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Censorship In The UK
Member Name: char2011
Date: 28/11/12, updated on 29/11/12 (67 review reads)
Advantages: Helps prevent copy cat crime from tv
Disadvantages: it's not full proof and can be adjusted a little.
I think movie censorship is an important thing because as much as we would all love to watch anything we want with no restrictions in a day and age it just can't be possible. It's so easy to access any movie you want regardless of how old you are so things need to be kept to a minimum to prevent a movie getting into the hands of the wrong person. That is my personal opinion but lets explore the history of British censorship.
The BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) is in control of what certificate every movie released in the UK and it was founded in 1912. As an overview what they do is watch movies before they are released and give them a classification as they see fit. They seem to have alot of power by telling the whole UK what they can and can't watch but they are not part of the government or for profit they are simply an organisation that give guidance on film ratings. 9 times out of 10 there ratings are followed through but there have been cases where there ratings where overturned in certain areas councils and banned or given different ratings. At this present day the BBFC is currently just 15 individuals all from different backgrounds who come in to work every day and watch movies and classify them by a set of guidelines.
---------How There Classification Progressed-----------
In 1912 they where set up and in 1913 is when they started dishing out classifications for movies. The two ratings U meaning universal for anyone to watch and A meaning adult content for restricted views. Everyone who submitted a film was desperate to get a U rating because cinemas all over the UK weren't so happy to put A rated films in their cinemas because they came across tainted and unjust. In 1921 they introduced young people being allowed to watch an A rated film with an adult present. I think this was a good move for the but at the same time more ratings needed to be introduced because there is a huge gap between adulthood and childhood.
In 1932 H rating was introduced which was a good move because horror movies tend to be the movies that are riddled with adult content so to make the rating more specific was a smart move. The H was then changed in 1951 to X which only allowed people over the age of 16 to enter. X was the most controversial rated that was ever passed by the BBFC because it was the dreaded rating that many directors fought to get dropped. If the X rating was given to your movie it was like a waste of production because nowhere wanted to play it and they made very little money. Directors would write letter and make endless cuts to there movies just to get the rating dropped. In 1970 they progressed onto making an AA rating which allowed people 14 and over to watch anything of this rating. I think this was needed because there are things that a 15 year old can watch but a 12 year would not be suitable for. I think adding the rating mad the rating system more effective.
In 1982 was the most dramatic change to film censorship in the UK when the old ratings where scarped and new ones put in place. This was mainly due to the video recoding act that was put in place to censor the limit of how much violence could be shown in a film. The U rating remained as universal but PG, 15, 18 and Restricted 18 were added to the list. Being the peak of the Video Nasties era the higher ratings such as 18 and Restricted 18 where being given out like nobody's business. Up to roughly about this stage it was just one person giving out these classification which I think is a big job to pin on one person because If your doing this sort of job on your own there is no doubt that you will end up using you personal views to help justify your ratings. This is not good and for me it's better in it's current state with 15 in the panel.
In 1989 the 12 rating was passed and in 2002 12A was passed. I personally think today is best the censorship rating system is the best it has ever been because it has closer ratings such as 12, 15, and 18 so there is not caught in the middle of someone watching something that isn't really suitable for them. Like when it was U and A at the beginning it was just too far apart to be useful.
I think it's good that ratings by the BBFC limit the amount of violence, blood, gore etc can be show because it can influence peoples actions. You may be thinking a I'm an adult I can watch what I want but with all the technology these days it's just so easy for kids to access things they shouldn't be watching. There are alot of people that have vulnerable minds and will replicate things they see on in movies for example the James Bulger case where the kid was brutally killed by kids after they saw chuckie. These events are few and far between but they still are alive and kicking. I think censorship is a good thing and it protects us from things that some people just can't handle. I know people say well if you don't like it don't watch but you have to remember not everyone knows there limits and not everyone even reads up on movies before they watch them.
18 is the highest rating to date but if you notice it is becoming very uncommon these days as rating are dropping. I personally think this is the reason that so many kids are growing up to fast because they are being allowed to watch things that are too old for them. American Pie: Reunion was released this year as a 15 and as most of us know this show is based around sex, sex and more sex. Although the movie didn't have much sex in it the themes shown in some way just promote sex and here in the UK 15 is not legal so why promote how fun sex is to people under age. It may sound like I'm being a little extreme but it's things like this I think is personally given teens the wrong message. On the other hand this movie has way to little adult content to be an 18 so where is the in-between well maybe moving 15 to 16 would be a good idea. I think it's just to little to late overall and the younger generation have by far been exposed to to much and it will just get worse. Along with the media movies are corrupting the younger generation.
-----------My View From An Adults Perspective-------
I think for adults it is a little unfair that they can't watch anything they want but at the same time it's for the good because like I said before not everyone knows their limits. I had a lecture with one of the censors from the BBFC and they said that even an 18 has heavy censorship. Some of the things that they can't pass as an 18 are heavy graphic sexual abuse, paedophiles involved in heavy graphic scenes, heavy torture that violates human rights. One other thing was if a couple was having an intimate scene they can't allow a child to be in the same scene even if it is just a picture.
Do I think it's unfair Yes but even for an 18 rating it's necessary to censor some things because even adults can replicate what they see because not all of us are strong minded so it's still essential.
I do think censorship is needed but I do think some things need to be reconsidered to allow people to have more freedom in what they can watch. It's a hard topic but it's one you can't be selfish about and need to think of all the possibilities of things that can happened if there was no such things as censorship.
Summary: BBFC and how they help censor films.