Another sort of film rating…



Where would we be without film ratings? As a kid a high rating kept me from so many films and while my 18th birthday is now just a distant memory it still feels like a ‘big’ event each time I can see an 18 certificate film.

The BBFC censors have an odd attitude to sex, drugs and rock n’roll – lets take a look at a few films they rated but never actually seem to have watched…

Beowulf (2007) – its CGI so it must be for kids, right? Beowulf featured graphic violence and dismemberment, our hero fighting while naked, a deformed monster, an elderly man’s suicide and full frontal nudity from Angelina Jolie. The BBFC decided it was all good fun and gave the film a 12A.

Our rating:

Beowulf is a hard 15 certificate.

Jaws (1975) – Spielberg made one of the most definitive horror films ever made. An entire generation grew up fearing shark attacks (though more die from bee stings each year). Jaws is a masterpiece in film making with relentless tension, graphic violence and pure terror. The BBFC must have thought this was a film about James Bond’s nemesis and gave this a PG. Utterly baffling.

Our rating:

Jaws is terrifying. Dodgy effects keep this from an 18, so we settle on a 15 certificate.

Star Wars (1977) – everyone loves Star Wars, children, adults – everyone. The BBFC gave it a U rating – suitable for all. Let’s take a closer look. Star Wars features Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru being burnt to death, a guys arm being severed, Jawa massacre, intergalactic genocide and Greedo being fried. Not to mention anti-droid racism. Star Wars is surprisingly violent.

Our rating:

Star Wars is a PG film through and through.

The Terminator (1984) – released with an 18 certificate (now downgraded) Terminator looks positively tame these days – and probably fairly team by 80’s standards too. Sure a punk has his heart removed and we see the sweet, sweet act of love but Terminator is just a lot of fun.

Our rating:

Terminator is the quintessential 15 certificate film.

Goldeneye (1995) – the BBFC seemed unsure about Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as Bond. Its theatrical release was cut and awarded a 12A, but the DVD has gained a 15 certificate. It features fully clothed sex and Sean Bean but I really struggle to find anything that compares with Licence to Kill’s multiple shark attack scenes (which earned that film a 15). No swearing, little blood and a nice tale of good vs bad – 15 is harsh.

Our rating:

This needs to go back to the original 12A rating.

Transformers (2007) and Transformers Revenge of the Fallen (2009) – in America only Spielbergs direct appeal to the US censors got this downgraded from an ‘R’ to a PG-13. In the UK it earned a 12A – despite every shot of Megan Fox being soft core porn. Sexual innuendos and relentless swearing – (in a giant toy commercial) where totally inappropriate. Oh, we have plenty of drug references too.

Our rating:

Transformers just gets a 12A but Revenge of the Fallen is a 15.

Kick Ass (2010) – a coming of age comic book film sounds friendly enough. Kick Ass features children beaten about the head, enemies being cooked, sliced, crushed and exploded and relentless swearing. Oh and Nicolas Cage burnt to death. This was nasty violence – but a 15 certificate was seen as adequate. Kick Ass is among the most disturbing films I have ever seen at the cinema.

Our rating:

Kick Ass is a cast iron 18 certificate.

Any films ratings that had you scratching your head? Post a comment, lets hear your views!


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2 Responses to “Another sort of film rating…”

  1. Alex Lowery Says:

    I really don’t get why THOR is a 12A. I think that could easily get away with being a 12.

  2. Alex Lowery Says:

    I correct my previous comment. I think THOR should be a PG, not a 12A.

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