BBFC Age Classifications

 

U – Universal

It is impossible to predict what might upset any particular child. But a ‘U’ film should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over. Works aimed at children should be set within a positive moral framework and should offer reassuring counterbalances to any violence, threat or horror.

Theme
Treatment of problematic themes must be sensitive and appropriate to a younger audience.

Language
Infrequent use only of very mild bad language.

Nudity
Occasional natural nudity, with no sexual context.

Sex
Mild sexual behaviour (e.g., kissing) and references only (e.g., to ‘making love’).

Violence
Mild violence only.
Occasional mild threat or menace only.
Imitable techniques
No emphasis on realistic weapons.

Horror
Horror effects should be mild and brief and should take account of the presence of very young viewers. The outcome should be reassuring.

Drugs
No references to illegal drugs or drug use.

 

 

PG – General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for some children

‘PG’ Parental Guidance
Unaccompanied children of any age may watch. A ‘PG’ film should not disturb a child aged around eight or older. However, parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset younger or more sensitive children.

Theme
More serious issues may be featured, eg crime, domestic violence, racism (providing nothing in their treatment condones them).

Language
Mild bad language only.

Nudity
Natural nudity, with no sexual context.

Sex
Sexual activity may be implied, but should be discreet and infrequent. Mild sexual references and innuendo only.

Violence
Moderate violence, without detail, may be allowed – if justified by its setting (eg historic, comedy or fantasy).
Imitable techniques
No glamorisation of realistic, contemporary weapons. No detail of fighting or other dangerous techniques.

Horror
Frightening sequences should not be prolonged or intense. Fantasy settings may be a mitigating factor.

Drugs
No references to illegal drugs or drug use unless entirely innocuous.

 

 

12a – No-one younger than 12 may see a ’12A’ film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult (Aged 18+).

Theme
Mature themes are acceptable, but their treatment must be suitable for young teenagers.

Language
The use of strong language should be rare and must be justified by context.

Nudity
Nudity is allowed, but in a sexual context will be brief and discreet.

Sex
Sexual activity may be implied. Sexual references may reflect the familiarity of most adolescents today with sex education through school.

Violence
Violence must not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood. Sexual violence may only be implied or briefly indicated and without physical detail. Imitable techniques. Dangerous techniques (examples include: combat, hanging, suicides) should contain no imitable detail. Realistic and contemporary weapons should not be glamorised.

Horror
Sustained threat and menace is permitted. Occasional gory moments only.

Drugs
Brief and occasional references to, and sight of, ‘soft’ drug-taking (eg cannabis) are allowed, but must be justified by context and should indicate the dangers. No instructional elements are permitted.

 

 

15 – No-one younger than 15 may see a ’15’ film in a cinema.

Theme
No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate to 15 year olds.

Language
There may be frequent use of strong language; the strongest terms are only rarely acceptable. Continued aggressive use of strong language and sexual abuse is unacceptable.

Nudity
There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context.

Sex
Sexual activity and nudity may be portrayed but without strong detail. The depiction of casual sex should be handled responsibly. There may be occasional strong verbal references to sexual behaviour.

Violence
Violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction of pain, and of injuries. Scenes of sexual violence must be discreet and brief.
Imitable techniques
Dangerous combat techniques such as ear claps, head-butts and blows to the neck are unlikely to be acceptable. There may be no emphasis on the use of easily accessible lethal weapons (in particular, knives).

Horror
Sustained or detailed infliction of pain or injury is unacceptable.

Drugs
Drug taking may be shown but clear instructive detail is unacceptable. The film as a whole must not promote or encourage drug use.

 

 

18 – No-one younger than 18 may see an ’18’ film in a cinema.

The BBFC respects the right of adults to chose their own entertainment, within the law. It will therefore expect to intervene only rarely in relation to ’18’ rated cinema films. In the case of videos, which are more accessible to younger viewers, intervention may be more frequent.
There are no constraints at this level on theme, language, nudity or horror. The Board may, however, cut or reject the following content any detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts which is likely to promote the activity. This includes also instructive detail of illegal drug use the more explicit images of sexual activity – unless they can be exceptionally justified by context.

www.bbfc.co.uk

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