BBFC New Classification Guidelines: What It Means For Parents



Today, new guidelines from the British Board of Film Classification – the people who decide the certificates of movies in the UK – have come into force after a large-scale public consultation that took place last year. So what does this mean for us cinemagoers and, more importantly, parents of cinemagoers?


Well, after talking to over 10,000 members of the public in 2012 and 2013, the BBFC discovered we do put a lot of trust in their film classification system, with 95% of parents with children under 15 saying they check the BBFC classification before watching a film. So, as a result of the survey, the following changes have taken place:


• Greater weight will be given to the theme and tone of a film or video, particularly around the 12A/12 and 15 level;

• Particular attention will be given to the psychological impact of horror, as well as strong visual detail such as gore;

• Regarding language, the public wants the BBFC to be stricter online review with the language allowed at U and more flexible about allowing very strong language at 15. Context, not just frequency, is the most important factor in how language in films is perceived by the public.

(for full details of the BBFCs ratings, click here)


David Cooke, director of the BBFC, also notes that many people – 27% – are unsure what the 12A rating means. “We and the film industry will work during 2014 to improve understanding of this very important rating as well as raise awareness of BBFCinsight information, which is vital in helping parents decide if a 12A film is suitable for their child.”


If you are unsure about whether a movie is suitable for your child, you can read our reviews at, and visit the BBFC website, and specifically BBFCInsight, which gives detailed information about each movie that has been classified, and is aimed at parents. Click here to go to the BBFC website.