Here are some of the frequently asked questions from teachers about the BBFC and our education work.

The BBFC's cinema age ratings only apply to films shown in licensed cinemas. If you are taking a school group to the cinema for a standard screening where you are paying to view the film, the normal rules and laws apply.  You may not take a 14-year-old to see a 15-rated film or a 16-year-old to see an 18-rated film.

The age rating for a DVD, video or Blu-ray explains which audience we believe the film is suitable for, and applies to point of sale or rental rather than to where the material is viewed. It is not actually illegal for schools to show BBFC-rated videos, DVDs or Blu-rays to its pupils of any age, just as parents may also choose to show any material to children in the home. Merely showing an age-restricted film to underaged persons - or allowing them to see one outside a licensed cinema - is not in itself an offence.

We would, however, strongly discourage such a practice unless (a) the children in question are close to the age of the rating, and (b) there is a serious educational purpose to showing the recording (eg showing well-known content or educational films such as 15-rated Schindler's List to 14-year-old GCSE students). Even in such cases, schools should seek parental consent prior to showing the film. We would also recommend obtaining the approval of the Head Teacher and Governors. It is vital to make sure that any children watching are not likely to suffer any ill effects as a result of seeing the film.

From 30 July 2012:

With a few exceptions, the responsibility for age rating video games moved to the Video Standards Council Rating Board (VSC), applying the PEGI system. The BBFC will continue to age rate all games featuring strong pornographic (R18 level) content and ancillary games attached to a wider, primarily linear submission.

The BBFC will also continue to age rate all non-game linear content on a game disc, such as trailers and featurettes.

Video games eligible for age rating by the BBFC are considered under the same Guidelines as films or DVDs.

Before July 2012:

Under the Video Recordings Act (VRA) 1984, most video games are exempt from BBFC age ratings. However, they may lose this exemption - and therefore require a formal BBFC age rating - if they depict, to any significant extent, gross violence against humans or animals, human sexual activity, human urinary or excretory functions or genital organs, or techniques likely to be useful in the commission of offences.

In the early days of video games, the quality of graphics was so low that, even when 'human' or 'animal' characters were depicted, they were unlikely to be realistic enough to be covered by the Act. However, the increasing sophistication of computer graphics means that now a number of games require classification, usually because they contain violence against realistic human figures. In some cases, games may also need to be submitted to the BBFC because they contain non-interactive video elements (eg trailers or film clips) that do not enjoy the same exemption as interactive games.

Games that retain their exemption - for example because they do not feature violence or sex involving realistic human figures - are classified under the PEGI system, a voluntary pan-European rating system.  In the UK the system is administered by the Video Standards Council Rating Board (VSC), who also advises publishers on whether or not their game requires a formal BBFC classification.

We are happy to provide access to BBFC files which are over 20 years old, but this may be subject to a fee as many older files are kept in deep storage. Click here for more information.  You can also also check information on titles on this website, using the search option.

Case Studies written by Compliance and Policy staff are available on many films, videos, DVDs and video games.

Our website aimed at children aged seven and over includes resources for use in the classroom and at home, plus information for parents and teachers. Click here

The Video Recordings Act (VRA) 1984 makes it illegal to supply any video or DVD within the UK which has not been age rated by the BBFC. There are some exceptions to this (eg educational works or works predominantly concerned with sport, religion and music) but all feature films and most TV programmes issued on DVD must be rated.

Although it is not a Customs offence to import an unrated video or DVD, it must be for your personal use only and the content must not breach the UK law (eg Obscene Publications Acts 1959 and 1964, Protection of Children Act 1978).

You are therefore entitled to purchase unrated videos or DVDs whilst abroad, provided they contain no illegal material and are solely for personal use.

Full age rating histories are available on this website. The information dates back to 1912 and notes ratings given and where applicable details cuts made (usually including the length of the cut and a brief indication as to what was removed). It will also include modern age ratings of the same works, noting when a film was resubmitted and how it was rated.

We can provide a free classroom resource of a large wall poster, with a quick introduction to the BBFC and how we work, plus some useful facts and stats about age ratings and recent decisions. Order here.

Our content advice provides a brief one line description of the key issues in a work (for example warning of strong language in a 15 film), as well as detailed information on the content of all feature films classified since July 2007.

Details of all cuts made to works are published on this website. This includes the amount of material removed, a brief description of the content and the usual legal reasons for the cut or cuts.

We often hosting screenings as part of the Into Film Festival. The event aims to help educators bring learning to life for 5-19 year olds by inspiring young people to watch, make and understand film in new and creative ways. BBFC Compliance Officers sometimes introducing screenings for both primary and secondary school audiences. The festival's film screenings and filmmaking workshops have clear learning outcomes - outcomes that support education and personal development, as well as helping to build a lifelong passion for film.

Case Studies have been written for all films that will be introduced by BBFC Compliance Officers. There is also detailed information or content advice on the films' issues which can be found on this website.

More information about the events and booking places for sessions near you can be found at on the Into Film festival website.

Recruitment is through advertisement in the national press and on this website. We employ Compliance Officers from a wide variety of backgrounds. A broad knowledge of film or digital media is required, as well as an ability to grasp age ratings issues such as violence, imitable behaviour, sexual portrayal and drugs.

We also look for an understanding of child development and an interest in effects and opinion evidence. We are unable to employ anyone under the age of 18 because of their possible exposure to age restricted material while working here. We also include Compliance Officers of various ethnic backgrounds, in part to help deal with foreign language films and DVDs, where knowledge of the culture of the country is as important as fluency in the language.

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer any work experience or work placement schemes at the moment, despite popular demand. From time to time there are opportunities for work shadowing and work experience placements. These are only available to applicants aged 18 or over, because of the amount of highly sensitive, unrated and age restricted material found in the building at any one time! Staff undergo extensive training to deal with such material, and are all over 18.

Opportunities will be published on this website when they arise in the Work For Us section.

Compliance Officers are available for a limited number of student presentations throughout the year and currently host such events throughout the UK at schools, colleges and film festivals.

Given the amount of time and money it takes to organise for a Compliance Officer to visit, we are keen to undertake visits that involve speaking to larger numbers of students. If you would like to request a speaker, please fill in this form.

We also host video conference and Skype sessions, in which Compliance Officers can answer students' questions and discuss films, censorship and classification.  For more information click here.

Yes, time and resources permitting, Compliance Officers are happy to speak to students or answer questions by email. We ask that students search this website and read the Student FAQs first so they don’t ask repeat questions and that questions aren’t simply essay questions set by teachers.

Yes, we usually run a number of in-house seminars which can be booked and paid for online. Resources are limited so it is worth booking early. Please read the introduction to seminars and information about the sort of material likely to be discussed before booking and let us know of any special requirements through the booking form.

We also host video conference and Skype sessions, in which Compliance Officers can answer students' questions and discuss films, censorship and classification.  For more information click here.

The BBFC Annual Reports contain a more detailed overview of recent decisions, and there will be more information about certain films in our Press Releases.

These can be found in the Media Centre.

Yes, of course. Please contact us, explain which work you would like to see discussed and why, and we will add it to our list of requests. If we cannot provide a Case Study, we can point you to other resources on this website which might help with your research.

Yes these are available in the Downloads section of the website.

The most recent guidelines are available to download and hard copies are available from our Press Office. The research document which accompanies the current guidelines is also available to download.

Yes, as long as we have the staff available we are happy to come and give talks to adult groups explaining how we rate films and what resources we have available to parents. Talks are illustrated with clips from films and we can tailor them to specific topics if necessary - for example issues in children's films or violence in movies. Please email us for more details.