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British Board of Film Classification
Formation 1912
Type NGO
Purpose/focus Film and video game classification
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Region served United Kingdom
President Sir Quentin Thomas
Director David Cooke
Website www.bbfc.co.uk

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), originally British Board of Film Censors, is a non-governmental organisation, funded by the film industry and responsible for the national classification of films within the United Kingdom.[1] It has a statutory requirement to classify videos, DVDs and some video games under the Video Recordings Act 2010.[2]

Contents

Responsibility and power

The BBFC rates theatrically-released films, and rated videos and video games that forfeited exemption from the Video Recordings Act 1984, which was discovered in August 2009 to be unenforceable.[3] Legally, local authorities have the power to decide under what circumstances films are shown in cinemas, but they nearly always choose to follow the advice of the BBFC.

The Video Recordings Act ordered that video releases not exempt (music, documentary, non-fiction, video-games, etc.) under the Act had to be classified, making it illegal to supply any recording that had not been certified. Certificates could restrict release to any age of 18 or under, or to only licensed sex-shops. The government currently designate the BBFC as the authority for certifying video releases. As the Act required the certificate to be displayed on the packaging and media labels of the video recording, in practice only UK releases could be legally sold or hired in the UK, even if a foreign release had identical content. The system will continue on a voluntary basis until an enforceable act is passed.[3]

Video games with specific themes or content (such as the Grand Theft Auto series) must also be submitted to the BBFC to receive a legally-binding rating (contrast with the advisory PEGI ratings) in the same way as videos. Other video games may be submitted at the publisher's discretion.

All videos and games rated by the BBFC receive a certificate, along with "consumer advice" detailing references to sex, violence and coarse language. If a certificate specifies that a film or video game is only suitable for someone over a certain age, then only those over that age may buy it.

The BBFC can also advise cuts for a less-restrictive rating. This generally occurs in borderline cases where distributors have requested a certificate and the BBFC has rated the work at a more-restrictive level; however, some cuts are compulsory, such as scenes that violate the Protection of Children Act or Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act. The final certificate then depends on the distributor's decision on whether or not to make the suggested cuts. Some works are even rejected if the distributor refuses the cut.

Both examiners and the directors of the BBFC are hired on a permanent basis. Examiners are required to watch 5 hours 20 mins of media, to a maximum of 35 hours a week. Turnover is low and vacancies, when available, appear on their London job vacancies website.[4]

Current certificates

The BBFC currently issues the following certificates. The category logos were introduced in December 2002, replacing the previous ones that had been in place since 1985.

Certificate Name Definition
U Universal All ages admitted, there is nothing unsuitable for children.
PG Parental Guidance General viewing, but certain scenes may be unsuitable for children under 8.
12A 12A May be unsuitable for under 12s. Those aged under 12 are only admitted if accompanied by an adult at all times during the performance (cinema only).
12 12 Suitable only for those aged 12 and over.

No-one younger than 12 can rent or buy a 12 rated VHS, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, UMD or game.

15 15 Suitable only for those aged 15 and over.

Nobody younger than 15 can see a 15 film in a cinema. No-one younger than 15 can rent or buy a 15 rated VHS, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, UMD or game.

18 18 Suitable only for adults.

Nobody younger than 18 may see an 18 film in a cinema.
No-one younger than 18 can rent or buy an 18 rated VHS, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, UMD or game.

R18 Restricted 18 For adults only.
May only be shown at licensed cinemas or sold at sex shops, and only to people aged 18 or over.

Material that is exempt from classification sometimes uses symbols similar to BBFC certificates, for example an E "certificate". There is no legal obligation, nor a particular scheme, for labelling material that is exempt from classification.[5] On the BBFC's online classification database, material that has been refused a classification uses a red shield R in place of a rating symbol.

History and overview

British Board of Film Censors certificate

The BBFC was established in 1912 as the British Board of Film Censors by the film industry (who would rather manage their own censorship than have national or local government do it for them). The legal basis on which it operated was the Cinematograph Act 1909, which required cinemas to be licensed by local authorities. The Act was introduced following safety concerns following a number of nitrate film fires in unsuitable venues (fairgrounds and shops which had been hastily converted into cinemas), but the following year a court ruling (LCC v. Bermondsey Bioscope Co.) determined that the criteria for granting or refusing a licence did not have to be restricted to issues of health and safety. Given that the law now allowed councils to grant or refuse licenses to cinemas according to the content of the films they showed, the 1909 Act therefore enabled the introduction of censorship. The film industry, fearing the economic consequences of a largely unregulated censorship infrastructure, therefore formed the BBFC in order to take the process 'in house' and establish its own system of self-regulation. Some decisions from the early years are now subjected to derision. In 1928, the Board's examiners report famously claimed that Germaine Dulac's surrealist film The Seashell and the Clergyman was "Apparently meaningless" but "If there is a meaning, it is doubtless objectionable".[6]

Informal links, to varying degrees of closeness, have been maintained between the BBFC and the Government throughout the Board's existence. In the period before World War II, an extensive but unofficial system of political censorship was implemented by the BBFC at the Home Office's request. As the cinema became a culturally powerful mass-medium, governments feared the effect of its overt use for propaganda (as happened in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany), and discouraged any expression of controversial political views in British films. This trend reached its climax during the 1930s. Following protests from the German Embassy after the release of a film depicting the execution of Edith Cavell (Dawn, 1928, dir. Herbert Wilcox), intense political pressure was brought to bear on the BBFC by the Home Office. A system of script vetting was introduced, whereby British studios were invited to submit screenplays to the BBFC before shooting started. Interestingly, imported Hollywood films were not treated as strictly as British films, as the BBFC believed that audiences would recognise American cinema as representing a foreign culture, and therefore would not apply any political messages therein to their own lives. So while the Warners gangster films and other 1930s Hollywood films which explicitly dealt with crime and the effects of the Great Depression were released in the UK largely uncut, these subjects were strictly off-limits for British film-makers.

During World War II, the BBFC's political censorship function effectively passed to the Films Division of the Ministry of Information, and the BBFC never regained this to the same extent as before the war. The increasing climate of post-war liberalism ensured that from the 1950s onwards, controversies involving the BBFC centred more on depictions of sex and violence than on political expression. There were some notable exceptions: Yield to the Night (UK, 1956, dir. J. Lee Thompson), which opposed capital punishment; Room at the Top (UK, 1959, dir. Jack Clayton), which dealt with class divisions; Victim (UK, 1961, dir. Basil Dearden), which implicitly argued for the legalisation of homosexuality all involved the BBFC in controversy.

In 1984 the organisation changed its name to "reflect the fact that classification plays a far larger part in the Board's work than censorship".[7][8] At that time it was given responsibility for classifying videos for hire or purchase to view in the home as well as films shown in cinemas. Home video and cinema versions of a film usually receive the same certificate, although occasionally a film may receive a more restrictive certificate for the home video market, as it is easier for children to watch a home video than to be admitted into a cinema.

The Board is an independent, non-governmental organisation. Its business affairs are controlled by a council of management selected from leading figures in the manufacturing and servicing sectors of the film industry. This council appoints the President, who has statutory responsibility for the classification of videos and the Director who has executive responsibility and formulates policy. The Board, which is based in Soho Square, Soho, London, is financed from the fees it charges for classifying films and videos and is run on a not-for-profit basis.

In the case of films shown in cinemas, local authorities have the final legal authorisation over who can view a particular film. The majority of the time, local authorities accept the Board's recommendation for a certificate for a film. There have been some notable exceptions - particularly in the 1970s when the Board allowed films such as Last Tango in Paris and The Exorcist to be released with an X certificate (essentially the same as today's "18") - but many local authorities chose to ban the films regardless.

Conversely, in 2002, a few local authorities, apparently under pressure from distributors and cinema chains, ignored the BBFC's ruling that Spider-Man receive a 12 rating, and allowed children younger than 12 to see the film. However, the BBFC were already in the process of replacing the 12 rating with a new 12A which allowed under-12s to see the film, provided that they are accompanied by an adult, so shortly afterwards, Spider-Man was reclassified as 12A. The first 12A certificate awarded was for The Bourne Identity.[9]

Local authorities do not have such power for video recordings. Under the Video Recording Act 1984, all non-exempt recordings must be classified by an authority chosen by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. This classification is then legally binding, in that supply of material contrary to its certificate (selling recordings which have been refused a certificate, or supplying to someone younger than the certified age) is a criminal offence. However, possession is not an offence in itself, other than in the case of "possession with intent to supply". Since the introduction of the Act, the BBFC has been the chosen authority. In theory this authority could be revoked, but in practice such a revocation has never been suggested, since most local authorities simply don't have the supplies needed to do such things as remove cuts, pass films that the BBFC rejected and vice versa, put in place new cuts, etc, regularly.[10]

The BBFC has also rated some video games. Normally these are exempt from classification, unless they depict human sexual activity, human genital organs or gross acts of violence, in which case the publishers should submit the game for classification. A publisher may opt to submit a game for classication even if they are not obliged to. The first computer game to receive a 15 certificate from the BBFC was an illustrated text adventure called Dracula, based on the Bram Stoker novel, published in 1986 by CRL. The first computer game to receive an 18 certificate was another illustrated text adventure called Jack The Ripper, also by CRL, which was published in 1987 and dealt with the infamous real life murders in Victorian London. The horror in both games came through largely in their detailed prose. Had the game publishers reprinted the games' text in book form, it would not have carried a certificate, as the BBFC has no oversight over print media. Both games had numerous certificate stickers all over their covers to emphasise to parents and retailers that they were not intended for children, as computer games carrying BBFC certificates were previously unheard of.

The first game to be refused classification by the BBFC was Carmageddon in 1997, however a modified version of the game was later awarded an 18 certificate. In June 2007, Manhunt 2 was refused classification in both its PlayStation 2 and Wii versions, meaning that the game was illegal to sell or supply.[11] A modified version was made that was accepted by the ESRB but was still refused classification from the BBFC. The decision was later overturned by the Video Appeals Committee (an independent body set up by legislation); the BBFC then asked the High Court for a judicial review of the VAC decision.[12] The High Court ruled that the VAC had made errors in law and instructed it to reconsider its decision, the VAC subsequently ruled that the game should receive an 18 certificate, which the BBFC accepted.[13]

In 2009, the Japanese horror film Grotesque was refused classification, making it illegal to sell or supply in the UK.

On June 16, 2009, the UK's Department of Culture, Media and Sport ruled in favour of the PEGI system to be the sole classification system for videogames and software in the UK. This decision will also, unlike beforehand, allow PEGI ratings to be legally enforced much like the BBFC ratings.[14]

Attitudes to censorship

Historically the Board has faced strong criticism for an over-zealous attitude in censoring film. Prior to the liberalising decade of the 1960s, films were routinely and extensively censored as a means of social control. For example, Rebel Without a Cause was cut[15] in order to reduce the "possibility of teenage rebellion". Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night was cut[16] to remove "overtly sexual or provocative" language.

The BBFC's attitude moved extensively towards liberalisation during the 1960s - concentrating on censoring films featuring graphic sex and violence. However decisions which the Board reached repeatedly caused controversy in the 1970s when it banned a series of films that were released uncut and were popular in other countries (such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Last House on the Left), or released others which proved controversial, such as Straw Dogs and A Clockwork Orange. However, under recent President Andreas Whittam Smith and current incumbent Sir Quentin Thomas, guidelines have been relaxed again, allowing the release, usually uncut, of these previously banned films on video and in cinemas. Some films from the 1970s remain unreleased (see this list for titles), but many of these titles remain banned primarily because their distributors have not chosen to re-submit the films to the BBFC, almost certainly for commercial reasons. If they were, they would be likely to receive a more sympathetic hearing than 30 years ago - only two films from the 1970s, Love Camp 7 (rejected in 2002) and Women in Cellblock 9 (rejected in 2004), both of which contain substantial scenes of sexual violence, have remained completely banned following a re-submission since 2000.

In general, attitudes to what material is suitable for viewing by minors have changed over the years, and this is reflected by the reclassification of older films being re-released on video. A 1913 film given the former A rating could very probably be rated U today. An extreme example of this is the rating of the horror film Revenge of the Zombies, with a U certificate upon its video release in the late 1990s, whereas, when it was first examined as a film in 1951, it was given one of the first X ratings.

Relaxation

There has been considerable relaxation since 1999 onwards. The relaxation of guidelines has also made hardcore pornography widely available to adult audiences through the R18 rating. Films with this rating are only legally available from licensed sex shops, of which there are about 100 in the UK. They may also be seen in specially licensed cinemas.

Recent examples include the passing of Irreversible, Romance, Antichrist, and numerous other films uncut for cinema and video viewing. Despite this trend towards liberalisation, anti-censorship campaigners are still critical of the BBFC. A prominent online campaign group is the "Melon Farmers", which criticises both the laws that BBFC is required to uphold and the BBFC's interpretation of that law in specific cases[citation needed]. Conversely, BBFC has attracted more criticism from conservative press, in particular the Daily Mail, on the grounds that the release of sexually explicit and violent films was corrupting the nation. The newspaper's most famous clash with the BBFC came when the Board released Crash without cuts. The following day (19 March 1997) the Mail led with the banner headline "CENSOR'S YES TO DEPRAVED SEX FILM"[citation needed]. Westminster City Council imposed its own ban on the film after the decision.

Current concerns

The BBFC's current guidelines identify a number of specific areas of concern which are considered when awarding certificates or requiring cuts. These are discrimination, theme, language (i.e. profanity), nudity, sex, violence, sexual violence, criminal or harmful actions that can easily be imitated (certain combat moves, suicidal techniques, and stunts considered criminal acts or likely to end up in injury or death fall under this category), horror, and drugs. The BBFC also continues to demand cuts of any material which it considers may breach the provisions of the Obscene Publications Act or any other legislation (most notably the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937 [which forbids the depiction of animals being abused or in distress] and the Protection of Children Act 1978 [which forbids the depiction of children being abused, in distress, or sexually exploited]). Between 2000 and 2006, about 2% of films have had material cut.[17]

There is no theme or subject-matter that is considered inherently unsuitable for classification at any level, although more controversial topics might require a restricted certificate. This is in keeping with current practice in most liberal democracies, but in sharp contrast to the early days of the BBFC when such themes as prostitution, incest and the relations of capital and labour were unacceptable in any circumstances.

'Bad' or 'strong' language can earn a film a more restrictive certificate, though BBFC policy states that there are no constraints on language use in films awarded an 18 certificate. It is difficult to compare the BBFC's policies in this area with those in other countries as there are different taboos regarding profanity in other languages and indeed in other English-speaking countries. For example, the use of 'strong' language has little effect on a film's classification in France. The BBFC's policy proved particularly controversial in the case of Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen in 2002, which was passed uncut only at 18 certificate, even though its main characters were teenagers who frequently used profanities that the director argued were typical of the social group his film depicted. The film received similar certificates in Ireland (also an 18 certificate) and the United States, but in Australia it was awarded the less restrictive MA certificate.

There are minimal restrictions of the depiction of non-sexual nudity, which is allowed in even U and PG certificate films, but scenes of (simulated) sexual activity are limited to more restricted certificates. With regard to material that is intended primarily as pornographic the Board's policy, as stated on its website is "Material which appears to be simulated is generally passed ‘18’, while images of real sex are confined to the ‘R18’ category." However, for some years depictions of real sex have been allowed in 18 certificate videos which are intended to be educational, and in recent years a number of works such as Catherine Breillat's Romance, Patrice Chéreau's Intimacy and Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs which feature apparently unsimulated sex have been passed uncut for theatrical release.

Violence remains one of the most problematic areas for censorship in the UK, especially when it's in conjunction with sex or likely to sway more impressionable viewers into thinking the violence depicted is "glamorous." However, the Board takes into account issues of context and whether it considers scenes of sexual violence to "eroticise" or "endorse" sexual assault. In 2002, the board passed Gaspar Noé's Irréversible uncut, but less than a month later cut Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer by three and a quarter minutes to remove scenes of sexual violence.

Criminal acts that can be easily imitated, as well as scenes condoning, glamorising, or showing clear instruction of how to abuse drugs have also been the subject of UK editing. The issue of imitable techniques is one that does not seem to figure especially highly in the censorship systems of most other countries (though the U.S. has done this on occasion, often due to public backlash, as seen on MTV's Beavis and Butthead). In the UK, numerous minor cuts have been made, primarily to films whose distributors want a PG or 12A certificate, to scenes of imitable techniques. For example, in 2006 issues involving hanging became problematic; the Ren and Stimpy Series 1 DVD set (classified PG) was edited to remove the song "The Lord Loves a Hangin'" because the song implied that hanging is "comedic, fun, and risk-free".[18] Paranoia Agent Volume 3 DVD set (classified 18) was also cut to remove the depiction of a child nearly hanging himself for the same reason.[19]

The North West New Wave, a blanket term which has recently been used by both filmmakers and local press to describe independent filmmakers in the Northwest of England, is currently campaigning for the introduction of a Voluntary 'Unrated 18' Certificate in the UK. [20]

Leadership

Presidents of the BBFC

Directors of the BBFC

During James Ferman's time the title of the chief executive officer at the BBFC changed from "Secretary of the Board" to the current "Director". At the same time, the title card displaying a film's certificate which opens all theatrically-screened films in the United Kingdom stopped carrying the chief executive's signature; the President's signature is now used instead.

  • Joseph Brooke Wilkinson (1 January 1913-15 July 1948) (died in office)
  • A.T.L. Watkins (26 July 1948-23 January 1957)
  • John Nicholls (23 January 1957-30 April 1958)
  • John Trevelyan (22 May 1958-1 July 1971)
  • Stephen Murphy (1 July 1971-18 June 1975)
  • James Ferman (18 June 1975-10 January 1999)
  • Robin Duval (11 January 1999-19 September 2004)
  • David Cooke (20 September 2004–present;)[21]

Notes

  1. ^ Nelmes, Jill (2003). An introduction to film studies. Routledge. pp. 41. ISBN 0415262682. 
  2. ^ "welcome to the bbfc". bbfc. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/general/. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  3. ^ a b "Loophole over DVD age rating law". BBC News. August 25, 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8219438.stm. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  4. ^ "London Job Vacancies". British Board of Film Classification. http://www.londonjobvacancies.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  5. ^ Staff. "What does the 'E' symbol mean, and it is an official category?". British Board of Film Classification. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/faq/docs/12120.html. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  6. ^ Quoted as “The film is so cryptic as to be almost meaningless. If there is a meaning, it is doubtless objectionable” on p.39 of James Crighton Robertson's The Hidden Cinema: British Film Censorship in Action, 1913-1975, 1993, ISBN 0415090342, and at p.70 of Rachael Low's History of British Film, 1970, ISBN 0415154510
  7. ^ Briggs, Adam; Cobley, Paul (2002). The Media: An Introduction (second; illustrated ed.). Pearson Education. pp. 480. ISBN 058242346. 
  8. ^ Caughie, John; Rockett, Kevin (1996). The Companion to British and Irish Cinema (reissue, illustrated ed.). Cassell. pp. 35. ISBN 0304341584. 
  9. ^ Chrisafis, Angelique (August 30, 2002). "Spider-Man seizes the under-12s". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2002/aug/30/filmnews.filmcensorship. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  10. ^ "Local Authority Decisions". Students' British Board of Film Classification. http://www.sbbfc.co.uk/student_guide_localauthority.asp. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  11. ^ Staff (June 19, 2007). "Censors ban 'brutal' video game". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/6767623.stm. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  12. ^ "Censors battle for Manhunt 2 ban". BBC News. December 18, 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7148636.stm. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  13. ^ "Manhunt 2 Receives 18 Certificate from BBFC". Gamers Hell. March 14, 2008. http://www.gamershell.com/news_46609.html. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  14. ^ Fahey, Mike (June 16, 2009). Kotaku "PEGI Triumphs Over The BBFC". Kotaku. http://kotaku.com/5292677/pegi-triumphs-over-the-bbfc Kotaku. Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  15. ^ BBFC page on Rebel Without a Cause 1955 classification for 1956 UK release.
  16. ^ BBFC page on Smiles of a Summer Night classification for 1956 UK release.
  17. ^ "BBFC Statistics". British Board of Film Classification. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/statistics/index.php. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  18. ^ "The Ren & Stimpy Show - Fake Dad rated PG by the BBFC". British Board of Film Classification. March 6, 2006. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/0/FE7CB3C02B883B9A8025712900617E02?OpenDocument. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  19. ^ "Paranoia Agent rated 18 by the BBFC". British Board of Film Classification. April 3, 2006 .. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/0/F545F349E551DB8F802571450031ED83?OpenDocument. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  20. ^ "North West New Wave". North West New Wave. December 19, 2009 .. http://www.northwestnewwave.org.uk/campaigns.htm. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  21. ^ British Board of Film Classification (30 June 2004). "BBFC announces New Director". Press release. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/news/press/20040630.html. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 

See also

References

  • Knowles, Dorothy, The Censor, the Drama and the Film, London, George Allen & Unwin (1934).
  • Hunnings, Neville March, Film Censors and the Law, London, Allen & Unwin (1967).
  • Mathews, Tom Dewe, Censored, London, Chatto & Windus (1994).
  • Richards, Jeffrey, 'The British Board of Film Censors and Content Control in the 1930s', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, vol. 1, no. 2 (1981), pp. 95-116 & vol. 2, no. 1 (1982), pp. 39-48.
  • Robertson, James C., 'British Film Censorship Goes to War', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, vol. 2, no. 1 (1982), pp. 49-64.
  • Robertson, James C., The British Board of Film Censors: Film Censorship in Britain, 1896-1950, London, Croom Helm (1985).
  • Robertson, James C., The Hidden Cinema: British Film Censorship in Action, 1913-72, London, Routledge (1993).
  • Baron, Saskia (writer & director), Empire of the Censors - two-part TV documentary, pc. Barraclough Carey, prod. Paul Kerr, BBC2, tx. 28 & 29 May 1995.

External links


Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), originally British Board of Film Censors, is the organisation responsible for film and some video game classification and censorship within the United Kingdom.

Contents

Responsibility and power

The BBFC rates theatrically-released films, videos and some video games. Video games with specific themes or content must be submitted to the BBFC to receive a legally-binding rating (contrast advisory PEGI ratings). Other video games may be submitted at the publisher's discretion.

All videos and games rated by the BBFC receive a certificate, along with "consumer advice" detailing references to sex, violence and coarse language. If a certificate specifies that a film or video game is only suitable for someone over a certain age, then only those over that age may buy it.

The BBFC can also advise cuts for a less-restrictive rating. This generally occurs in borderline cases where distributors have requested a certificate and the BBFC has rated the work at a more-restrictive level. The final certificate then depends on the distributor's decision on whether or not to make the suggested cuts.

Current Certificates

The BBFC currently issues the following certificates:

Symbol Name Definition
Uc Universal Children Suitable for all, but especially suitable for young children to watch on their own (home media only)
U Universal Suitable for all
PG Parental Guidance All ages admitted, but parents are advised that certain scenes may be unsuitable for younger children
12A 12 Accompanied/Advisory Suitable for those aged 12 and over (cinema only); those aged under 12 are only admitted if accompanied by an adult
12 12 Suitable for those aged 12 and over (VHS, DVDs and games only). Nobody under 12 may buy or rent a 12 rated DVD, VHS or game.
15 15 Suitable for those aged 15 and over
18 18 Suitable for those aged 18 and over
R18 Restricted 18 Suitable for those aged 18 and over and only available at licensed cinemas and sex shops

Material that is exempt from classification sometimes uses symbols similar to BBFC certificates, for example an E "certificate". There is no legal obligation, nor a particular scheme, for labeling material that is exempt from classification.

History and overview

The BBFC rates some video games. Normally these are exempt from classification, unless they depict human sexual activity, human genital organs or gross acts of violence, in which case the publishers should submit the game for classification. A publisher may opt to submit a game for classification even if they are not obliged to. The first computer game to receive a 15 certificate from the BBFC was an illustrated text adventure called Dracula, based on the Bram Stoker novel, published in 1986 by CRL. The first computer game to receive an 18 certificate was another illustrated text adventure called Jack The Ripper, also by CRL, which was published in 1987 and dealt with the infamous real life murders in Victorian London. The horror in both games came through largely in their detailed prose. Had the game publishers reprinted the games' text in book form, it would not have carried a certificate, as the BBFC has no oversight over print media. Both games had numerous certificate stickers all over their covers to emphasize to parents and retailers that they were not intended for children, as computer games carrying BBFC certificates were previously unheard of. The first game to be refused classification by the BBFC was Carmageddon in 1997, however a modified version of the game was later awarded an 18 certificate.

Current concerns

The BBFC's current guidelines identify a number of specific areas of concern which are considered when awarding certificates or requiring cuts. These are theme, language (i.e. profanity), nudity, sex, violence, sexual violence, criminal or harmful actions that can easily be imitated (certain combat moves, suicidal techniques, and stunts considered criminal acts or likely to end up in injury or death fall under this category), horror, and drugs. The BBFC also continues to demand cuts of any material which it considers may breach the provisions of the Obscene Publications Act or any other legislation (most notably the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937 and the Protection of Children Act 1978).

External links


Gaming

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

The British Board of Film Classification system (BBFC for short) is used for rating films in the UK. Games are also included as a medium that is required to be classified under the Video Recordings Act. However, games are generally exempt from classification unless they contain certain types of content, that can loosely be described as "Adult".

The BBFC system has 8 different ratings, but only the 15 and 18 ratings are commonly used for games:

  • BBFC: Uc
  • BBFC: U
  • BBFC: PG
  • BBFC: 12A
  • BBFC: 12
  • BBFC: 15
  • BBFC: 18
  • BBFC: R18


Game Rating
Americas
ESRB (United States/Canada)
Europe
PEGI (most of Europe) • BBFC (UK) • ELSPA (UK, retired) • USK (Germany) • VET (Finland)
Asia
CERO (Japan, console) • EOCS (Japan, PC)
Australia/New Zealand
OFLC (Australia)OFLC (New Zealand)

See Also

List of BBFC Rated Games

External Links

  • BBFC
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Simple English

The British Board of Film Classification is the organisation responsible for movie and some video game classification in the United Kingdom. The rating system can help parents decide which movies their children should not watch and what video games they should not play.

Ratings

There are eight ratings:

  • UC - The lowest rating a movie can get. Anyone can watch it. It is designed for children in particular.
  • U - Everybody can watch it.
  • PG - Everybody can watch it, but very young children may need an adult with them.
  • 12A - People under 12 need an adult with them.
  • 12 - People must be 12 or over to watch the movie.
  • 15 - People must be 15 or over to watch the movie.
  • 18 - People must be 18 or over to watch the movie. These films usually contain a lot of horror, nudity or violence.
  • R18 - People must be 18 or over to watch the movie and the movie can only be shown at specially licensed cinemas.








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