Why are so many classic PG-rated films being changed to 12A?

Until recently, under-12s could see films such as Jaws unsupervised, but the BBFC’s new ratings reflect the public’s changing values

In the Guide’s weekly Solved! column, we look into a crucial pop-culture question you’ve been burning to know the answer to – and settle it, once and for all

Anyone who grew up in the 1980s knew the Russian roulette thrill of watching a PG-rated film. What might have appeared tame on the surface could also contain hearts being ripped from sacrificial victims (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), potty-mouthed children (The Goonies), serious kink (Flash Gordon), alligators biting off limbs (Romancing the Stone), children killed by sharks (Jaws), James Bond cheerfully throttling a woman with her bikini top (Diamonds Are Forever), Sylvester Stallone taking ludicrously severe beatings (the Rocky films), or even paranormal investigators being, er, “pleasured” by departed spirits (Ghostbusters).

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