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What is the BBFC?
• The BBFC stands for the British Board of Film Classification
• They formed in 1912
• They are responsible for the national classification and censorship of films
within the United Kingdom
• In the case of films shown in cinemas, local authorities have the final legal
authorisation over who can view a particular film.
• All films rated by the BBFC receive a certificate, along with "consumer
advice" detailing references to sex, violence and coarse language.
All ages admitted. There is almost nothing unsuitable for children aged 4 years and over
All ages admitted, but some certain scenes can be unsuitable for young children. They
should not disturb children aged 8 or older. May contain mild language or sex/drug
references. May contain moderate violence if justified by context (e.g. fantasy). A parent
may wish to check the content before they let their children watch or play it.
This category applies to cinema releases from August 1989 to 2002 (12) and since
2002, 12A was used in cinema releases. However, 12 is used in home media
releases since 1994. Only suitable for people aged 12 or older. Films under this
category can contain mature themes, discrimination, soft drugs, infrequent strong
language, very strong language (introduced in 2015) and moderate violence, sex
references and nudity. Sexual activity may be briefly and discreetly portrayed.
Sexual violence may be implied or briefly indicated.
Only suitable for people aged 15 and older. Films under this category can contain adult
themes, hard drugs, regular use of foul language and limited use of very strong language,
strong violence and strong sex references, and nudity without graphic detail. Sexual activity
may be portrayed but without any strong detail. Sexual violence may be shown if discreet
and justified by context.
Only suitable for people aged 18 or older, which means adults only. Films under this
category do not have limitation on the foul language that is used. Hard drugs are generally
allowed, and explicit sex references along with detailed sexual activity are also allowed.
Scenes of strong real sex may be permitted if justified by the context. Very strong, gory,
and/or sadistic violence is usually permitted. Strong sexual violence is permitted unless it is
eroticized or excessively graphic.
Can only be shown at licensed adult cinemas or sold at licensed sex shops. It is illegal to
sell a film with this rating to anyone under the age of 18, and it is also illegal to supply a film
with this rating by mail order. Films under this category always contain hard-core
pornography, defined as material intended for sexual stimulation and containing clear
images of real sexual activity.
Changes of Ratings
• Some like A Clockwork Orange are works you will definitely have heard of.
Others like Freaks are lesser known but important films. And some are films
like Juno and Fight Club that you might have seen but had no idea they
caused a stir when submitted to the BBFC.
• There have been many films previously submitted which have changed the
BBFC rating as time has passed. For example, The Omen, which was
released in 1958, was controversial and was rated an X , until recent years,
when it was changed to a PG rating.
• In addition, there have been films which have different ratings in different
countries, such as American Beauty, which is classified as a 18 in U.K.;
however, just U in France.
Change of ratings with the MPAA
• As well, in U.S.A. there are different ratings (G, PG, PG-13,
R), therefore they have different ratings for films:
• Such as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is released as
a PG-13 in U.S.A. and a 12 in U.K. The reason it was
rated a PG-13 in U.S.A. because it had strong fantasy
themes and violence, which was too strong to be for a PG
rating in U.S.A.
• However, the film Easy A, was released as a PG-13 in
U.S.A., whereas released a 15 in U.K. This was most likely
to its provocative premise, since the film is about a teenage
girl around selling her self for money, however she doesn’t
have sex with them, but just pretends too to increase their