Bristol City Council has overruled film censors to allow under-18s to see the new Shane Meadows film This Is England.
Other councils are understood to have followed Bristol's lead
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) had given the film an 18 certificate because it contained a scene of racist violence.
Although local authorities have the power to set their own classifications, this is only done on rare occasions.
A councillor who sat on the committee which imposed a 15 certificate called the BBFC's 18 verdict "idiotic".
Councillor Ron Stone added: "It was a unanimous decision of the committee that there was nothing we saw in the film which was any worse than you would see probably on Channel 4 or one of the main TV channels at peak-time viewing.
"We felt it was idiotic that what is basically a very good film and very well made, on a difficult but social issue, should be prevented from being seen by the audience it was targeted at.
"I think the censors actually are wrong in giving it an 18 certificate."
The film stars newcomer Thomas Turgoose as a lonely schoolboy whose soldier father was killed in the Falklands War.
He is taken under the wing of an older gang which is true to the original skinhead movement, influenced by the ska and reggae movements.
Star Thomas Turgoose would be too young to watch the film in a cinema
But the gang falls under the influence of a National Front supporter recently released from prison, and the film climaxes in a race attack.
Other councils across the UK are now understood to be following Bristol's lead include the local authority in Grimsby, Turgoose's home town.
The schoolboy is 15 so is unable to see his own performance at the cinema.
The BBFC said it was a "borderline" 15/18 rated film but had been given the higher classification because of the race attack scene and its accompanying language.
"What we are concerned about is young people seeing this in a context where they are not in a position to discuss the issues, and where it may come across as more attractive than offensive," said a spokeswoman.
"It is not a common occurrence for local authorities to set their own classifications, but they are certainly within their rights to do so."