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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.


Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Tags: archive

The film was first seen by the BBFC in February 1978. The company requested a AA classification, which would have permitted viewers of 14 and above to see it. Although examiners expressed some sympathy with the idea the film would have appeal to people in their mid teens, its use of strong and...

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a US musical fantasy animation, from 1937, in which Snow White hides in a forest with a household of dwarfs after she is threatened with death by a wicked Queen. Snow White is the earliest Disney feature and the first ever full length animation film.

Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan


The first feature film for the Star Trek franchise - Star Trek: The Motion Picture - was released in 1979. The crew of the Starship Enterprise returned three years later to go even more boldly where no man had been before in Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan.

Star Wars


Today it is perhaps one of the most recognisable films in the world, but in June 1977 BBFC examiners sat down to watch Star Wars with little idea of the film's destiny.