To coincide with the 20-year anniversary of the 12A, we have put together a round-up of 12 films that have smashed the box office across the last two decades.
From Spider-Man to Top Gun: Maverick, there's been an abundance of titles that have been classified 12A. We’ve included everything you need to know about each film, including the ratings information, so that you have everything you need before revisiting the films on our list.
moderate violence, infrequent strong language
The Bourne Identity is an action thriller, from 2002, in which a man who has lost his memory tries to work out what happened to him.
Did you know that The Bourne Identity was the first ever film to be rated 12A?
Fight scenes feature crunchy punches, kicks and headbutts, as well as use of knives and a man being stabbed with a biro pen. There are some shootings, with little detail.
Infrequent strong language ('f**k'), alongside some milder bad language.
There is sight of bullets being removed, with a little bloody detail. A woman is seen dead with a bullet wound in her forehead. A couple kiss passionately and a man removes his shirt, although no sex is shown.
contains some scenes of strong fantasy violence
Spider-Man is a fantasy action film about a teenage boy who, after being bitten by a spider, gains superhuman powers and must use them to fight an evil villain terrorising the streets of New York City.
Read more about how we classified the film here.
There are fight scenes featuring crunchy punches, kicks, elbow blows, arm breaks and use of improvisational weapons, including chairs. The fighting occasionally results in injury detail with sight of bloodied faces and bodies. A man is impaled in the chest with a bladed hovercraft and there is brief sight of blood on the blades as they are pulled out from his body. There are also scenes of gun threat and gun fire.
There are scenes of moderate threat when a man convulses in a tank before transforming into his evil alter-ego, and also when he suffers from hallucinations. There is also mild bad language ('jerk', 'arse', 'Jesus', 'hell', 'crap', 'piss', 'butt') and a mild sex reference when a woman says '..those tights and that tight little butt' in response to Spider-man's suit.
contains moderate fantasy violence and scary scenes
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith is the sixth feature in George Lucas’ space opera about a galaxy-spanning war in the struggle between good and evil.
Did you know that Revenge Of The Sith was the first Star Wars film to receive a 12A?
contains moderate fantasy violence, threat and horror
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire is an adaptation of JK Rowling's fourth Harry Potter book following three young wizards as their school hosts a magic tournament.
Want to find out more about the first ever Harry Potter film to be classified 12A? Listen to our podcast episode about the film.
Scenes of violence include an attack during a sports tournament, with explosions and balls of fire. The main character fights a fire-breathing dragon and some underwater demons. A character chops off another arm, though without bloody detail and another is killed after being blasted by a spell.
Threat and horror
Scary scenes include characters trapped under water as they try to complete a task, with one participant apparently losing consciousness. There are scenes set in a dark maze and in a graveyard, with some scary looking characters.
The film also contains uses of mild bad language, including the terms 'bastard' and 'bloody'.
moderate violence, sex references
Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a Hindi language drama about an Indian man who takes on the mission of returning a little girl to her parents - across the border in Pakistan.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan is the highest-grossing Indian film to receive a 12A certificate.
There is some moderate violence when a character beats up some characters by throwing them through windows. There are beatings by police and soldiers as a character is struck with sticks and blows. The character has his face dunked in water and there is brief detail of his bruises and injuries.
A character walks into a brothel where there are some prostitutes in bedrooms, seen with male clients.
There is use of mild bad language (eg 'bloody', 'shit') and some mild threat when a little girl falls off a cliff and hangs on to a mountain tree.
contains strong fantasy violence and sustained threat
The Dark Knight is a superhero film based on the DC comic character Batman as he continues his war on crime in the city of Gotham.
Read more about how we classified The Dark Knight.
Batman is seen repeatedly beating the Joker during an interrogation, but this is without both impact and injury detail. In another scene, a character pushes a man's head down onto a pencil, killing him; again, there is no impact or injury detail. During gun fights, people are shot down and killed but this is without sight of blood and injury.
There is a sustained sense of threat throughout. The Joker is shown continually threatening both individuals and large groups of people in various situations; in one scene, there is moderate knife threat as he plays a knife over both a man and woman
A character suffers injury to their face and parts of their skin have been totally burned away.
moderate violence, intense battle scenes
Avatar is a science fiction action adventure film about a man whose genetically engineered human-alien hybrid has been grown on a planet and is intended to persuade the indigenous population to relocate and allow the human military to drill for valuable minerals.
There are some battle scenes where characters are killed or injured. There is sight of arrows piercing bodies, and heavy kicks and punches. A fantastical creature is repeatedly stabbed.
Some battle scenes are prolonged and intense and feature threat to heroic characters.
There is moderate and mild bad language. There is a mild sex reference when a female character states that she and a male character 'mated'.
moderate violence, injury detail, rude gesture
Black Panther is a US action adventure in which the king of a hidden kingdom must prevent a rival from unleashing war on the world.
Looking to watch the film with your kids? Download our free movie pack.
There are battles with swords, spears, guns and fantastical weapons. The violence includes slashes, stabs and hand-to-hand combat. A character breaks another's arm, and a warrior's throat is cut, but without strong detail.
A torso wound is shown during a healing process. Other injuries, sometimes bloody, are seen briefly and without strong detail.
During a comic scene, a character gives a middle-finger gesture. There is also use of mild bad language ('shit'), as well as milder terms such as 'hell'.
A fantastical mind-altering potion is drunk during a ceremonial ritual.
contains moderate sex references and violence
Die Another Day is a 2002 James Bond film, in which Bond is sent to investigate the connection between a North Korean terrorist and a diamond mogul, who is funding the development of an international space weapon.
Die Another Day was the first James Bond film to receive a 12A rating.
moderate violence, language
Iron Man is a sci-fi action film about an American industrialist who creates an armoured suit to fight evil.
Iron Man was the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There are frequent scenes of moderate action violence including gunfire and explosions, although this often involves men in robotic suits. Injury detail is infrequent and lacks bloody detail, including a scene in which pieces of shrapnel are removed from a man's chest, and an action sequence in which a man is engulfed by flames. We also see an electromagnet being implanted and removed from a man's chest cavity.
There is one use of moderate bad language ('prick') and some use of mild bad language (‘son of a bitch’).
There are also infrequent mild sex references, with sexual activity being implied, such as a man and woman kissing on a bed, three clothed women dancing provocatively in front of two men, and a reference to a man’s conduct with some magazine ‘cover models’.
contains moderate fantasy violence and horror
Twilight is a fantasy romance drama about a young woman who falls in love with a vampire.
Occasional scenes of threat feature, including the protagonist being followed and briefly harassed by a group of men in a dark alley.
A single hard drugs reference occurs in which the male protagonist compares the female's scent to being like a drug, describing it as 'my own personal brand of heroin.'
There is also a mild sex reference in which the protagonist's mother asks her if she is 'being safe' with her boyfriend.
There are occasional scenes of moderate violence, often with a fantastical element as the combatants are vampires. However, stronger moments occur, including a moment when a man stamps on a woman's thigh with the implication her bone has been broken, and a male character's neck being broken.
infrequent strong language
Top Gun: Maverick is an action drama in which a top US airman is tasked with training test pilots in preparation for a dangerous mission.
There is infrequent strong language ('f**k'), middle finger gestures, and milder terms (for example, 'dickhead', 'son of a bitch', 'shit', 'balls', 'ass', 'hell', 'damn', 'Jesus', 'God').
There is also mild violence and associated threat, including undetailed sight of planes being shot at and blown up. There are also references to illness, upsetting scenes, and a brief mild sex scene.
BBFC Podcast Episode 97 - 12A/12
In this podcast, we discuss both categories and the wide range of audience they capture discussing classification issues such as discrimination, humour and threat.
The BBFC announced in September 2000 that it would look at the possibility of making the 12 cinema category an advisory category, like U and PG.