BBFC Research


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Research into the rating by the BBFC.

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BBFC Research

  2. 2. The ReasonThe BBFC or British Board for Film Censors is an independent, not-for-profit , self-financing media regulator set up to protect the public, especially children, from and media content that might raise harm risks. They also try to empower the public, especially parents, to make informed viewing choices.When deciding on the certificate, they focus on the overarching factors, primarily content (such as sex, language or violence and the way in which they are presented), but also things such as the tone and impact, examples of discrimination, drugs, horror, imitable behaviour, sex/nudity, language, violence ect. Depending on the levels of these, and the likelihood of it reaching children add to the reasons for the certificate given.
  3. 3. Universal (U)This rating means that the content is suitable for all ages, namely those of four years and over. The content is likely to be set within a positive moral framework, with reassuring counterbalances to any violence, threat or horror. There would be no discriminatory language or behaviour unless it is clearly disapproved of. No references to illegal drugs or misuse unless for educational purposes or to give a clear anti-drug message suitable for children. Scary horror sequences should be mild, brief and unlikely to cause anxiety to young children, the outcome which should be reassuring. There would be no potentially dangerous behaviour which children are likely to copy, and no emphasis on realistic, easily accessible weapons. Any bad language should be infrequent and very mild. Any nudity would be natural and non-sexualised, and any sexual behaviour would be mild i.e. kissing, with only references such as ‘making love’. The themes may be problematic, but their treatment must be suitable for young children, and any violence must be mild i.e. an occasional mild threat or menace.
  4. 4. Parental Guidance (PG)PG films can be watched unaccompanied by children of any age, however they should not be likely to disturb a child of eight or over. Discriminatory language or behaviour isn’t acceptable unless clearly disapproved of or in a historical or educational purpose. Any reference to illegal drugs or misuse would be innocuous or carry an anti-drug message. Frightening sequences would be non-intense and not sustained, sometimes with a fantasy element. There would be no potentially dangerous behaviour which young children are likely o copy, and no glamorisation of realistic, easily accessible weapons. Any uses of bad language would be mild. Any nudity would be natural, with no sexual content and sexual activity may be implied, i.e. mild sex references and innuendo, but these must be discreet and infrequent. If more serious issues are involved, i.e. domestic violence, nothing about it should be condoned . Can include mild violence (without detail) but this must be justified.
  5. 5. 12A/1212A and 12 are categorised through the same criteria, and are suitable for children age 12 or over. 12A exists only in the cinema, and cannot be watched by children under 12 unless they are accompanied my an adult. Any discriminatory language or behaviour must not be endorsed. Anything aggressive is unlikely to be accepted. Any misuse of drugs would not be glamorised and must be infrequent. There may be moderate physical or psychological threat so long as it is not sustained or frequent. Dangerous behaviour such as hanging, suicide or self-harm would not dwell on details that could be copied, and must not seem painless or harm free. There would be no glamorisation of easily accessible weapons. There may be moderate language, however any use of stronger language must be infrequent. Nudity is allowed, but must be brief and discreet if in a sexual context, and any sexual activity must be displayed only briefly and discreetly. Sex references wouldn’t go beyond what is acceptable for a young teenager, i.e. nothing frequently crude. Mature themes are acceptable, but with suitable treatment. There may be moderate violence if it does not dwell on detail. There may be gory moments if justified, but there would be no emphasis on injury or blood. There may be implied sexual content if justified.
  6. 6. 15No one younger than 15 can watch a 15 rated film. As a whole, the film cannot endorse discriminatory language or behaviour. The film must not promote or encourage the misuse of drugs, or of highly accessible, dangerous substances. There may be strong threat and menace, unless sadistic or sexualised. Dangerous behaviour such as hanging, suicide or self-harm would not dwell on details that could be copied, and there would be no glamorisation of easily accessible weapons. Strong language may be used frequently, and the strongest terms may be used if not aggressive or frequent, and if justified by the content. There may be nudity in a sexual content without strong detail. Strong verbal references to sexual behaviour may be made, however the strongest are only acceptable if made in justifiable context. There is no prohibited theme if it is suitable for a 15 year old. There may be strong violence, but would not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. Stronger gory images and strong sadistic or sexualised violence (unless verbal and discreet within justified context) would not be permitted.
  7. 7. 1818 is the strongest rating, and no one younger than 18 can watch, rent or buy 18 rated films. There may be strong drug use, language, strong scenes of horror and strong scenes of a sexual nature, all seen as acceptable. The above are deemed unacceptable only when encouraging and endorsing violent or dangerous behaviour. Anything deemed as a breach of law won’t be permitted. R18 is an extra rating used for sexual imagery such as explicit sexual scenes, including fetishes and uses of violence including non-consensual scenes, and scenes using restraint. There may be other strong scenes including strong sexual imagery or footage. This mostly applies to films used to sexually stimulate an adult audience.
  8. 8. What happens nextThe film to be released will be given a rating by the BBFC before being released, usually to either to cinema or DVD. Only people of the age limit stated are permitted to purchase or watch the film, often requiring a form of identification for higher ratings.The ratings apply to all forms of media, not just film or DVD. Videogames are also classified by the BBFC, although the way in which they are rated differs.The BBFC have the power to cut films.
  9. 9. Some StatisticsThere is no correlation or pattern to what films are allowed to be released and which are cut. In 2002, 20 out of 585 films were cut. In 1983 127 out of 518 films were cut. More recently, in 2011 7 out of a possible 710 films were cut.