Theatrical ratings
The BBFC classifies films on behalf of the local authorities who license cinemas under the Licensing Act 2003.

All feature films, short films and trailers which are to be shown theatrically must be submitted to the BBFC, unless permission has been granted by the local authority in the area that the work is being shown.

Films and trailers should be submitted in the format that they are going to be released i.e. content to be released digitally must be submitted as a DCP with relevant KDM, likewise 3D content must be submitted in 3D etc.  All content submitted for classification must be the full, final edit, in the correct screen ratio and with the final sound mix.

Historic BBFC 'black cards' or ratings cards issued by another regulator or classification body should be removed prior to submission. This is to avoid any potential misunderstanding or conflict with the current BBFC classification.

Read our technical requirements.

Any content to be released in both 2D and 3D may require separate submissions as the different formats may raise differing classification issues. We apply a concessionary rate in some cases. 

Any content submitted for a theatrical age rating does not need to be retained by the BBFC and you can arrange to collect it following the classification decision. Any theatrical submissions not collected will be retained for two months, after which time they will be destroyed.

In order to submit a work please make a submission on our client portal - BBFC Horizon. You will need to request a date, please note slots are issued on a first come, first served basis. 

If you do not have an account, please request one.

Please deliver your DCP to the BBFC offices here, or send the content via LANsat, MovieTransit, or QubeWire. Trailers can be delivered by direct upload to Horizon.

Content submitted digitally must arrive, along with payment, by the delivery deadline. Any KDMs or download links must be emailed to projection@bbfc.co.uk by the same deadline. If you have any questions, contact Projection on 020 7440 1570. 

Alternatively external viewings can be arranged depending on availability. Please contact the Client Helpline.

Details of fees and service charges are laid out on our website.

We can also give you advice as to what rating an unfinished work may receive.  We recommend using this service when you require a specific rating for your film or trailer. Advice viewing fees can be found on our Fee Tariff.

Reclassification of Films Being Re-Released in UK Cinemas

If we previously classified a film and you wish to re-release it theatrically with a BBFC certificate and black card, you may need to submit it to us for a new age rating. Our guidance on reclassification gives detail about how to do this.

IMAX

The BBFC does not have an IMAX screen, so viewings of some IMAX films or trailers will be arranged at an external screen. Our Helpline will help you schedule this.

You will need to obtain an age rating for your IMAX work when one or more of the following is applicable:

  • The film is only being released in the IMAX format.
  • The film contains scenes shot in IMAX.
  • The film is being shown on an IMAX screen with an altered aspect ratio in comparison to the original release format

ā€‹4DX

4DX exhibition does not require a separate submission and age rating in addition to the regular DCP version of the film sent to us for classification.

ScreenX

ScreenX titles contain additional footage compared to the main theatrical version and so need to be viewed and classified separately.  Please note the BBFC does not have ScreenX screen and so viewings of ScreenX works must be arranged at an external screen. Please contact the Helpline.

Black Cards

Feature films and short films will be issued with a black card which includes the title, BBFC register number and age rating symbol. Black Cards are issued in an electronic format and will be available to download on your requested classification date. The Black Card should appear at the start of the film for five seconds.

Trailers do not receive Black Cards. The appropriate age rating should be displayed on screen for five seconds at the start of the trailer.

Student Short Films

We support student and emerging filmmakers by offering a discount when we classify their short films, subject to certain qualifying criteria. Please contact our Helpline for more information on the Qualifying Criteria for Student Short Films.

Displaying Ratings info on posters

Download our guidance on displaying Ratings info on posters and advertisements.