The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has announced its 2020 annual report and revealed that several major classic movies are seeing their classifications upgraded – most from a PG to a 12A.
Under British guidelines, PG films “shouldn’t unsettle children aged eight or older” while 12A films mean a film should not be watched by people younger than 12 without an adult present.
The board received 93 complaints last year, 27 of which were about the 1980 space opera “Flash Gordon” which has now been given the stricter 12A rating due to its inclusion of “discriminatory stereotypes” with French-Swedish actor Max von Sydow’s portrayal of Ming The Merciless specifically addressed.
Also scoring the tougher rating is “Rocky” due to “moderate violence, mouthed strong language and domestic abuse,” David Lynch’s “The Elephant Man” due to “moderate threat, upsetting scenes and injury detail,” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” due to “moderate fantasy violence and threat”. The latter change means all three films in that trilogy now hold the same rating.
“The Empire Strikes Back” has also been moved from a U rating (essentially a G rating elsewhere) to a PG rating for “moderate violence and mild threat”.
The changes can happen in the opposite direction as well as both the original “The Fast and the Furious” and “The Karate Kid” films have been brought down from 15 to 12A ratings.