Film Classifications... Information from www.bbfc.co.uk
Universal … Discriminatory behaviour and/ or language should not be used unless clearly disapproved of, There should be no reference to illegal drugs or drugs misuse, unless they are infrequent and innocuous, or there is a clear educational purpose, or anti-drugs message that is suitable for young children. Any horror used should be mild and unlikely to cause any anxiety to young children… the outcome should be reassuring. There should be no potentially dangerous behaviour that children may copy, similarly no weapons that are easily accessible and realistic should be used. Any bad language used should be very mild and of infrequent use. Occasional natural nudity in a non-sexual context is acceptable. Kissing and mild sexual behaviour is acceptable as is mild references; ‘love making’ If a theme is problematic, it must be sensitive and appropriate for young children. Mild threat or menace and mild violence only should be allowed.
Parental Guidance … As with the Universal classification, any discrimination is unlikely to be acceptable unless it is clearly disapproved, discrimination by a character with which children can readily identify as unlikely to be acceptable may also be allowed. Any reference to illegal drugs or drug misuse should be avoided unless there is a suitable anti-drug message. Weapons must not be glamorised, any potentially dangerous behaviour in which children are likely to copy may not be used. Mild bad language may be used Nudity must be natural, with no sexual context. Sexual activity may be implied and should be discreet and infrequent. Mild sex references and innuendo only. Where more serious should condone unacceptable behaviour. Moderate violence, with out any detail may be allowed, only when it is justified by its context; history, comedy, issues are raised such as; domestic violence, nothing in their treatment fantasy.
12A/12 … Discriminatory language or behaviour must not be endorsed by the work as a whole. Aggressive discriminatory language or behaviour is unlikely to be acceptable unless clearly condemned. Any misuse of drugs must be infrequent and should not be glamorised or give any instructional data. Moderate physical and psychological threat may be permitted, provided disturbing sequences are not frequent or sustained. Dangerous behaviour; hanging, suicide and self harming, should not dwell on detail which could be copied, or appear pain or harm free. Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised. Moderate language is allowed, however the use of strong language i.e. ‘fuck’ should be infrequent. Nudity is allowed, if it is in a sexual context it must be brief and discreet. Sexual activity may be briefly and discreetly portrayed. Sex references should not go beyond what is suitable for young teenagers. Frequent crude references are unlikely to be accepted. Mature themes are acceptable, however, their treatment must be suitable for young teenagers. Violence is allowed, but should not dwell on detail, there should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context. Sexual violence may only be implied or briefly and discreetly indicated, and must have strong contextual justification.
15 … The work as a whole must not endorse discriminatory language or behaviour. Drug taking may be shown but the film as a whole must not promote or encourage drug misuse. The misuse of easily accessible and highly dangerous substances such as solvents and aerosols is unlikely to be deemed acceptable. Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised. Dangerous behaviour such as hanging, suicide and self harming should not dwell on detail which could be copied. Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised. There may be frequent use of strong language such as ‘fuck’, however the strongest terms like ‘cunt’ may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable. Nudity may be allowed in a sexual context but without any strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by the context. Works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation is unlikely to be acceptable. No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is suitable for a 15 year old. Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be accepted. There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification.
<ul><li>18 - Suitable for adults only… </li></ul><ul><li>In line with the consistent findings of the BBFC’s public consultations and the Human Rights Act 1998, at ’18’ the BBFC’s guideline concerns will not normally override the principles that adults should be free to choose their own entertainment. Exceptions are most likely in the following areas… </li></ul><ul><li>Where the material is in breach of the criminal law, or has been created through the commission of a criminal offence. </li></ul><ul><li>Where material or treatment appears to the BBFC to risk harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society- for example, any detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal drug use, which may cause harm to public health or morals. This may include portrayals of sexual or sexualised violence which might, for example, eroticise or endorse sexual assault. </li></ul><ul><li>Where there are more explicit images of sexual activity which can not be justified by context. Such images may be appropriate in ‘R18’ works, and in ‘sex works’ would normally be confined in this category. </li></ul><ul><li>Where sex material genuinely seeks to inform and educate the matters such as human sexuality, safer sex and health, explicit images of sexual activity may be permitted. </li></ul><ul><li>Sex works are works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation. Sex works containing only material which may be stimulated are generally passed ’18’. Sex works containing clear images of real sex, strong fetish material, sexually explicit animated images, or other very strong sexual images will be confined to the ‘R18’ category. Material which is unacceptable in a sex works at ‘R18’ is also unacceptable in a sex works ’18’. </li></ul>
<ul><li>R18 is a special and legally restricted classification, primarily for explicit works of a sexual nature. </li></ul><ul><li>The following is not acceptable, regardless of sexual orientation: </li></ul><ul><li>Any material which is in breach of the criminal law, including material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of Obscene Publications Act 1959. </li></ul><ul><li>Material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity (for example, paedophilia, incest or rape) which may include adults role playing as non-adults. </li></ul><ul><li>The portrayal of any sexual activity which involves lack of consent (whether real or stimulated). Any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent. </li></ul><ul><li>The infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowances may be made for moderate, non-abusive, consensual activity. </li></ul><ul><li>Penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm. </li></ul><ul><li>Any sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which does not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game. Strong physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable. </li></ul>
1900 1909 - The Cinematograph Act gives local authorities the power to provide or withhold licences for cinemas in their region. Chief Constables expressed concern that growth in juvenile crime is due to explosion of ‘crime films’ 1912 - The British Board of Film Censors is created by a burgeoning film industry as a means of ensuring uniformity for film classification decisions. 1916 - The BBFC’s grounds for deletion extended to include “…the drug habit, e.g. Opium, morphia, cocaine etc and ‘unnecessary exhibition of under-clothing’ and ‘excessively passionate love scenes.’ and also ‘The effects of Vitriol throwing, executions and the modus operandi of criminals.’ 1925 - The BBFC’s list of expectations is revised to include girls clothes being pulled off and leaving them in scantly undergarments, drugging and ruining of young girls and criminal assault on girls. 1932 - the ‘ H ’ film classification was put into place. ‘ H ’ told viewers it was a Horror and not suitable for children. 1939 - A film showed a star becoming comically affected by inadvertently sniffing ‘nose powder,’ this film was passed with no cuts as a ‘ U ’ classification! 1952 - As a result of changes to the Cinematography Act, the ‘ X ’ certificate was introduced. No children under the age of 16 where allowed to see an ‘ X ’ rated film. This was the first mandatory age-restricted certificate.
1958 - Carry on Sergeant was classified as a ‘ U ’, it was the first of the popular British sex comedy franchise. 1961 - Victim was classified as an ‘ X ’ after minor cuts, it was the first British film to openly deal with homosexuality. 1967 - LSD and Marijuana where the drugs of choice among the rock counterculture, Roger Cormans film The Trip was rejected by the board as it dealt with LSD use. 1970 - the age limit on the ‘ X ’ was raised to 18. The advisory ‘ U ’ and ‘ A ’ where introduced along with the ‘ AA ’ certificate that allows admission to those aged 14 and over. 1955 - The BBFC required cuts to Rebel Without a Cause to remove a knife fight. 1973 - A Clockwork Orange is removed from UK distribution by Stanley Kubrick following controversy about its violence and death threats against his family. 1975 - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was rejected by the BBFC as ‘the pornography of terror’, the film was later passed uncut in 1999 as an ‘ 18 ’. 1976 - The BBFC refused certificates to the films Maitresse and Salo as both heavily featured the theme of sadomasochism. 1977 - The Obscene Publications Act was extended to film. 1979 - The BBFC recalled Emmanuelle from distribution to remove a rape scene which sexual assault is presented as good for the victim. 1982 - The BBFC certificates where overhauled with the introduction of the ‘ PG ’, ‘ 15 ’, ‘ 18 ’ ‘ R18 ’ categories. The first film passed ‘ PG ’ was ‘ The Return of the Soldier .' also in1982- The special ‘ R18 ’ classification was put in place and allowed more explicit sex films to be shown in members only cinema clubs.
1984 - The Video Recordings Act (VRA) was passed, following the arrival of video in the UK. The BBFC became the designated authority for classifying videos ‘for suitability within the home.’ The BBFC also became the British Board of Film Classification. 1989 - Tim Burton’s Batman became the first ‘ 12 ’ certificate in the UK, this category is only available for theatrical releases. 1991 - The Lovers Guide was passed an ‘ 18 ’ with no cuts, it contained images of real sex. 1999 - The ban on martial arts weaponry is lifted, however, a list of written guidelines was published. 2001 - Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was cut for the glamorisation of knives in a film aimed at young teens. 2002 - Following an extended period of consultation, the ‘ 12 ’ certificate was replaced with the advisory ‘ 12A ’. The Bourne Identity was the first film to be classified ‘ 12A ’. 2004 - British film Nine Songs was passed as an ‘ 18 ’ for cinema and contained extended scenes, of real sex. 2009
<ul><li>The classification of a film is very important. If a professional film maker targeted their film as a ‘ U ’ or ‘ PG ’ classification, but was then classified by the BBFC as a 12A the success rate of the film may be hugely disadvantaged. </li></ul><ul><li>Having Looked at the specifications of each classification, I believe that our film would be classified as an 18 for a number of reasons including the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Paranormal and spiritualistic content of our film </li></ul><ul><li>The gory imagery </li></ul><ul><li>The sense of realism </li></ul><ul><li>As we are targeting our film to the ’ 18 ’ classification we will not have to worry about the many limitations and constraints placed on films classified suitable for under 18’s. Of course, we need to take into consideration the guidelines of an ’ 18 ’ classification, however, I don’t feel that any of the guidelines will effect our film. </li></ul>Classification of Our Film...