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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.


Mad Max (1979)

Tags: archive, action, drama

Mad Max is set in Australia in the near future, and follows a cop who embarks on a mission of vengeance against a lawless biker gang and its sadistic leader. The film arrived at the BBFC for classification in June 1979. One Examiner described it as a "very tough film", yet for the most part...

Midnight Run (1988)

Tags: case study, archive

When the BBFC first examined the film, in July 1988, the examiners considered the comedy, violence and tone of the film to be suitable at 15. However, they did pause over the frequency of strong language, totalling around 120 uses of 'f**k'. One examiner's report describes how, although the strong...

Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975)

Tags: comedy

The script for Monty Python and The Holy Grail was sent to the BBFC for advice in 1974.