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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.


Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

Tags: james, dean, archive, nicholas, ray, rebel, teenage, violence

To coincide with the 60th anniversary of James Dean's death on Wednesday 30 September 2015, we take a look at the file for Rebel Without A Cause (1955), in which Dean plays teenager Jim Stark, in one of his most celebrated film roles.

Robocop (1987)


The BBFC first viewed the future of law enforcement in August 1987, and described it as "Iron Man meets The Six Million Dollar Man meets Judge Dredd."

Romancing The Stone


Romancing The Stone was the first of three films in the decade that teamed Douglas with Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. It was submitted to the BBFC for classification in April 1984 and the Examining team recognised the swashbuckling appeal the action/adventure would have for children. The film...

Romeo And Juliet (1968)

Tags: Shakespeare

This version of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet was directed by Franco Zeffirelli in 1968.