The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is the organisation responsible for film classification within the UK.
The BBFC was established in 1912 as the British Board of Film Censors. At that time it also took responsibility for classifying videos for hire or purchase to view in the home as well as films shown in cinemas. Home video and cinema versions of a film often receive the same certificate, although occasionally a film may receive a more restrictive certificate for the home video market, as it is easier for children to watch a home video than to be admitted into a cinema.
The BBFC currently issues the following certificates. They use symbols for each certificate and each symbol has a name and definition.
U - Universal: All ages admitted, there is nothing unsuitable for children.
Example: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
PG - Parental Guidance: General viewing, but certain scenes may be unsuitable for children under 8. Example: Ghostbusters
12A: May be unsuitable for under 12s. Those aged under 12 are only admitted if accompanied by an adult at all times during the performance (cinema only). Example: The Dark Knight
12: Suitable only for those aged 12 and over. No-one younger than 12 can rent or buy a 12 rated VHS, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, UMD or game. Example: Quantum of Solace
15: Suitable only for those aged 15 and over. Nobody younger than 15 can see a 15 film in a cinema. No-one younger than 15 can rent or buy a 15 rated VHS, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, UMD or game. Example: Severance
18: For adults only.
Nobody younger than 18 may see an 18 film in a cinema.
No-one younger than 18 can rent or buy an 18 rated VHS, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, UMD or game. Example: Saw