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British Movie Ratings System

Dating by Ratings Box

Another way to help date an original issue was to use the ratings box. To do that, you need to understand the British ratings system.

The British Board of Film Censors started putting ratings on films back as far as 1913.

Initially the ratings were broken down into Universal (for children) and Adult (for Adults). This changed slightly in 1932 when an additional rating was added. A Horror category to ban 16 and under utilized the H. Then in 1951, it was changed and the X was used to ban children under 16.

July 1, 1970, a complete new system was started. The new ratings were U for Universal - suitable for all, A for Advisory - All admitted but parents advised to check content, AA - No one under 14 admitted, and X - No one under 18 admitted.

This system remained in place until November 1, 1982. The new system that was adopted was expanded to 5 ratings. These ratings were: U for Universal - suitable for all, PG - Parental Guidance, 15 - Suitable only for 15 and over, 18 - Suitable only for 18 and over, and R18 Restricted - No One under 18 admitted.

During 1982 and before Nov. 1, quite often BOTH systems were shown on the poster - the old system was printed as usual with the new system placed next to it in parenthesis.

July 26, 1985, with the rise in popularity of videos, a new rating was added JUST FOR VIDEO. This was a Universal video rating - Suitable for all (shown below on the left). In Aug. 1, 1989, another rating was added JUST FOR THEATER. The 12 category - No one under the age of 12 to be admitted was introduced (shown below on the right).

July 1, 1994, the 12 category was extended to also include video.

It has come to our attention that the Ratings Board didn't divide the difference between video and theater so some of the ratings boxes also apply to video.

The British ratings system is now under the jurisdiction of the British Board of Film Classification, here is their official website



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