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The BBFC logo

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is a film and video game classification system used in the United Kingdom. All Grand Theft Auto games have been scrutinized by the BBFC and each one has been given an 18 rating. No Grand Theft Auto games have ever been re-rated or considered for re-rating, unlike in Australia where the OFLC re-rated Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas after the Hot Coffee debacle. The first edition of the game was also re-rated in the USA where the ESRB decided that an AO rating was needed.

In 2007, the BBFC banned another Rockstar Games publication, Manhunt 2, from sale in the UK after refusing to give it an age rating. [1] This is the only video game to have been banned by the BBFC. After lengthy legal battles, an edited version of Manhunt 2 was eventually given an 18 rating and released on PlayStation 2 and PSP in the UK in 2008.

On 30 July 2012, PEGI replaced the BBFC as the video games ratings system in the UK, whilst the BBFC maintains its role in rating films.

BBFC Ratings

The BBFC can give one of a number of graphical representations to a film or video game, all of which suggest a different age that is 'fit for viewing'. It's ratings are among the most easy to understand of all rating systems, as unlike the ESRB and CERO which use a lettering grade, the upper age limit ratings for the BBFC are simply numbers, making it obvious to the audience how old they should be.

Universal Children
This should be suitable for audiences of all ages, but is especially suitable for small children. U films should be set within a positive moral framework and should offer reassuring counterbalances to any violence, threat or horror.
This should be suitable for audiences of all ages. U films should be set within a positive moral framework and should offer reassuring counterbalances to any violence, threat or horror.
Parental Guidance
Fit for general viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children. Unaccompanied children of any age may watch. A ‘PG’ film should not disturb a child aged around eight or older. However, parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset younger or more sensitive children.
BBFC 12A Rating 12A This means that the viewer/player has be over the age of 12 unless accompanied by an adult. 12A only applies to cinemas from 2002.
BBFC 12 Rating 12 This rating means that no one younger than 12 should view or purchase the film/game. This rating also applied to cinemas until 2002 but only applies to home media from 2002.
BBFC 15 Rating
15 This rating means that no one younger than 15 should view or purchase the film/game.
18 This is the highest rating a film or game can receive, and means that no one under the age of 18 should view or purchase the game/film. The entire Grand Theft Auto series is rated 18 in the UK.
Restricted 18
This rating is only awarded to films in exceptional circumstances, and is only shown in licensed cinemas showing pornographic movies, or in licensed sex shops where pornographic films may be bought or rented. Obviously the viewer must be at least 18 years of age to purchase or view a film with this rating. The BBFC itself says the rating is given to "explicit works of consenting sex between adults".
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18-Rated Games in the Grand Theft Auto series

Note 1: Grand Theft Auto Advance was not rated by the BBFC as it did not feature material which PEGI does not cover. PEGI gave the game a rating of 16+, making it the lowest rating GTA game.
Note 2: The Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 expansion pack does not have a rating as no retail version was ever made, it was never sold, only distributed for free via the official GTA London website.

See also

External links


  1. BBFC rejects Manhunt 2. MCV. Retrieved on June 19, 2007.

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