British Board of Film Classification

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Here are our popular website articles written by BBFC staff. Like the Case Studies they delve in to key issues, films, initiatives, historical moments and offer insight into how the BBFC has responded to different events and changes in the film and media landscape.

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Stepping back in time - Celebrating 100 years of the BBFC

02/01/2012

This year BBFC is 100 years old. To mark the centenary we are bringing back several of our historical black cards.The theatrical black cards are the cards that filmgoers have always seen on the cinema screen before the film starts. They include the classification symbol, the film title and the...

A Blast From the Past - The Problems of Censorship in 1935

15/06/2011

In 1935, Edward Shortt, President of the British Board of Film Censors (as the BBFC was known until its name was changed in 1984) delivered a paper called 'Problems of Censorship' at the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association (CEA).  The CEA is a body that represents the large majority of UK...

Same Difference? - A Comparison of the British and American film and DVD Rating Systems

04/03/2011

The American film industry is a dominant presence in the cultural life of UK citizens. By the time many British movie fans become adults, they are likely to have seen far more films from the United States than from any other country, including the United Kingdom. But do we watch these movies at...

What Are You Complaining About Now?

07/05/2010

Not everyone is happy or agrees with the classification decisions the BBFC makes. In 2009, the BBFC received over 400 complaints about the ratings it had given to films, DVDs and some computer games. Some people thought the category given was too low. Some people thought the category was too high...

Should the BBFC butt out?

06/08/2009

Liverpool County Council is currently exploring a new proposal – to override BBFC classifications in regard to films that contain smoking and pass all such works 18Pressure group SmokeFree Liverpool are calling for an adult rating to be placed on all films featuring smoking as they believe...

PEGI given the power to classify video games

20/06/2009

Creative Industries Minister Siôn Simon has announced that PEGI (Pan European Game information) will be given the power to classify video games in the United Kingdom.The decision requires new legislation to be passed through parliament, but when this is done the PEGI system for classifying video...

Getting your views across

04/06/2009

The BBFC’s Guidelines outline the criteria used to rate films and DVDs in the UK. They are updated every four years and take into account changing views about issues in films such as violence, sex, language and drugs. They also bear in mind the law, expert opinion and research into media...

What do your parents think of video games?

16/03/2009

The research showed around three quarters of British parents are concerned about the content of video games and the same number want independent regulation of their content.  The vast majority also believe that video games affect some children’s behaviour. 

Child's Play? How does the BBFC classify children's video games...

26/09/2008

Over the last few years the BBFC has been responsible for classifying an increasing number of video games containing high-end issues such as violence and horror which have tended to be classified at 15 and 18.

Good advice...

13/08/2008

This CA is an increasingly important aspect of the classification system and is discussed by film, video and game examiners in the same way that category decisions are discussed. Occasionally examiners may even ‘split’ over CA and recommend that the work is viewed by others to ensure the CA is...

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