Flash Gordon was the BBFC’s most complained about film in 2020

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The reclassification of Flash Gordon attracted the most complaints to the BBFC in 2020 – more details on it right here.

The British Board of Film Classification – the BBFC to its chums – has just released its annual report for the year 2020, detailing how the organisation has fared during what’s been, well, a rather testing period of time.


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One of the most obvious signifiers of it being a very different year is turning to the section in the new report – found on page 10 – where the BBFC details the classification decisions it made that received the most complaints. Usually topping the chart is a major new release. For 2020, it was 1980’s Flash Gordon.

The film was reissued on disc in the summer of 2020, and also got a fresh cinema outing too. The BBFC reclassified the film from its old certificate of A to 12A (although it had previously been available on disc as a PG), and made the decision in June 2020. An adaptation to the ratings information of the film added a note about it included ‘discriminatory stereotypes’.

This, though, got precious little pushback at the time. However, the BBFC then released a podcast in December where the reclassification of the movie was chatted about. That in turn got the clickbait churners and news reporters out, and it became a bit of a story. Thus, 27 complaints were received in the light of that some six months after the original decision was made, the majority suggesting “that current real-world stereotypes should not be applied to this film”.

The BBFC added that “we had made the addition to the ratings info so that audiences can make an informed decision about whether to watch the film”.

Next most complained about was Pinocchio, which attracted 17 grumbles for its PG certificate. The thrust of those complaints was that the film was inappropriate for young children.

And remarkably, those were the only two films to warrant more than ten complaints. Nine were received for the film Cuties from Netflix, and a further five for Jojo Rabbit.

You can read more about all of this in the report, that you can find here.

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