British Board of Film Classification

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What is classification

More information about the BBFC’s classification process can be found in this section. Customers looking for information on submitting works should visit the Industry Services section.

Films for theatrical release are normally classified by at least two Compliance Officers using the published Guidelines. In most cases the decision is ratified by a Compliance Manager, but if the Compliance Officers are in any doubt or fail to agree, or if important policy issues are involved, the work may be seen by other members of the Board up to, and including, the Chief Executive and Presidential team. Occasionally it is necessary to take specialist advice about the legal acceptability of film content or its potential for harm. DVDs are normally seen by one Compliance Officer, particularly when they are viewing the DVD version of a cinema film which has already been classified. However, opinions from other Compliance Officers may be required for more difficult works.

Compliance Officers look at issues such as discrimination, drugs, horror, language, imitable behaviour, nudity, sex, sexual violence, theme and violence when making decisions. They also consider context, the tone and impact of a work (eg how it makes the audience feel) and even the release format (for example, as DVDs are watched in the home, there is a higher risk of underage viewing).