BBFC, The Difference Between a 15 and 18 Certificate

Posted by Charlie Aldridge on 15:49:00

The BBFC are the British Board of Film Classification, they decide what certificate movies and some video games should be. they often create up roar is some believe their classification is inappropriate.
They take many factors into concideration when classifying a film. They look at Discrimination, Drugs, Horror, Imitable behaviour, Language, Nudity, Sex, Theme and Violence
For a 15 they classify using the following list.
The work as a whole must not endorse discriminatory
language or behaviour.
Drug taking may be shown but the film as a whole must not
promote or encourage drug misuse. The misuse of easily
accessible and highly dangerous substances (for example,
aerosols or solvents) is unlikely to be acceptable.
Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic
or sexualised.
Imitable behaviour
Dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and
self-harming) should not dwell on detail which could be
copied. Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised.
There may be frequent use of strong language (for example,
‘fuck’). The strongest terms (for example, ‘cunt’) may be
acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated
use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable.
Nudity may be allowed in a sexual context but without
strong detail. There are no constraints on nudity in a
non-sexual or educational context.
Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail.
There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour,
but the strongest references are unlikely to be acceptable
unless justified by context. Works whose primary purpose is
sexual arousal or stimulation are unlikely to be acceptable.
No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is
appropriate for 15 year olds.
Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction
of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to
be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also
unlikely to be acceptable.
There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence
but any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and
have a strong contextual justification."

For an 18 movie the criteria is the same as the 15 criteria but there are additions involving sexual acts.
"Sex education at ‘18’
Where sex material genuinely seeks to inform and
educate in matters such as human sexuality, safer
sex and health, explicit images of sexual activity may
be permitted.
Sex works at ‘18’
Sex works are works whose primary purpose is sexual
arousal or stimulation. Sex works containing only material
which may be simulated are generally passed ‘18’. Sex
works containing clear images of real sex, strong fetish
material, sexually explicit animated images, or other
very strong sexual images will be confined to the ‘R18’
category. Material which is unacceptable in a sex work
at ‘R18’ is also unacceptable in a sex work at ‘18’. "

The R18 certification is for most pornographic material.

The above information was collected form the BBFC's Classification guideline publication which can be found online when you go to and select the classification guidelines in the navigational bar on the left.


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