The British Board of Film Classification – the body which gives films their classification from ‘U’ through to ‘18’ –  is taking a tougher stance on violence in films aimed at young teenagers than its US counterpart, reveals the organisation’s 2007 Annual Report, published today.

Drawing attention to instances where films were rejected for a ‘12A’ classification in favour of a tougher ‘15’ rating, David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said:

“In 2007 several blockbuster Hollywood cinema films came in to the BBFC for classification having received a ‘PG13’ classification (cautioning parents but allowing unrestricted access for children of any age) in the USA. In a number of cases, the distributor request for a ‘12A’ classification was refused and the films were all classified ‘15’.

The Board’s view was that, based on the extensive public consultation exercises, the films went beyond what most members of the UK public would consider appropriate for children younger than fifteen. In each case, the Board’s own judgement was that the films were likely to be disturbing to many younger children.  Around ten percent of films each year which come in with a particular category request end up with a higher one than asked for.

These decisions mark an increasing divergence between the US approach to classification for adolescents and young teenagers, and the position taken by the BBFC in the UK. While the US body, the industry-led Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), takes a strict line on issues relating to nudity and sex, the BBFC is significantly more restrictive on violence and horror.”

The BBFC 2007 Annual Report is available from the BBFC and is also available to download on