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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.


Fight Club

Genre: Drama

"The first rule of Fight Club is: 'You don't talk about Fight Club'. The second rule of Fight Club is: "You don't talk about Fight Club". Thus runs the tagline for this David Fincher film submitted to the BBFC in 1999.

Fish Tank

Genre: Drama

Fish Tank is a British drama about a marginalised young woman, Mia, on the verge of sexual and social expression. Throughout the film she attempts to forge a relationship with her mother’s boyfriend and find a ‘way out’ of her life on a council estate, where she has been excluded from school and...

Frances Ha

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Frances Ha (2012) is a US comedy drama shot in black and white. It is an independent film directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner as best friends Frances and Sophie.


Genre: Drama, Horror

Tod Browning’s 1932 film, Freaks, has a long and interesting history with the BBFC. The film was allegedly inspired by Browning’s own recollections of circus life and the ‘sideshow freaks’ that often made up a part of the draw for circuses in those days. When the film was initially released it was...