The BBFC assigns age ratings to films on behalf of the local authorities who license cinemas under the Licensing Act 2003.
When do I need to get an age rating for my work?
All feature films, short films and trailers which are to be shown theatrically must be submitted to the BBFC, unless permission has been granted by the local authority in the area that the work is being shown.
If we have previously classified a film for theatrical release and you now wish to re-release it theatrically with a BBFC certificate and black card, you may need to submit it to us for a new classification. We have published guidance that explains what you need to do which is available below.
Please note the BBFC does not have an IMAX screen so viewings of some IMAX works must be arranged at an external screen. Please contact the Client Helpline here.
You will need to obtain an age rating for your IMAX work when one or more of the following is applicable:
- The film is only being released in the IMAX format.
- The film contains scenes shot in IMAX.
- The film is being shown on an IMAX screen with an altered aspect ratio in comparison to the original release format
4DX exhibition does not require a separate submission and classification from the regular classified DCP version of the film. To read our guidance and the reasons for our conclusion, see below.
What can/can't I submit?
Films and trailers must be submitted in the format that they are going to be released i.e. works only being released digitally must be submitted as a DCP with relevant KDM, likewise 3D works must be submitted in 3D etc. All works submitted to the BBFC for classification should be the full, final edit in the correct screen ratio with final sound mix.
There are also some technical requirements which can be found here.
Any work being released in both 2D and 3D may require separate submissions as the different formats have the potential to raise differing classification issues. There is a concessionary rate available in some cases. Further details are available here.
Any works submitted for a theatrical classification do not need to be retained by the BBFC and may be collected by the customer upon request following the classification decision. Any theatrical submissions not collected will be retained for 2 months, after which time they will be destroyed.
How do I submit?
In order to submit a work please make an entry on our extranet service. You will need to request a date, please note slots are issued on a first come, first served basis. A submission guide is available below.
If you do not have an account you may request one here.
Please then deliver your film print or DCP to the BBFC offices here, or alternatively make the content available for download.
Works submitted digitally must arrive, along with payment, by 3pm the working day before examination. Any KDMs or download links must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by the same deadline. If you have any questions, please contact Projection on 020 7440 1570.
Alternatively external viewings can be arranged depending on availability. Please contact the Client Helpline here.
How much does it cost?
Details of fees and service charges are available here.
Is there anything else I need to consider?
If you require a fast turnaround you may wish to consider our Pre-Booking Express Service.
We can also give you advice as to what rating an unfinished work may receive.
Full details can be found here.
Feature films and short films will be issued with a Black Card which includes the title, BBFC register number and category symbol. Black Cards are issued in an electronic format and emailed to the primary contact. The Black Card should appear at the front of the film for five seconds.
Trailers do not receive black cards. The appropriate category should be displayed on screen for five seconds at the start.
Displaying BBFCinsight on posters
For guidance on displaying BBFCinsight on posters and advertisements please see the below pdf download.
Related documents and downloads
- BBFCinsight - Guidance for Distributors - updated March 2013 (pdf / 93.71 KB)
- Reclassification of Films - Guidance for Distributors - March 2015 (pdf / 88.84 KB)
- 4DX Exhibition - Guidance for Distributors - March 2015 (pdf / 84.27 KB)
- BBFC Theatrical Submission Guide - October 2015 (pdf / 282.62 KB)