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From the Archive

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.

 

Ghostbusters (1984)

Tags: bbfc, archive, ghostbusters

Ghostbusters was submitted to the BBFC in June 1984 and classified PG for its language, innuendo and potentially scary scenes. Examiners noted suggestive innuendo involving Ray and a ghost, as well as an Exorcist-type sequence when the film’s female lead, Dana, levitates and speaks in a deep voice...

GODZILLA 1985

Tags: bbfc, archive, godzilla

The BBFC first classified a Godzilla movie, Godzilla, King of the Monsters, in 1956. But the focus of this From the Archive piece is Godzilla 1985, 30 years later.

Grease (1978)

Tags: Grease, archive, romance, teenage, language

Grease (1978) came to the BBFC for classification in June 1978. A musical romance, set in the 1950s, and starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, the film follows the story of a pair of teenagers who fall in love despite their differences. Danny (Travolta) is the tough leader of a gang, who...

Gremlins

Tags:

Gremlins was submitted to the BBFC in June 1984, and the issues it raised for examiners were similar to those discussed during the classification of Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom only one month earlier (see the examiner reports for Temple of Doom here). The film's distributor - Columbia-EMI...