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Hollywood film classics including Rocky, Star Wars and Flash Gordon have had their minimum viewing age increased by censors so they do not upset snowflakes.

The British Board of Film Classification has up-rated the films’ certificates largely to 12A after research found a `heightened sense of anxiety’ among young viewers over `real world scenarios’ they fear could happen to them.

That means no child under-12 can see the films unless accompanied by an adult.

Most were previously rated Parental Guidance – aka PG – or its precursor A.

That meant they were deemed suitable for children to watch alone though they must not contain scenes that `unsettle’ youngsters aged eight or over.

But David Green, director of the think-tank Civitas, said films risk becoming another casualty of "cancel culture".

He said: "The censors have lost sight of the sound moral messages that these films had at the time and allowed themselves to be distracted by modern sensibilities towards victimhood and grievance."

Even 1936 classic The Show Boat – hailed a progressive critique of racial injustice at the time – has fallen foul of changed social standards following George Floyd’s death.

It used to be a U – suitable for children aged four and over – but is now a 12 largely because of racial language.

The BBFC said it was reflecting `changing social standards’ which it translates into guidelines for its teams of censors after conducting surveys of public opinion based on a 10,000-strong consultation.

Researchers found movie scenes which upset younger viewers included terrorism, suicide, self-harm and discrimination.

Rocky, which starred Sylvester Stallone as a small-time boxer who gets a shot at the world championship, was rated an A by the BBFC in 1976 and has been PG on video ever since.

Sci-fi fantasy Flash Gordon, also classified as an A and a PG for video, was upgraded to a 12A because of its moderate violence, language, sex references and discriminatory stereotypes.

The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, which was originally a PG, has been extended and has been reclassified as a 12A for moderate fantasy violence and threat.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was reclassified from a U to a PG because of its moderate violence and mild threat.

BBFC chief executive David Austin said Floyd’s death at the hands of a police officer and "subsequent Black Lives Matter protests" showed how "important it is that discrimination be tackled and flagged up wherever it occurs".

"The issue of discrimination is one of the core issues set out in our guidelines," he added.

  • Star Wars
  • Hollywood

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