BBFC Talk Notes

This Film is Not Yet Rated (Documentary about foreign classification, especially on American film)

Everything that has a moving image can be age regulated.

Half of the distributors submit with an age rating request, this makes it “easier” for them to regulate as they know there target audience and can regualate upon these instructions.

Food Clip:

  • Dish called Sex on The Beach
  • Had suggestions towards sex with the dish including an edible condom, that featured juices. Handing a sexual reference.
  • Where would this clip be shown? This was part of a film doumentary.
  • What would the target audience be? Would a young child be viewing a food documentary anyway?
  • What rating would it get? – This is suitbale for a 12 to 15 rating as although it doesnt actually show a penis, it has strong sexuallised references. We did not expect to see this image in a food documentary, it wasnt expected when purchasing the film. The camera fully focused on the object, it wasnt just appearing in the shot out of focus.

About the BBFC:

  • Created in 1912 as The British Board of Film Censors
  • Independent of Government
  • Funded by fees of films when they require a classification.
  • Tarrifs – Student films are censored for less money along with carity films. Rather than big blockbuster films which are handed the full charge.
  • H is for Horrific – 1932
  • X is for Adult – Clip from Horror of Dracula (1958): Blood wasnt allowed to spill out of her chest and the screaming was considerably cut as well, just to achieve the highest rating. This shows the change in regualation to now.
  • Was handed a 15 on video in 1997
  • Was handed a 15 on DVD 2003
  • Jaws when it was re-released in cinema, was given a 12A rating as PG didnt seem to fit, they believed that with the full experience of cinema the film seemed considerably different and more dramatic.
  • Most films are downgraded in ratings, but some do increase with society changing their opinions/values on racism, animal cruelty etc.
  • When the X rating was removed there was either PG or 15 and 18 as the higher ratings, there was no in-between with the 12 and 12A. This meant either being harsh on a film or very liberal.

Why are The BBFC Still Relevant?

  • Films legally need a certificate, DVD’s and Blu-rays included.
  • Their online certificates are voluntary, to hand advice towards parents and children.
  • The BBFC have to cooperate with the Police on some occasions when films are not certificated. This can lead to jail sentences of around 6 months, depending on what the film contains, pornography etc.
  • BBFC Insight – To help guide parents on what they want there films to see, whether it controls violence or sex. Some parents may be more sensative towards cetain things.

Digital Services:

  • Streamed/Downloaded/VOD content: No legal obligation for classification (Except UK Music Videos) – But UK content law still applies.
  • 2008 – BBFC launced voluntary watch and rate digital licensing.
  • Over 30 VOD brands licensed to the use of BBFC information (eg: Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Video, Microsoft, Airline Content).
  • 85% of Parents agree on importance of consistent online and offline classification.

Examining Issues:

  • Story, Style, Treatment.
  • Audeince address, appeal and expectations.
  • Moral framework.
  • Artistic or educational merit.
  • Potential offensiveness.
  • Precedent.

Category vs Compulsory

Most are ‘Category Cuts’ where they look to achieve a specific rating.

Some are ‘Compulsory Cuts’ where scenes may need to be removed to achieve a certificate.

Local Councils can overturn certifictates if they want to, deciding whether their people are suitable for a certain film. Would it encourage crime for example in a certain council?


  • The Licensing Act
  • Video Recordings Act
  • The Obscene Publications Act
  • Human Rights Act
  • The Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act
  • Race Relations Act
  • Protection of Children Act



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s