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Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and more movies receive new age ratings in UK

Fellowship of the Ring and Empire Strikes Back among films that have their age rating raised within the last decade by the BBFC

Exclusive analysis for i-news has revealed that many films long-considered family classics have been moved up in classification by the British Board of Film Classification within the last decade, mostly from U to PG or from PG to 12A. “This provides a fascinating insight into how people’s tastes and standards change and develop over the years” said Chris Davies of the BBFC.

Reading the BBFC reports makes it sound like many of our beloved childhood favourites are, in fact, horror films. Did you know that Fellowship of the Ring contains “creatures being decapitated or having limbs cut off, resulting in the brief sight of blood. There are regular scenes of battle involving stabbing, slashing and arrow impacts” for example?

It’s not just violence that has the BBFC hot under the collar either. Sex is also a big no-no, even if one or more of the parties involved may not be human. Ghostbusters (1984) was moved from a PG to 12A due to a scene in which a ghost appears to perform a sex act on a man.

This is interesting to read in the same year that horror film Censor came out, which is set during the 1980s’ “video nasty” era. Niamh Algar plays a censor for a BBFC-style organisation who becomes subsumed into one of the horror films that she is vetting.

Other classic films that have been ‘upgraded’ include Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws and The Empire Strikes Back. The latter features scenes such as; “A man’s wrist is chopped off by a lightsaber and, during a dream sequence, a man is decapitated. Threatening scenes including those in which a man is kidnapped by a snow creature, and a sequence in which a man is forced into a small chamber and encased in carbonate.”

A few films were downgraded from their original classifications, again reflecting changing standards and tastes regarding what is acceptable.

If you think you’ll be able to stomach the violence, you may want to know more about the upcoming Lord of the Rings Amazon TV series – so check out our guide.