Watership Down has been reclassified for a new generation, moving from a U certificate to a PG, for parental guidance.
That’s because the powers that be in the film classification world have upgraded it for ‘mild violence’ and ‘bad language’.
Anyone who has seen the 1978 animated movie will know that there are some moments in it that could be considered not ‘suitable for all’.
However, that’s exactly what the U certificate is supposed to be – suitable for all.
It was resubmitted to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), who have taken a look and decided that putting a parental guidance tag on it might be for the best.
Before anyone loses their s*** saying sentences that start with ‘back in my day…’ or end with things like ‘…gone mad’ – your kids can still watch it if you let them, that’s literally what the PG certificate means.
Anyway, the rating is for ‘mild violence, threat, brief bloody images and bad language.’
The report from the BBFC states: “Whenever a distributor resubmits a film with an existing BBFC rating to us, we review it under our current guidelines.
“This sometimes means we may reclassify the film at either a higher rating or a lower rating than it was under previous guidelines.”
Watership Down tells the story of a group of rabbits who have their home threatened by a new development.
Based on a bestselling novel from Richard Adams, the film was made in 1978 and was then later remade in 2018.
In the original movie, there are a number of things – including one ‘distressing sequence’ - that set off some minor alarm bells for the classification board.
The report says: “In their exile, the rabbits meet various challenges, some of which result in bloody bite and claw injuries caused by animals fighting.
“In one scene, a bird tells one of the rabbits to ‘p*** off’.
“When we viewed the film under the current guidelines we reclassified it PG in line with our current policies for violence, threat, injury detail and language.”
The PG certificate is acceptable for ‘general viewing but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children’.
Once the film – or any film – is resubmitted to the BBFC, they have to consider whether times have changed and left the film behind as they put it, ‘to ensure BBFC classification decisions remain in step with societal standards’.
Those guidelines are revisited and considered every four or five years so that the board can ‘continue to meet the expectations and values of people across the UK’.
That next consultation will take place later in the year, with any changes coming into force from early 2024.Featured Image Credit: Nepenthe Productions