BBFC ResearchA quick inside look into whatjustifies a rating from the Media.
The Reason For Ratings• The BBFC (British Board of Film Censors) was put together as an independent, non-governmental agency, to protect the general public from seeing something they don’t wish to see.• Effectively, the ratings are given when a film contains a certain level of violence, sexual references, drug or alcohol use and strong language.• These ratings each match the amount of each used, with U (Universal) being the lowest, and 18 being the highest.• They are there to protect children or people with a more sensitive nature from seeing this type of behaviour in films.
Universal (U)• Universal – Suitable for all.• For a film to be classed as a U, it must meet the following criteria;• No discriminatory language• No drug or alcohol abuse or use, unless a very clear message of anti- drugs is present for the children• No scary scenes that would disturb a young child, although comic horror or mild, infrequent horror can sometimes be acceptable• A lack of obvious sexual reference, with only natural nudity and only very mild sexual activity (eg. Kissing).• No real violence unless comic or very mild with a reassuring and un- imitatable nature.
Parental Guidance (PG)• Parental Guidance – To be watched with a parental figure if below 8.• For a film to be PG, it must adhere to the following;• A lack of discriminatory language unless with a strong educational purpose• A lack of drug use unless with a very suitable anti-drugs message• A lack of intense horror, though scenes are possible• No bad language unless mild• A lack of sexual reference unless used in an innuendo (though these must be infrequent), with only natural nudity• Only moderate violence that can be justified by it’s context (eg. Comedy, fantasy, historical etc.)
12• A 12-rated film is to be watched by only age 12 and up, and must follow these rules;• Any and all drug use must be highly infrequent without glamorisation or instructional use• Horror of a psychological or physical nature must be infrequent and unsustained• Moderate bad language is allowed, but stronger language must be infrequent• Sexual activity should only be displayed briefly, and not with crude references littering the film. Also, natural and sexual nudity is allowed, as long as sexual nudity is controlled• Moderate violence is acceptable as long as the blood and gore are not too heavily focused on, unless fitting with the context.
15• Is suitable for anyone aged 15 and over.• Drug taking may be shown as long as not endorsed, but with highly accessible substances (eg. Aerosols) it should not encourage or instruct viewers• Strong threat, unless sexualised or sadistic, and menace is allowed, but dangerous behaviour (eg. Self harm) should not be endorsed or instructional. Also, realistic weapons should not be glamorised• Frequent strong language such as “fuck” may be used, though stronger language would be more infrequent• Sexual activity and nudity is acceptable, with strong emphasis, but the strongest terms may be deemed unacceptable.• Strong violence without dwelling on gore or injury is permitted
18• 18 is the highest rating, acceptable for anyone aged 18 or above.• An 18 film may contain strong drug use, strong language, strong horror or scenes of a strong sexual nature• It is all seen as contextual, and will be deemed unacceptable when encouraging or endorsing violent or dangerous behaviour• Anything in which is considered breaching a law to release on film is not permitted• R18 is seen as an extra rating, confined for sexual imagery such as explicit sex, fetish scenes, or other strong sexual images and footage. This applies mostly to sexual films designed to stimulate an audience
What Happens• Each film released is given a rating by the BBFC, and then released either to a cinema, or on DVD.• The store or cinema then permits only this age limit to see the film, requiring a form of ID to purchase the DVD or film ticket, much like with alcohol.• These ratings do not just apply to films and DVDs, but also to video games that are sold in stores, though the criteria are slightly different.
Statistics• In 2011, only 7 films of a total of 710 were cut completely from viewing• In 2000, 12 of 525 were cut• There is no real pattern as to the number of films cut each year, as it depends on the content of the individual film