When having a movie that contains violence, usually there is a warning about that issue. What is the warning in English?

1) Hard to watch

2) Difficult to watch

or something else

I little feel that the second option refers to cases that it's technically difficult and not sentimental.

  • I think either may work, but native speakers would be able to tell you which one can convey the sentiment better. (To me, one is just a little less formal than the other.) If I want to be a bit specific about the material in the movie, I'd say that The movie is disturbing or It's a disturbing movie or The movie has/contains disturbing scenes/violence/material/etc. Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 19:15

2 Answers 2


(Warning: Instead of trying to judge between "hard to watch" and "difficult to watch", I'd like to give you a few stock phrases for the warning of this kind, because I believe that you're looking for standard phrases for Content Warning.)

You can find stock phrases of "Content Warnings" all over the web. I've picked a few examples for you, along with some useful links:

This show contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion advised.
––TV Tropes.

The following program contains scenes of violence and coarse language intended for adult audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.

Suitable for viewing by persons 14 years of age and older. Persons under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. May contain: violence, coarse language and/or sexually suggestive scenes.
––Atlantic Cinemas

Intense Violence - Graphic and realistic-looking depictions of physical conflict. May involve extreme and/or realistic blood, gore, weapons and depictions of human injury and death
––ESRB Ratings (Amazon.com)

Suitable for ages 18 and older. These films may contain prolonged scenes depicting violence with blood-letting, graphic depiction of accident, intense horror, full nudity, rape or sexual activity, or repeated use of offensive language.
––Maritime Film Classification Board

The film advertised has been rated R: Restricted -- Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language.
––MPAA – An example found on SIVER LINING LTD

See also:

  • I just about a short sentence (2 or 3 words) that I can put on a video that I upload to YouTube and it contain violence. I understood that "Hard to watch" is acceptable in such context. Am I right? Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 22:14
  • 2
    @Assiduous If you can write a short phase: "Some viewers may find this video disturbing. Viewer discretion advised." If you can write only a few words: "Violence material. Viewer discretion advised." If you can write only a couple: "Violent Content Warning!" (I changed "Violence" to "Violent Content". It should be a little clearer this way.) Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 22:50

I wouldn't use either of those sentences because they sound like you are saying the movie is challenging to watch, not that it might make people uncomfortable. The clearest and most idiomatic way to warn people would be a brief description of the content, followed by "viewer discretion is advised." For example:

Warning: this movie contains (graphic violence, coarse language, nudity, etc. ). Viewer discretion is advised.

One advantage to this method is that some viewers might be okay with one type of content but uncomfortable with another type. This allows them to decide whether or not they are willing to see the movie.

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