BBFC

Timeline created by ellizzlle
In Film
  • The Cinematograph Act arrives giving local authorities the power to provide or withhold licenses for cinemas in their region.

  • The British Board of Film Censors is created by a burgeoning film industry as a means of ensuring uniformity for film classification decisions.

  • The H certificate is introduced by the BBFC. H is an advisory certificate which tells the public that a film has a horror theme and is not suitable for children.

  • Brighton Rock is attacked by critics as 'nasty and sensationalist' but is a success at the box office.

  • As a result of changes to the Cinematograph Act, the X certificate is introduced. No children under the age of 16 are allowed to see an X film. This is the first mandatory age-restricted category.

  • The BBFC rejects The Wild One on the grounds that it presents an 'unbridled spectacle of hooliganism'. It is not rated until 1967.

  • The BBFC requires cuts to Rebel Without A Cause to remove a knife fight.

  • In the first famous trial using the new Obscene Publications Act, D H Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover becomes freely available for the first time in 32 years. The book is deemed art rather than pornography.

  • The BBFC rejects Lady In A Cage on the grounds that is an exercise in sadistic brutality and might 'have the effect of encouraging juvenile violence'. The film is later rated 18 uncut on video in 2002 and 15 uncut on DVD in 2005.

  • The age limit on the X category is raised from 16 to 18. The advisory U and A categories are introduced along with the AA category that allows admission to those aged 14 and over.

  • Enter the Dragon is rated X for cinema release with cuts to violence, but with nunchaku (chainsticks) scenes intact. A Clockwork Orange is removed from sale by Stanley Kubrick after controversy about its violence and death threats against his family.

  • After reported outbreaks of violence involving martial arts weapons, BBFC Director James Ferman enforces a blanket ban on all sight of nunchaku and shuriken (throwing stars).

  • James Ferman recalls Enter the Dragon to cut nunchaku scenes. The Warriors is rated X uncut. Local authorities, concerned by reports of the film's effects in the US, ask the BBFC to reconsider. The BBFC declines.

  • The BBFC rating system is overhauled with the introduction of the PG, 15, 18 and R18 categories. The first film rated PG is Return Of The Soldier.

  • The Video Recordings Act (VRA) is passed and the BBFC becomes the designated authority for rating videos 'for suitability within the home'. The BBFC becomes the British Board of Film Classification.

  • Streets of Fire is one of the last films to feature butterfly knives before they are added to the list of banned weaponry. The Video Recordings Act is introduced to prevent underage access to unsuitable videos and crack down on so-called 'video nasties'.

  • Sight of a poster featuring Bruce Lee holding nunchaku is cut from No Retreat, No Surrender.

  • Outright ban on nunchaku, shuriken and balisong is waived in non-action/martial arts works where the sight is incidental, comic, brief and/or used to establish character. After the Hungerford Massacre, Rambo III is cut to reduce violence and knifes.

  • Tim Burton's Batman becomes the first 12 rated film in the cinema. Children under 12 cannot view this in the cinema. This category is only available for theatrical releases.

  • Sight of an anthropomorphic turtle wielding a string of sausages in a manner similar to nuchaku is cut from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze.

  • The James Bulger case prompts concerns about possible effects of video violence. Child's Play 3 is wrongly linked to the case and withdrawn from sale. Parliamentary discussion of the VRA delays release of Reservoir Dogs and other works.

  • An amendment is made to the VRA in the wake of the Jamie Bulger case. The BBFC is asked to pay 'special regard to any harm that may be caused to potential viewers... or society...' in any given video or video game.

  • Natural Born Killers is rated 18 uncut after the BBFC investigates possible links between the film and killings in France and the USA. No link is found but after the Dunblane School Massacre, the distributor decides not to release the film on video.

  • The ban on martial arts weaponry is lifted. For the first time the BBFC publishes a set of written Guidelines which disallow emphasis and glamorisation of realistic contemporary and easily obtainable weapons but do not automatically ban any weapon.

  • Enter the Dragon is rated 18 uncut on video. A Clockwork Orange is re-released in UK cinemas after Stanley Kubrick's death.

  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is cut for glamorisation of knives in a film aimed at young teenagers. Natural Born Killers is finally released uncut on video and DVD.

  • Following an extended period of consultation, the 12 category for cinema is replaced with the advisory 12A. The first film to sport the new category is The Bourne Identity.

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze is rated PG uncut.

  • Secondhand Lions is cut for PG on film (at the distributor's request) for sight of a flick-knife and instructions on how to hold such a weapon. The film was raised to 12 without cuts for its video and DVD release.

  • The Passion of the Christ is rated 18 for extended scenes of strong violence. Complaints are received saying that it should have a received a lower rating.

  • Sin City, based on a series of graphic novels by Frank Miller, is rated 18 for strong vigilante violence.

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    BBFC