Classic films including Rocky, Star Wars and Flash Gordon have been given higher classifications by the censors over concerns they will upset the so-called “snowflake” generation.
The British Board of Film Classification has uprated a number of films to 12A, which means that no child under the age of 12 can see the movie unless accompanied by an adult. Previously they had been PG certified, films which are classed as suitable for young children to watch alone, but which must not contain scenes to “unsettle” a child aged 8 or over.
Even the 1936 classic The Show Boat, which was hailed as a progressive critique of racial injustice at the time, has fallen foul of changing social standards and increased sensitivity over race, largely following the killing of George Floyd in the United States. From being rated a U (suitable for children aged 4 and over) it has been reclassified as a 12, in part because of the racist language contained in the film.
After conducting 10,000 surveys of public opinion the BBFC said it was simply reflecting “changing social standards” which morphs into guidelines for its teams of censors. Its most recent research found a “heightened sense of anxiety”, especially among young audiences over depictions of “real world” scenarios which they were concerned could happen to them. Behaviours cited were discrimination, self-harm, suicide and terrorism.
However, David Green, director of the think tank Civitas, said classic films risked becoming another casualty of “cancel culture.”