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From the Archive

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 Hard Day’s Night

Tags: archive, beatles, 60s, music, language

It’s been 50 years since the UK leg of The Beatles first world tour. Having just returned from Australia, the Fab Four kicked off the tour in Brighton on 12 July 1964. Just six days earlier, the film A Hard Day’s Night was released in cinemas in the UK.

Absolute Beginners (1986)

Tags: archive, musical

Absolute Beginners is a British musical about 1950s London starring David Bowie, Patsy Kensit and Eddie O'Connell.



Before going into production, Alfie (1966) arrived at the BBFC for script advice in May 1965. This is not unusual, since its formation in 1912, the BBFC has provided feedback on scripts and books for film adaptation. 



Alien first appeared in 1979 and since then HR Giger’s biomechanical nightmare has never really left our screens, appearing in six motion pictures (or seven if you count Predator 2) and countless comic books and video games.With Ridley Scott revisiting the Alien universe this month in Prometheus,...

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

Tags: archive, drama, romance

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) came to the BBFC for classification in August 1982. The story of a disadvantaged boy joining the Navy and determined to survive the gruelling thirteen week training course to become a pilot, clearly had appeal to older teenagers. A tale of determination and...