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The BBFC logo.

The BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) is a film and video game classification system used in the United Kingdom. All Grand Theft Auto games have been scrutinized by the BBFC and each one has been given an 18 rating. No Grand Theft Auto games have ever been re-rated or considered for re-rating, unlike in Australia where the OFLC re-rated Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas after the Hot Coffee debacle. The first edition of the game was also re-rated in the USA where the ESRB decided that an AO rating was needed.

Recently, the BBFC banned another Rockstar Games publication, Manhunt 2 in, the UK. [1] It is currently the only game to have been banned by the BBFC, after Carmageddon had its ban overruled in 1997. Manhunt 2 was later released on PSP and PS2 with a 18 rating.

BBFC Ratings

The BBFC can give one of a number of graphical representations to a film or video game, all of which suggest a different age that is 'fit for viewing'. It's ratings are among the most easy to understand of all rating systems, as unlike the ESRB and CERO which use a lettering grade, the upper age limit ratings for the BBFC are simply numbers, making it obvious to the audience how old you should be.

Where an age restriction is specified (such as 18), this means a person under that age is not permitted to buy or rent that film/game, nor can they watch/play it in public. The ratings cannot control what adults let their children watch at home, so it is not illegal to watch or allow to watch, but the age guidelines are designed to be understood by parents so they can make informed decisions.

BBFC Rating: Uc
Universal Children
This should be suitable for audiences of all ages, but is especially suitable for small children. U films should be set within a positive moral framework and should offer reassuring counterbalances to any violence, threat or horror.
BBFC Rating: U
This should be suitable for audiences of all ages. U films should be set within a positive moral framework and should offer reassuring counterbalances to any violence, threat or horror.
BBFC Rating: PG
Parental Guidance
Fit for general viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children. Unaccompanied children of any age may watch. A ‘PG’ film should not disturb a child aged around eight or older. However, parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset younger or more sensitive children.
BBFC Rating: 12A 12A This means that the viewer/player has be over the age of 12 unless accompanied by an adult. Introduced in 2002, 12A applies only to cinemas.
BBFC Rating: 12 12 This rating means that no one younger than 12 should view or purchase the film/game. Since 2002, 12 applies only to home media.
BBFC Rating: 15
15 This rating means that no one younger than 15 can buy, rent or watch in the cinema view or purchase the film/game.
BBFC Rating: 18
18 This is the highest rating a film or game would generally receive, and means that no one under the age of 18 should view or purchase the game/film. The entire Grand Theft Auto series is rated 18 in the UK.
BBFC Rating: R-18
Restricted 18
This rating is only awarded to films in exceptional circumstances, and is only shown in licensed cinemas showing pornographic movies, or in licensed sex shops where pornographic films may be bought or rented. Obviously the viewer must be at least 18 years of age to purchase or view a film with this rating. The BBFC itself says the rating is given to "explicit works of consenting sex between adults".
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18-Rated Games in the Grand Theft Auto Series

Note 1: Grand Theft Auto Advance was not rated by the BBFC as it did not feature material which PEGI does not cover. PEGI gave the game a rating of 16+, making it the lowest rating GTA game.
Note 2: The Grand Theft Auto: London 1961 expansion pack does not have a rating as no retail version was ever made, it was never sold, only distributed for free via the official GTA London website.

See also

External links


  1. BBFC rejects Manhunt 2. MCV. Retrieved on June 19, 2007.