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From the Archive

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.

Please note that all our Case Studies and From The Archive files are subject to copyright and may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,) without prior written permission of the BBFC. You should email us if you wish to reproduce any of these materials.

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 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.


Day of the Dead


The third of Romero’s series of ‘Dead’ films was received for classification in April 1986. Day of The Dead was part of a genre which was now very familiar territory for BBFC Examiners. There was some support for passing the film uncut but the overall decision was to make a minimal amount of cuts...

Day of The Triffids


In 1961 Security Pictures contacted the BBFC about the development of a film adaptation of John Wyndham’s 1951 sci-fi novel ‘The Day of The Triffids’.  The papers published here chart several stages of the BBFC’s involvement with the film, from giving advice on the script during pre-production to...

Dead Poets Society (1989)

Tags: archive, case study, bbfc, drama

The film tells the story of an English teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), who inspires his pupils through his teaching of poetry, encouraging them to look at life in a different way. When his students discover their teacher was previously a student at the same school and part of an unofficial...

Die Hard

Tags: archive, action, christmas

The Christmas film of choice for action fans, Die Hard was first submitted to the BBFC in July 1988. Bruce Willis stars as grizzled cop John McClane who has to take out the trash on Christmas Eve, thanks to the evil plans of Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his henchman who set upon the the Nakatomi...

Django (1967)

Tags: bbfc, archive, django, western, podcast

Django is an Italian (dubbed into English) spaghetti western directed by Sergio Corbucci.

Do The Right Thing

Tags: archive

Do The Right Thing was first seen by the BBFC in May of 1989 and came with a request from the company for an 18 classification for cinema release. The viewing team were split, with two examiners in favour of 18 and one in favour of 15.

Dr. Who and the Daleks


Before receiving the film for classification the BBFC was sent a script on 1 February 1965.  Our archive document is a BBFC examiner's report on the presented script.  By the time the BBFC examiners received the script, at least 50 episodes of the television programme had been broadcast by the BBC...