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The AA Certificate

The first BBFC certificate specifically aimed at teenagers

Main image of The AA Certificate

The AA certificate was introduced by the British Board of Film Censors on 1 July 1970, and was defined as follows:

Passed as suitable only for exhibition to persons of fourteen years and over. When a programme includes an 'AA' film no persons under fourteen years can be admitted.

This was a by-product of the decision to raise the age limit for X certificate films from sixteen to eighteen, and to abolish the requirement that children be accompanied by an adult to A certificate films. It was also created in response to the fact that in 1969, for the first time, the BBFC awarded more X certificates than they did U and A certificates combined, the culmination of the film industry's decisive shift towards producing much more adult-orientated material.

The AA certificate was the first BBFC certificate specifically aimed at teenagers, and acknowledged that while they might not be considered mature enough to deal with strong sexual and violent images, they were not so innocent as to require protection from everything that one might not wish very young children to see.

As a result, AA certificate films could include mild sexual and violent material, plus a moderate amount of swearing.

The AA certificate was abolished on 1 November 1982 following the general overhaul of BBFC classifications recommended by the Williams Committee. It was replaced by the 15 certificate, which raised the age limit by one year.

Michael Brooke

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