BBFC Film Certification Research The British Board of Film Classification is an independent, non-governmental body which has classified cinema films since it was set up in 1912 and videos/ DVDs since the Video Recordings Act was passed in 1984. Cinema The British Board of Film Censors was set up in 1912 by the filmindustry as an independent company to structure the classification of film nationally.
Classification• Films for theatrical release are normally classified by at least two Examiners using the published Guidelines. Occasionally it is necessary to take specialist advice about the legal acceptability of film content or its potential for harm. DVDs are normally seen by one Examiner, particularly when they are viewing the DVD version of a cinema film which has already been classified. However, opinions from other Examiners may be required for more difficult works.• Examiners look at issues such as discrimination, drugs, horror, imitable behaviour, language, nudity, sex, sexual violence, theme and violence when making decisions. They also consider context, the tone and impact of a work (e.g. how it makes the audience feel) and even the release format (for example, as DVDs are watched in the home, there is a higher risk of underage viewing).
U: CertificationSuitable for allIt is impossible to predict what might upset any particular child. But a ‘U’ film shouldbe suitable for audiences aged four years and over. ‘U’ films should be set within apositive moral framework and should offer reassuring counterbalances to anyviolence, threat or horror.If a work is particularly suitable for a pre-school child to view alone, this will beindicated in the Consumer Advice.PG:Parental GuidanceGeneral viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children.Unaccompanied children of any age may watch. A ‘PG’ film should not disturb a childaged around eight or older. However, parents are advised to consider whether thecontent may upset younger or more sensitive children.The use of frightening elements which might scare or unsettle an audience is part of along tradition of story telling and film making. Many children enjoy the excitement ofscary sequences, but, where films are targeted at a younger audience, classificationdecisions will take into account such factors as the frequency, length and detail ofscary scenes as well as horror effects, including music and sound, and whether there isa swift and reassuring outcome.
12:Exactly the same criteria are used to classify works at ‘12A’ and ‘12’. These categories are awarded where thematerial is suitable, in general, only for those aged 12 and over. Works classified at these categories may upsetchildren under 12 or contain material which many parents will find unsuitable for them. The ‘12’ category existsonly for video works. No one younger than 12 may rent or buy a ‘12’ rated video work.12A:The ‘12A’ category exists only for cinema films. No one younger than 12 may see a ‘12A’ film in a cinema unlessaccompanied by an adult, and films classified ‘12A’ are not recommended for a child below 12. An adult may take ayounger child if, in their judgement, the film is suitable for that particular child. In suchcircumstances, responsibility for allowing a child under 12 to view lies with the accompanying adult.Reactions to low frequency noisesClassification decisions will take into account any detailed portrayal of criminal and violent techniques, and anyglamorisation of easily accessible weapons, such as knives. Works which portray anti-social behaviour (forexample, bullying) uncritically are likely to receive a more restrictive classification. Works which, taken as awhole, actively promote illegal behaviour will be cut or rejected. Portrayals of potentially dangerous behaviour(especially relating to hanging, suicide and self-harm) which children and young people are likely to copy, will becut if a more restrictive classification is not appropriate.No work taken as a whole may promote the misuse of drugs and any detailed portrayal of drug misuse likely topromote or glamorise the activity may be cut. Works which show drug misuse while emphasising the dangers mayreceive less restrictive classifications than works that present drug misuse in a neutral manner. Wheresmoking, alcohol abuse or substance misuse feature to a significant extent in works which appeal to children, thiswill normally be indicated in the Consumer Advice and/or Extended Classification Information.
15:Suitable only for 15 years or overNo-one younger than 15 may see a ‘15’ film in a cinema. No-one younger than 15 may rent or buy a ‘15’ ratedvideo work.For these reasons, it is impossible to set out comprehensive lists of words, expressions or gestures which areacceptable at each category. The advice at different classification levels, therefore, provides general guidancetaking account of the views expressed in public consultation exercises.18:Suitable only for adultsNo-one younger than 18 may see an ‘18’ film in a cinema. No-one younger than 18 may rent or buy an ‘18’ ratedvideo work.Older audiences often pay to see horror films because they like being frightened or shocked and such works areclassified at an appropriate category to ensure that the young and vulnerable are protected from too intense anexperience.R18:To be shown only in specially licensed cinemas, or supplied only in licensed sex shops, and to adults of not lessthan 18 years.The ‘R18’ category is a special and legally restricted classification primarily for explicit works of consenting sex orstrong fetish material involving adults. Films may only be shown to adults in specially licensed cinemas. Naturalnudity with no sexual context is acceptable at all classification levels, but will not occur more than occasionally inthe lowest category. Nudity with a sexual context will receive a more restrictive classification and strong detail insuch a context will only be passed in the adult categories.
Film FilmExamples in films Se7en certificate 18Se7en is an 18 due to it’s graphic violence, portrayed in Shutter 15both physical and sexual ways. It consists of a repeated Islanduse of very strong language and has a very explicithorrific nature, with long periods of violence, and many Memento 15physical altercations between characters. Black Swan 15 Panic Room 15 Psycho 15 The Prestige 12AShutter Island is a 15 due to it’s disturbing nature, and is a very puzzling and a complex filmwhich clearly falls under the psychological thriller. It borrows themes from the neo-noir andhorror genres, which is very similar to Alfred Hitchcock’s works. This immediately makes it fallunder the age 15 certificate.
The Prestige is classified as a 12A as it has disturbing images andthemes of violence throughout.Memento is a 15 as it displays violence and psychological tensionfrom the onset of the film. Images of gore and blood throughoutthe film.
Black Swan is a 15 as it has a lot of realistic imagery and hits too ‘close to home’ feel toit which would not be portrayed rightly or taken lightly by younger viewers.Panic Room is certified a 15 as it has scenes of violence, and has many elements fromthe horror and action genre, which may influence a younger audience wrongly.Psycho is classified a 15 as it has veryObvious visual scenes with violence including penetrating flesh with a knife anumerous amount of times. Also some sexual scenes at the beginning of the film.
ConclusionIn conclusion, our film will be rated 15 due to it’s content, what it consists ofand to the amount of thrillers that tend to be 15’s. This means that audiencesthat tend to watch thrillers or have an interest in watching thrillers would bethe ages of 15 or over. Also making our film a 15 would ensure that we do notrestrict a potential number of viewers in our audience, as it is the optimumage for a different range of teenagers to go and see our film, meaning that wedo not lose out on our target audience. Making our film a 15 would widen ouraudience and get more awareness of our film. Our target audience would beteenagers, as they tend to go to the cinema the most out of all other agegroups. Also making it a 15 means that our film is less extreme to watch,making sure we do not scare away a particular audience. It also makes ourfilm less graphical in the sense of violence, which would adhere more totypical conventions of a psychological thriller.