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Case studies

Welcome to the BBFC case studies. Written by BBFC staff, our case studies explore why a film has a particular age rating, if it was 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, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,) without prior written permission from the BBFC.  You should email us if you wish to reproduce any of these materials.

Our film case studies tell you why we made certain decisions and offer background information that you won’t find anywhere else. Find out why some films and their BBFC age rating were discussed in the news media, what films received complaints about their age rating, and which were praised.

Browse our From The Archive case studieto see fascinating historical artefacts from our archives and listen to our popular Podcasts

Some case studies are for films you will definitely have heard of, like A Clockwork Orange. Others like Freaks are lesser known but important films. Some are films like Juno and Fight Club that you might know of but weren’t aware 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 IntoFilm. We no longer classify video games but there are some video games case studies which offer a historical view of how we classified some well-known video games.

We regularly update our 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.


A Clockwork Orange

Genre: Drama

An interesting history accompanies Stanley Kubrick's grim view of the future. The BBFC was initially shown a screenplay based on Anthony Burgess's novel in 1967 and advised the distributors that a film showing 'an unrelieved diet of vicious violence and hooliganism' would be unlikely to be...

A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints

Genre: Comedy, Drama

It is summer in New York in 1986, and adolescent Dito Montiel is dealing with growing up, gangs, his family and friends - and his future. In that future, in 2006, the adult Dito looks back on what happened that summer to determine the course of his life, and the lives of his friends.The film was...

A Monster Calls

Genre: Drama

A Monster Calls is a British adaptation of the book of the same name by Patrick Ness, and explores the themes of bereavement and isolation. It follows Conor, a young lad whose beloved and devoted mother is seriously ill. As her condition worsens others take over his care, but he has little in...

A Quiet Place

Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery

A Quiet Place is a US drama/horror film from actor-director John Krasinski who also stars with his real-life wife, Emily Blunt, as a married couple with children living in extraordinary circumstances. Earth has been invaded by deadly alien creatures which are blind but possess hyper-sensitive...

A Serbian Film - Srpski Film

Genre: Drama, Horror

The 2010 Serbian language drama, subtitled in English, tells the story of a retired Serbian porn star, Milos, who is tempted to make one final film by an offer of money from a mysterious director.  The film's would-be director, Vukmir Vukmir, tells him that the film is intended as an 'artistic...


Genre: Drama

Noel Clarke’s 2008 sequel to Menhaj Huda’s Kidulthood (classified 15) takes up the story of Sam on his release from prison after serving a six year sentence. Sam is faced with trying to put right some of the damage he has done by his killing of Trife, and with dealing with the people seeking...


Genre: Documentary

Amy is British director Asif Kapadia's documentary about the life of singer Amy Winehouse, who was found dead at her London home in July 2011.

An Education

Genre: Drama

An Education is a critically acclaimed British drama based on the memoirs of popular, and occasionally controversial, newspaper journalist, Lynne Barber. It tracks a young woman in the 1960s as she goes through a life-changing year – seduced and enthralled by what appears to be a sophisticated...


Genre: Drama, Horror

Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist is an English language drama about a couple whose young child dies. It was described by its director as a horror film and contained several strong images which required consideration when it arrived at the BBFC in 2009.

Apocalypse Now

Genre: Drama

Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now was one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the 1970s. The wunderkind director had shot to prominence with his direction of The Godfather (1972) and was at the vanguard of the new ‘Movie Brats’ auteurs, along with Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and...

Attack The Block

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction

Attack The Block is a British horror movie directed by comedian Joe Cornish. It is set in a South London housing estate and follows a group of teen muggers, who form an unlikely alliance with a nurse they have robbed, when aliens attack their tower block.