Here are the rules or Guidelines that BBFC Examiners use to help decide if a work is suitable for being passed out at U, PG, 12A or 12.
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U - Universal
Suitable for All
Different children are upset by different things, so it is sometimes difficult to say what might upset a particular child. However, U films should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over. If there is any violence, threat or horror in a U film, it should be over quickly and the film should tell children that everything will turn out okay. Films and DVDs for children should make clear to them the difference between right and wrong.
- Theme/Topics - Films and DVDs should be about subjects which are generally suitable for younger audiences.
- Language - There should be very little mild bad language.
- Nudity - There can be occasional glimpses of people who have no clothes on, as long as they are not linked to romantic activities.
- Sex and relationships - Only mild references (e.g. to 'making love') and mild behaviour (e.g. kissing) are allowed.
- Violence and Threat - Mild violence only. Some mild threat and menace are allowed.
- Dangerous Behaviour - There should be no dangerous behaviour that can be easily copied by young children.
- Weapons - There should be no focus on weapons that are realistic or easy to get hold of.
- Horror - Moments with ghosts, witches and monsters should be over quickly and not be too scary. Nothing at U should really frighten or disturb young viewers. The film or DVD should tell children that everything is okay.
- Drugs - Drugs should not be mentioned, unless the film or DVD teaches that drugs are dangerous.
- Discrimination - There can be no language or behaviour shown that would offend a person’s religion, colour, gender, sexuality or disability, unless the film or DVD teaches it to be wrong.
Examples of films passed U include Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang and The Princess & the Frog.
PG - Parental Guidance
Can be viewed by all ages, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children.
Children of any age may watch a PG rated film or DVD, with or without an adult. A 'PG' film should not trouble or worry a child aged eight or older. However the PG does tell parents that the content of the film may upset younger or more sensitive children.
- Theme/Topics - Films and DVDs may be about more grown up topics such as crime, racism, bullying or violence in the home. There must be nothing which suggests these are good things.
- Language - Mild bad language only.
- Nudity - Some nudity is allowed, but not if it is linked to romantic activities.
- Sex and Relationships - Sex can be mentioned, suggested or joked about, but only discreetly.
- Violence and Threat - There can be stronger violence than at U, but without detail. Violence which takes place in a comedy, fantasy, or historical film may be treated less strictly.
- Dangerous Behaviour - There should be no detail of fighting techniques or other harmful and dangerous activities that children might easily copy.
- Weapons - There should be no focus on weapons that are realistic or easy to get hold of. Weapons should not be made to look attractive.
- Horror - Frightening scenes should not be too long or scary. Horror scenes which are part of a fantasy film may be treated less strictly.
- Drugs - There should be no mention of illegal drugs or drug taking unless completely harmless, or the film carries an anti-drug message.
- Discrimination - There can be no language or behaviour shown that would offend a person’s religion, colour, gender, sexuality or disability, unless the film or DVD teaches it to be wrong or is presented within an educational or historical context. Discrimination by a character who is seen as a hero by the audience is also unlikely to be allowed.
Examples of films passed PG include How to Train Your Dragon and Tooth Fairy.