Film Certificate Guidance

How are film certificates decided? 

Film Certificates are decided and awarded by the British Board of Film Classification. In order to protect children from unsuitable and even harmful content in films and videos and to give consumers information they might need about a particular film or video before deciding whether or not to view it, the BBFC examines and age rates films and videos before they are released. This independent scrutiny prior to release ensures the highest possible level of protection and empowerment.

The BBFC watches films and videos all the way through and awards an age rating and insight to each one. They reach an age rating by applying the standards and criteria contained in their Classification Guidelines which can be downloaded below.

They consider issues such as discrimination, drugs, horror, dangerous and easily imitable behaviour, language, nudity, sex, and violence when making decisions. The theme of the work is also an important consideration. They also consider context, the tone and likely impact of a work on the potential audience.

Below is a quick summary of what each certificate means. Please do not be offended if our staff ask to see identification before selling a ticket for certain films, this is done with the best interests of our customers in mind.


What does U mean?

The U symbol stands for Universal. A U film should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over. However, it is impossible to predict what might upset a particular child, especially at this lower end of the category range.



What does PG mean?

PG stands for Parental Guidance. This means a film is suitable for general viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for younger children. A PG film should not disturb a child aged around eight or older. Parents should consider whether the content might upset younger or more sensitive children.


What does the 12A symbol mean?

12A means that anyone aged 12 or over can go and see the film unaccompanied. The A stands for 'accompanied' and 'advisory'. Children younger than 12 may see the film if they are accompanied by an adult (eg someone over the age of 18), who must watch the film with them. 


What does the 15 symbol mean?

No-one under 15 is allowed to see a 15 film at the cinema.  15 rated works are not suitable for children under 15 years of age.


What does the 18 symbol mean?

Films rated 18 are for adults. No-one under 18 is allowed to see an 18 film at the cinema. No 18 rated works are suitable for children.