As Christopher Nolan brings his Batman trilogy to a close with The Dark Knight Rises this month, we’re looking back to 1989 when Tim Burton’s Batman first arrived at the BBFC.

The modern U, PG, 15 and 18 categories were introduced in 1982.  However it became apparent that there was a need to cater for films which sat between PG and 15.  So in 1989 the BBFC introduced the 12 certificate and the first film to be given this rating was Batman.

BBFC examiners found that the film had a much darker tone than previous incarnations of the character and considered the Joker as being potentially scary for young children.  The film’s tonal qualities with overtones of horror precluded a PG.  But examiners made the case that a 15 classification would be too high and would prevent younger teenagers, who would be a natural audience for the film, from seeing it.

Originally posted July 18th, 2012.