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Case studies

Welcome to the BBFC Case Studies. They are all written by BBFC staff and explore how and why works were rated, cut or even banned.

The film Case Studies tell you why we did what we did and offer background information that you won’t find anywhere else. Find out why some films and BBFC decisions were discussed in the news media, what works were complained about, and which ratings were praised. You can also browse our From The Archive studies which showcase fascinating historical artefacts from our archives and listen to our hugely popular Podcasts.

Some like A Clockwork Orange are works you will definitely have heard of. Others like Freaks are lesser known but important films. And some are films like Juno and Fight Club that you might have seen but had no idea they caused a stir when submitted to the BBFC. We provide Case Studies for all films we introduce as part of our longstanding relationship with Film Education’s National Schools Film Week.  Though we no longer rate video games there are some video games case studies which should offer an historical view of how we treated some well-known video games.

We regularly update the Case Studies, and add new titles several times a year. We welcome suggestions for new Case Studies, but, as each one takes a while to research and write, we prioritise requests. You can email us to suggest a Case Study.

If you are researching a specific title and would like access to the BBFC's paper file archive this may be possible depending on the age of the work. You can request access to our archive in Education resources.

 

A Clockwork Orange

Genre: Drama

An interesting history accompanies Stanley Kubrick's grim view of the future. The BBFC was initially shown a screenplay based on Anthony Burgess's novel in 1967 and advised the distributors that a film showing 'an unrelieved diet of vicious violence and hooliganism' would be unlikely to be...

A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints

Genre: Comedy, Drama

It is summer in New York in 1986, and adolescent Dito Montiel is dealing with growing up, gangs, his family and friends - and his future. In that future, in 2006, the adult Dito looks back on what happened that summer to determine the course of his life, and the lives of his friends.The film was...

A Serbian Film - Srpski Film

Genre: Drama, Horror

The 2010 Serbian language drama, subtitled in English, tells the story of a retired Serbian porn star, Milos, who is tempted to make one final film by an offer of money from a mysterious director.  The film's would-be director, Vukmir Vukmir, tells him that the film is intended as an 'artistic...

Adulthood

Genre: Drama

Noel Clarke’s 2008 sequel to Menhaj Huda’s Kidulthood (classified 15) takes up the story of Sam on his release from prison after serving a six year sentence. Sam is faced with trying to put right some of the damage he has done by his killing of Trife, and with dealing with the people seeking...

An Education

Genre: Drama

An Education is a critically acclaimed British drama based on the memoirs of popular, and occasionally controversial, newspaper journalist, Lynne Barber. It tracks a young woman in the 1960s as she goes through a life-changing year – seduced and enthralled by what appears to be a sophisticated...

Antichrist

Genre: Drama, Horror

Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist is an English language drama about a couple whose young child dies. It was described by its director as a horror film and contained several strong images which required consideration when it arrived at the BBFC in 2009.

Apocalypse Now

Genre: Drama

Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now was one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the 1970s. The wunderkind director had shot to prominence with his direction of The Godfather (1972) and was at the vanguard of the new ‘Movie Brats’ auteurs, along with Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and...

Attack The Block

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction

Attack The Block is a British horror movie directed by comedian Joe Cornish. It is set in a South London housing estate and follows a group of teen muggers, who form an unlikely alliance with a nurse they have robbed, when aliens attack their tower block.