The BBFC – new age guide ratings


13 September 2019

The BBFC – new age guide ratings

The BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) are the organisation who provide the legally binding film certificate ratings (also for TV, games & videos) Below is an introduction to the reasoning behind the guidelines. 

The BBFC publishes detailed information about the content we classify, which we call ratings info. It’s a helpful guide, particularly for parents, that gives a summary of how and why a film or video was given its age rating. Ratings info provides a short description of the issues contained in a film, on video or DVD, and this appears on the black card shown on the cinema screen before a film starts. You’ll also see it on film posters, listings and DVD packaging, and on some video on demand (VoD) services, such as Netflix. 

All content classified since the early 2000s has a short line of ratings info, and content classified more recently also has a longer version, giving you a detailed idea of what issues – bad language, drugs, sex and violence, or the use of discriminatory language or behaviour, for instance – that you’re likely to find in the film. It also raises any other issues that may be of concern, such as divorce or bereavement. We try to avoid giving away major plot points. When ratings info does contain plot spoilers, we always post a warning.

The BBFC have recently updated their logos, which you can see above.
Please find below information for the each of the different certificates. More details are available on their website for every film that has been certificated. The info below is just an overall guideline, and we strongly advise you check the website for advice on each specific film. 
For teachers, parents and children please also see: 

BBFC Classification Guidelines

U Universal – Suitable for all
A U film should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over, although it is impossible to predict what might upset any particular child. U films should be set within a positive framework and should offer reassuring counterbalances to any violence, threat or horror. If a work is particularly suitable for pre-school children, this will be indicated in the ratings info.

PG – Parental Guidance
General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children. A PG film should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older. Unaccompanied children of any age may watch, but parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset younger, or more sensitive, children.

12A/12 – Suitable for 12 years and over
Films classified 12A (and video works classified 12) contain material that is not generally suitable for children aged under 12. No one younger than 12 may see a 12A film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult. Adults planning to take a child under 12 to view a 12A film should consider whether the film is suitable for that child. To help them decide, we recommend that they check the Ratings info for that film in advance.

15 – Suitable only for 15 years and over
No one younger than 15 may see a 15 film in a cinema. 

18 – Suitable only for adults
No one younger than 18 may see an 18 film in a cinema. Adults should be free to choose their own entertainment.

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