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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Behind the Scenes at the BBFC

Film Classification from the Silver Screen to the Digital Age

ISBN 9781844574766
Publication Date December 2012
Formats Paperback 
Publisher British Film Institute

This official history of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) draws on unprecedented access to the BBFC's archives to trace 100 years of film classification, with contributions from leading film critics and historians and case studies of controversial films such as Battleship Potemkin and A Clockwork Orange.

  • Long-listed Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards

EDWARD LAMBERTI is Information Services Manager at the BBFC and a PhD candidate in the Film Studies department
at King's College London.

Associate Editors: Jason Green, David Hyman, Craig Lapper and Karen Myers.

Foreword; M.Kermode
Preface; Q.Thomas
Introduction; E.Lamberti
Censorship Under Siege: The BBFC in the Silent Era; S.Brown
'The People's Amusement': Cinemagoing and the BBFC, 1928-1948; R.James
From The Snake Pit to the Garden of Eden: A Time of Temptation for the Board; S.Chibnall
The Trevelyan Years: British Censorship and 1960s Cinema; T.Hargreaves
Wake of the Flood: Key Issues in UK Censorship, 1970-1975; S.Simkin
The Poacher Turned Gamekeeper: James Ferman and the Increasing Intervention of the Law; G.Osborn & A.Sinclair
More Than Just a 'Nasty' Decade: Classifying the Popular in the 1980s; S.Barber
Head-On Collisions: The BBFC in the 1990s; J.Petley
'The Last Days of the Board'; R.Duval
The Director's Commentary; D.Cooke
On the BBFC in the Digital Age; G.Lemos, J.Carr, G.Hawthorn, S. Sedley & A.Phoenix
Case Studies by BBFC Staff:
Battleship Potemkin; A.McDowell
Island of Lost Souls; K.Myers
The Snake Pit; D.Hyman
Caged; J.Green
Cape Fear; D.Hyman
Blowup; E.Lamberti
A Clockwork Orange; K.Myers
WR: Mysteries of the Organism; C.Lapper
The Panic in Needle Park; M.Perkins
Shivers; D.Hyman
The Tin Drum; C.Lapper
Christiane F; C.Lapper
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; E.Lamberti
Licence to Kill; E.Lamberti
International Guerillas; J.Green
Mikey; J.Green
Ichi the Killer; M.Perkins
Lilo & Stitch; J.Green
9 Songs; C.O'Brien
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; K.Myers.


This book thoughtfully presents current practices in the frame of past contexts as part of an ongoing debate about what audiences might want from 'their' classifiers.' - Sight & Sound
'This is a key book and I would reckon that it is a must for any library used by staff and students engaging with British Film and British filmgoing. It is well produced with an accessible layout.' - Media Education Journal
'The history of the BBFC, as documented in this fascinating new book, is littered with controversies, scandals and accusations of butchering great works of art...The book spans the entire history of the organisation, from silent film, through the 'video nasties' furore of the 1980s right up to the present day. It is well researched and written from a number of perspectives, both from within and outisde the BBFC.' - Cinema Retro
'A remarkably accessible history, which may appeal especially to readers interested in film distribution, British film history but equally to readers outside the sphere of film and media studies with a broad interest in issues of censorship as a well written history of a unique case study.' - Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
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