within two months of its release, ten copycat killings had been reported in America, and a vitriolic media frenzy brought the film a temporary ban in Britain.

The film's story is a Bonnie and Clyde for the 1990s. Lovin' white trash, Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis) randomly blow away 52 innocents on a three-week rampage across America. They do it for kicks, and for the folk-hero fame that inevitably builds as venal Australian TV host Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.) tracks their murderous progress on his ratings-craving crime show, American Maniacs.

The couple, who leave one gibbering survivor at every massacre, are eventually caught by amoral celebrity cop Jack Scagnetti (Tom Sizemore), and banged up in the prison of crazed warden Dwight McClusky (Tommy Lee Jones). In an exclusive interview with his prey, Gale sparks a prison riot during which Mickey and Mallory behead McClusky, execute the TV host in front of his own camera, and escape to trailer-park bliss.

Natural Born Killers was adapted from a script by Quentin Tarantino. In Stone's hands, the film's satiric message, that the blood-thirsty American tabloid media perpetuates crime by glamorising and sensationalising violence, is simplistic. The way in which it hammers home its point, however, is anything but.

The film is a warped tour de force of technical wizardry. It surfs between old movie footage (including Scarface and the Oliver Stone-scripted Midnight Express), cinema, TV news, soap-opera, home video and security film styles, switching spasmodically from black and white to colour, fast- to slow-motion, hyper-reality to hallucination.

Meanwhile, brutal flash-cut editing (which took Hank Corwin and Brian Berdan a staggering 11 months to complete) shuffles the skilfully constructed, heinous imagery into a high-octane, sensory blitzkrieg that's accompanied by a scorching soundtrack pieced together by Nine Inch Nails's frontman Trent Reznor.


Written by ,

Genre: Film

Running Time: 130 minutes (approx)

Production Year: 1994

3/5 Stars

Classification: 18 Certificate

Filmed in Colour


O-Lan Jones...Mabel
Image for Woody HarrelsonWoody Harrelson...Mickey Knox
Image for Juliette LewisJuliette Lewis...Mallory Knox
Ed White...Pinball Cowboy
Richard Lineback...Sonny
Lanny Flaherty...Earl
Carol-Renee Modrall...Short-Order Cook
Rodney Dangerfield...Mallory's Dad
Edie McClurg...Mallory's Mom
Sean Stone...Kevin
Jerry Gardner...Work Boss
Jack Caffrey...Work Boss
Leon Skyhorse Thomas...Work Boss
Image for Robert Downey Jr.Robert Downey Jr....Wayne Gale
Corinna Everson...TV Mallory