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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.


Mad Max (1979)

Tags: archive, action, drama

Mad Max is set in Australia in the near future, and follows a cop who embarks on a mission of vengeance against a lawless biker gang and its sadistic leader. The film arrived at the BBFC for classification in June 1979. One Examiner described it as a "very tough film", yet for the most part...

Midnight Run (1988)

Tags: case study, archive

When the BBFC first examined the film, in July 1988, the examiners considered the comedy, violence and tone of the film to be suitable at 15. However, they did pause over the frequency of strong language, totalling around 120 uses of 'f**k'. One examiner's report describes how, although the strong...

Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975)

Tags: comedy

The script for Monty Python and The Holy Grail was sent to the BBFC for advice in 1974.