1909 The Cinematograph Act is introduced, giving local authorities the power to provide or withhold licences for cinemas in their region. Chief Constables show concern that growth in juvenile crime is due to the increase of ‘crime films.’
1912 The British Board of Film Censors is created by a growing film industry, to ensure equality for film classification decisions.
1914 The BBFC adds ‘outrages of women’ to their list of concerns.
1916 The Director of the BBFC lists 43 grounds for deletion. Including ‘unnecessary exhibition of under clothing’ and ‘excessively passionate love scenes’ (for restrictions on sexual scenes), ‘the effects of vitriol (anger) throwing,’ ‘executions’ and ‘the modus operandi (mode of operation) of criminals.’ BBFC adds the drug habit to their grounds for deletion, e.g. opium, morphia, cocaine etc...
1925 The BBFC adds ‘girls’ clothes pulled off, leaving them exposed wearing scanty undergarments,’ ‘drugging and ruining of young girls’ and ‘criminal assault on girls’ to its list of exceptions. Films banned: Battleship Potemkin Banned due to "inflammatory subtitles and Bolshevist Propaganda". Unbanned after the death of Josef Stalin . (1925 – 1954)
1927 ‘ Flesh and the Devil’ is cut for ‘A’ to take out many of Greta Garbo’s passionate embraces.
1932 The ‘H’ certificate is introduced by the BBFC – An advisory certificate which tells the public that a film contains themes of horror, and is not suitable for children. Films banned: Freaks Rejected by British censors and banned. It was again rejected for a cinema rating certificate in 1952. Available from 1963 - passed with an X rating. (1932–1963)
1936 A sequence in Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’ shows him sniffing ‘nose powder’ and becoming comically affected by it. The film is passed ‘U’ without cuts.
1938 In no uncertain terms, ‘Reefer Madness’ propagandises against young people trying marijuana.
1942 In spite of earlier enforced script changes by the Board, ‘No Orchids for Miss Blandish’ is cut by 11 minutes to limit it sexual violence. It was later banned by local authorities and the BBFC’s secretary was forced to publicly apologise for passing it at all.
1945 ‘ Brief Encounter’ is passed ‘A’ for its theme of adultery.
1947 ‘ Brighton Rock’ is attacked by critics as ‘nasty and sensationalist’ but is a success at the box office.
1949 Robert Mitchum, screen legend, is jailed for possession of marijuana.
1952 The ‘X’ certificate is introduced. No children under the of 16 are allowed to watch an ‘X’ rated film. This is the first mandatory age restricted certificate. Films banned: The Wild One banned from distribution in the United Kingdom. (1954–1967)