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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.


L'Empire Des Sens (In The Realm Of The Senses)

Genre: Drama

Nagisa Oshima's 1976 study of erotic obsession had already caused difficulties in the US (where the print was seized by Customs) and Japan (where the book of the film was prosecuted for obscenity), before it arrived in the UK. The film was first shown here at the 1976 London Film Festival, where...

La Bete - The Beast

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Walerian Borowczyk's 1975 fantasy began life as one of the five segments of his critically acclaimed portmanteau film, Immoral Tales (1974).  Borowczyk's French producer persuaded him to remove the sequence in question, a bizarre and explicit variant on the Beauty and the Beast story, and to...

La Haine

Genre: Drama

The black-and-white urban drama La Haine (English translation, "Hate") was submitted for classification in October 1995.  Its history at the BBFC illustrates how examiners' contrasting interpretations of a film could sometimes lead them to different decisions.  

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Horror

In June 2001, the big budget film version of the phenomenally successful video game series was submitted to the BBFC for an advice viewing.

Last Tango In Paris

Genre: Drama

Bernardo Bertolucci's story about a purely physical relationship between two characters who meet in Paris (played by Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider) was submitted to the BBFC at the end of 1972. It had already caused controversy at the New York Film Festival in October 1972 but had also...

Let Me In

Genre: Drama, Horror

Let Me In is a US remake of the Swedish film Låt Den Rätte Komma In - Let The Right One In.  That film was based on a bestselling vampire fiction novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, published in 2004 and translated into several languages, including English.  The original film garnered huge critical...

Little Miss Sunshine

Genre: Comedy

An unremarkable little girl called Olive harbours an ambition to win the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant in California. For a variety of reasons, she ends up making the journey there with her dysfunctional family that includes a grandfather with a drug habit, a brother who refuses to talk, a...

Love + Hate

Genre: Drama

Interracial relationships and the sometimes extreme reactions to them are the subject of this British film - and this theme proved to be one of the important classification issues.The film was submitted for age rating in November 2005, though it was not due for release until 2006. Examiners who...

Love, Simon

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Love, Simon is a US romantic comedy drama, based on a book called Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. The story concerns a teenage boy who begins an email correspondence with a stranger, during which they discuss their feelings of apprehension about telling their family and friends that they are...