Rocky and Flash Gordon age ratings raised due to ‘changing standards in society’

‘Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ also had its rating bumped by the BBFC

Louis Chilton
Tuesday 06 July 2021 13:06
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Flash Gordon trailer

The age certification on classic films including Rocky and Flash Gordon has been raised to reflect “changing standards in society”.

The British Board of Film Classification reviews its classifications every four to five years, making adjustments where it deems necessary.

A scene of domestic abuse in Rocky was cited as part of the reason for raising its age rating from PG (Parental Guidance) to 12A.

Flash Gordon, meanwhile, was described by the ratings body as containing “moderate violence, language, sex references and discriminatory stereotypes”, also rising from PG to 12A.

In the BBFC’s annual report, chief executive David Austin wrote: “We talk to over 10,000 people every four-five years... to ensure our policies remain in step with parental expectations and societal standards on an ongoing basis.

“As a result of changing standards in society, it’s not infrequent that a distributor will submit something to us that we have classified in the past, but which we need to take a fresh look at under our current guidelines.”

The BBFC received 93 complaints over the last year, 27 of which concerned Flash Gordon. The film was reclassified as 12A for its 40th anniversary re-release.

In the 1980 space opera, Max von Sydow plays the villain Ming the Merciless. Critics have described the character as embodying offensive stereotypes about east Asian people.

Also among the films to receive a tighter age restriction was the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which was bumped up to 12A from PG due to “moderate fantasy violence and threat”.

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The Fast and the Furious, however, was brought down from a 15 rating to a 12A, for “infrequent strong language, moderate violence and sex references”.

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