BBFC examiners found that Tim Burton’s 1989 film had a much darker tone than previous incarnations of the character and considered the Joker as being potentially scary for young children.
The film’s tonal qualities with overtones of horror precluded a PG. But examiners made the case that a 15 classification would be too high and would prevent younger teenagers, who would be a natural audience for the film, from seeing it.
And so it became the first 12 rated film.
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