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Case studies

Welcome to the BBFC Case Studies. They are all written by BBFC staff and explore how and why works were rated, cut or even banned.

Please note that all our Case Studies and From The Archive files are subject to copyright and may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,) without prior written permission of the BBFC. You should email us if you wish to reproduce any of these materials.

The film Case Studies tell you why we did what we did and offer background information that you won’t find anywhere else. Find out why some films and BBFC decisions were discussed in the news media, what works were complained about, and which ratings were praised. You can also browse our From The Archive studies which showcase fascinating historical artefacts from our archives and listen to our popular Podcasts. 

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. We provide Case Studies for all films we introduce as part of our longstanding relationship with Film Education’s National Schools Film Week.  Though we no longer rate video games there are some video games case studies which should offer an historical view of how we treated some well-known video games.

We regularly update the Case Studies, and add new titles several times a year. We welcome suggestions for new Case Studies, but, as each one takes a while to research and write, we prioritise requests. You can email us to suggest a Case Study.

If you are researching a specific title and would like access to the BBFC's paper file archive this may be possible depending on the age of the work. You can request access to our archive in Education resources.

 

Maitresse

Genre: Drama

Barbet Schroeder's 1975 film stars Gerard Depardieu as a petty thief who breaks into the flat of a dominatrix, during a burglary. He then embarks on a relationship with the woman, played by Bulle Ogier, also assisting her in some of the sadomasochistic services she performs for her clients.

Manhunt

Genre: Action, Adventure

Rockstar’s Manhunt was released on the Playstation 2 console format in November 2003. It was later passed for both Xbox and PC in 2004. It has been the focus of much controversial reporting in the National Press and other media since it was discussed and linked to a British murder case in 2004.The...

Manhunt 2

Genre: Action, Adventure

Rockstar’s Manhunt 2 was submitted to the BBFC on both the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii console formats in 2007.  This game has an interesting and complex classification history, as it was originally rejected by the BBFC and went through several levels of appeal hearings before it was finally...

Me And Earl And The Dying Girl

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Me And Earl And The Dying Girl is a US comedy drama based on a bestselling book of the same name. The film revolves around seventeen-year-old high school student Greg, who has managed to become part of every social group without ever making any real friends beyond Earl, a 'co-worker' with whom he...

Mean Creek

Genre: Drama

Originally submitted to the BBFC in November 2004, it was duly noted by examiners assigned to view and classify the work that its distributors had requested a 15 certificate for the film. This came as no surprise given the content of the film: it focuses on the events of one summer’s afternoon...

Mischief Night

Genre: Drama

Mischief Night is a low budget British comedy from the producers of Channel 4’s cult television programme Shameless. It concerns the life of Tina, a working class mother who lives in the North of England. She has several children by different fathers, including Tyler (set to be a drug dealer like...

Monty Python's Life Of Brian

Genre: Comedy

The film tells the story of Brian Cohen, a fictional character who was supposedly born in the stable adjacent to Jesus. As Brian grows up, he becomes involved in an anti-Roman resistance group and is falsely mistaken for the Messiah.

Morvern Callar

Genre: Drama

Director Lynne Ramsay’s second major feature film after the critically acclaimed 1999 drama, Ratcatcher, was Morvern Callar. When she finds her boyfriend has committed suicide on their kitchen floor, the emotionally unstable Morvern decides not to tell anyone. Instead she disposes of his body,...

Mrs Doubtfire

Genre: Comedy

Euphegenia Doubtfire joins a long list of comic female characters played by men for narrative purposes.

My Brother The Devil

Genre: Crime, Drama

My Brother The Devil is a 2012 British social realist drama by writer/director Sally El Hosaini. In Hackney, London, Brothers Rashid and Mo, of Egyptian origin, try to resolve the contradictions of their lives as they move between their traditional family circle and the local drug-dealing gangs.