Films on the curriculum

Our case studies give your students the opportunity to find out all the key information about a film’s classification and can help them understand more about the BBFC’s role in the film industry and wider media regulation landscape. 

We’ve produced case studies for key films appearing on the GCSE and A-Level film and media studies exam specifications. You can either download our free classroom handout or check our web pages.

GCSE Film Studies 

WJEC / Eduqas Exam specification

Module: Global Film: Narrative, Representation and Film Style / English Language Film

  • An Education is a critically acclaimed British drama based on the memoirs of popular, and occasionally controversial, newspaper journalist, Lynne Barber. 
  • Attack The Block is a British horror movie directed by comedian Joe Cornish. It is set in a South London housing estate and follows a group of teen muggers, who form an unlikely alliance with a nurse they have robbed, when aliens attack their tower block.
  • Wadjda is a sweet, insightful and uplifting story about a young Saudi Arabian girl who steadfastly defies the social and cultural rules of her community in order to make her dreams of owning and riding a bike happen. 

Module: Key Developments in US Film / Comparative study (1931 - 1960 / 1961 - 1990

  • Grease came to the BBFC for classification in June 1978. A musical romance, set in the 1950s, and starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, the film follows the story of a pair of teenagers who fall in love despite their differences.
  • Rebel Without A Cause, directed by Nicholas Ray, follows the story of troubled teen Jim Stark, who moves to a new town in an attempt to make a fresh start, but finds being the new kid in town brings its own problems. 

Module: Key Developments in US Film / US Independent Film

  • Juno is a comedy drama about a streetwise 16 year old girl who gets pregnant and decides to give the baby up for adoption. It was submitted to the BBFC with a PG request. 
  • Little Miss Sunshine. An unremarkable little girl called Olive harbours an ambition to win the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant in California. 

A Level Film Studies

WJEC / Eduqas Exam specification

Module: Documentary film

  • Amy is British director Asif Kapadia's documentary about the life of singer Amy Winehouse, who was found dead at her London home in July 2011.

Module: American Film / Hollywood Comparative study (1930 - 1960 / 1961 - 1990)

  • Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now was one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the 1970s. 
  • Casablanca is a romantic drama about an American expatriate who meets a former lover in Morocco during the early days of World War II. 
  • In 1958 Vertigo was released to mixed reviews and box office indifference, alongside complaints that the narrative was too long and complicated. 

Module: Global Film / Outside Europe

  • Dil Se.. (Mani Ratnam, 1998) is a Hindi language Indian romantic thriller that blends Bollywood spectacle with an arthouse sensibility. 

Module: Global Film / European Film

  • Pan's Labyrinth is a 2006 Spanish fantasy drama. Set in 1944 in Spain's post-civil war era, Pan's Labyrinth follows the story of a young girl named Ofelia who, with her pregnant mother, moves to a rural area to live with her ruthless stepfather. 

Module: Global Film / Film movements - Experimental film (1960-2000)

  • Pulp Fiction was submitted for classification in August 1994. The film had recently won the Palme D'Or award at Cannes Film Festival in May 1994 and was Quentin Tarantino's second feature film, following the success of Reservoir Dogs (1992).

Module: British film since 1995

  • Fish Tank is a British drama about a marginalised young woman, Mia, on the verge of sexual and social expression. 
  • Shaun of the Dead is a horror comedy directed by Edgar Wright, written by the director with his long-term collaborator Simon Pegg, who appears in the title role.
  • This is England was awarded an 18 certificate in 2007 for very strong racist violence. 
  • The main classification issue in Trainspotting is drug use and there are several detailed scenes of heroin abuse throughout the film. 
  • We Need To Talk About Kevin is an adaptation of a critically acclaimed and shocking Lionel Shriver novel about a mother trying to come to terms with her son’s high school killing spree.

Module: American film since 2005 / Contemporary American Independent Cinema (post 2005)

  • 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.​​​​​​​
  • Ava DuVernay’s Selma (2014) is a powerful historical drama based on the events of the Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches of 1965. 
  • The film Sweet Sixteen deals with the life of teenager Liam (Martin Compston), growing up in the tough estates of Greenock, Scotland. 
  • Winter’s Bone is the second feature-length work by director Debra Granik, who also wrote the screenplay. 
  • Much like the novel on which it is based, Carol explores themes of love and desire set against a backdrop of social and legal discrimination.  

OCR

Module: Film Form in US Cinema from the Silent Era to 1990 / US 1961 - 1990

  • Do The Right Thing was first released in 1989 and is one of Spike Lee's early works. The film is a US drama about the simmering tensions in a multi-racial community.

Module: Ideology / Outsiders

  • Indie director Gus Van Sant's Elephant explores the build-up to a high school shooting from a variety of viewpoints, including those of the student killers.

Module: Critical Approaches to Film / Contemporary British and US Film

  • Pride is a British comedy drama, from 2014, in which an LGBTQ+ group raises money in support of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984. 
  • The Hunger Games is the film adaptation of the first in Suzanne Collins’ international bestselling trilogy set in a futuristic, dystopian world. 
  • Disney’s Zootropolis (Rich Moore, Byron Howard, Jared Bush) is set in a fictional city in which animals live in harmony together in the big smoke.
  • Star Wars – The Force Awakens, the hotly anticipated sequel to one of the most successful franchises of all time, arrived at the BBFC just a few days ahead of its release date.