Star Wars and Flash Gordon among films given stricter ratings due rise in complaints

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The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has changed the age ratings of several classic movies from PG to 12A. The board says the tighter classifications have been put in place “to ensure policies remain in step with parental expectations and societal standards”.

A PG rating says a film should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older, while 12A recommends children under 12 should not watch without being accompanied by an adult.

Of 93 complaints made to BBFC in 2020, 27 were about Flash Gordon’s 40th anniversary re-release.

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The re-release was reclassified up to 12A due to the inclusion of “discriminatory stereotypes”.

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The Elephant Man had its rating tightened due to “moderate threat, upsetting scenes and injury detail” and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was classified from a U to PG for “moderate violence and mild threat”.

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BBFC chief executive David Austin said: “We talk to over 10,000 people every four-five years to revise our Classification Guidelines.

“As a result of changing standards in society, it is not infrequent that a distributor will submit something to us that we have classified in the past, but which we need to take a fresh look at under our current guidelines.

“The issue of discrimination is one of the core issues set out in our guidelines, and in 2020, the tragic death of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests showed how important it is that discrimination be tackled and flagged up wherever it occurs.”

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