British Board of Film Classification

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What does PG mean?

PG stands for Parental Guidance. This means a film is suitable for general viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children. A PG film should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older. Parents should consider whether the content may upset younger, or more sensitive, children.

Are all PG films made for younger audiences?

No. Some films are given a PG certificate but have not been made with a young audience in mind. A recent example of a film mostly enjoyed by grown ups but passed PG would be Saving Mr. Banks. However, the certificate means that any issues in the work are appropriate for the majority of this age group and nothing should upset a child of eight or over.

What sort of themes are passed at PG?

A PG film will not contain any theme which is inappropriate for a child. PG works can explore challenging issues such as bullying, bereavement or racism.

Will there be bad language in a PG film?

There may be mild bad language (such as ‘shit’ or ‘son of a bitch’) in a PG film, but the context and delivery are always important. For example, if the language is used aggressively or if there is a great deal of bad language, a work may be passed at a higher category.

What about sex?

Sex references are unlikely unless they are undetailed and infrequent. In addition, if a child is unlikely to understand a reference, we may allow it at PG. Comedy can also often lessen the impact of sex references and innuendo.

Sex and sex references are treated the same irrespective of sexuality so there could be mild or undetailed references at PG.

What about violence or threat at PG?

Violence will usually be mild. There should be no detail of violence in a PG work, so while there might be some blood, we would not see how the injury was inflicted in strong detail. Violence is generally more acceptable in a historical, comedic or fantasy setting, because of the distancing that this provides. It isn’t uncommon for PG films to feature ‘roller-coaster’ action or set pieces, where the emphasis is clearly on the adventure or journey of the main characters rather than the detail of violence or fighting.

As far as threat and horror goes, we allow some 'jump' moments and frightening sequences as long as they are not prolonged or intense.. Fantasy settings may again be a factor in the treatment of such content.

What about behaviour children might copy?

In a PG work, potentially dangerous or antisocial behaviour which young children are likely to copy, such as bullying, or playing with electricity, will not be condoned or seen to go unchallenged, especially if it comes across as safe or fun. Realistic or easily accessible weapons, such as knives, will not be glamorised or focused upon in a PG work. Smoking and drinking will not be promoted or glamorised and if child characters are seen smoking or drinking, there should be a clear message that this is bad. If drugs are mentioned or seen, a PG work should either represent them in an innocuous manner or emphasise that they are harmful.

Will there be any drugs in a PG?

There might be innocuous or passing references to illegal drugs or drugs misuse in a PG work, although there should be no strong focus on this. In addition drug references may be permissible if there is a clear anti-drugs or educational message likely to be understood by children eight or over.

How can I find out more about a PG film or DVD video?

Please check the BBFCinsight for the film or video you are thinking of watching. You may find BBFCinsight on this website or on our free App as well as on film posters, DVD and Blu-ray packaging, and on some listings. You will also find it attached to some film and video content which is available to download. It provides comprehensive information on exactly why a film or video has been given a particular category. All the issues are discussed in detail and parents in particular can use this information to make informed decisions when choosing viewing material for their children.

A guide to BBFCinsight is available here.

For the full text of the BBFC Guidelines at PG please download the document below.

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