1975, Jaws was passed by the British
Board of Film censors (as they then more accurately called
themselves) with an ‘A’ certificate –
the then-equivalent of the PG. It was again passed PG
uncut for video release in 1987, 1993 and 2000. So it’s
been available for viewing by people of all ages –
with the proviso that it may be unsuitable for younger
children – for almost forty years, without evidence
of trauma, damage of public outrage.
But now, the film has been re-classified 12 for the upcoming
edition. And while it might not matter much in the grand
scheme of things, this is further evidence of both censorship
creep and the increasing uselessness of the PG rating.
While the old ‘A’ and its replacement used
to allow for a certain level of adult content –
brief nudity (think Carry On films),
action movie violence (think James Bond) and mild swearing,
now all those things are likely to see a film given the
The PG now sits, rather pointlessly, between the U and
the 12, and countless films have been pushed from heir
original A rating to 12 or even 15 over the years –
The Monster Club, The Eagle Has
Landed, Saturn 3 and various
nudist films spring immediately
to mind. Jaws presumably escaped reclassification
for so long because of its high profile, much like the
Bond films. But no more.
UPDATE: Thanks to Marc Morris for pointing out that the
current reclassification is actually to the cinema rating
of 12A (which is a 12 on video).