Ghostbusters…BBFC opens its haunted archives and reveals a time before kids had to be wrapped up in cotton wool

Posted: 4 October, 2014 in BBFC
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Ghostbusters DVD Bill Murray Ghostbusters is a 1984 USA comedy Sci-Fi fantasy by Ivan Reitman.
Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver. BBFC link IMDb

Ghostbusters was submitted to the BBFC in June 1984 and classified PG for its language, innuendo and potentially scary scenes. Examiners noted suggestive innuendo involving Ray and a ghost, as well as an Exorcist-type sequence when the film’s female lead, Dana, levitates and speaks in a deep voice, her body having been inhabited by the demonic Zuul.

Ghostbusters remained at PG on video when it was submitted again in 1985, 1993, 1995 and 2009. However, when the film was resubmitted for cinema classification in 2011, it was classified 12A for moderate sex references and subsequently passed at 12 on DVD/Blu-ray. The BBFCinsight for the 2011 submission of the film explains:

The BBFC’s Guidelines at ‘PG’ state there may be ‘Mild sex references and innuendo only’. The film contains a number of sex references, both verbal and visual, that exceed this allowance. Most notable is a scene in which it is implied that a ghost is performing oral sex on a man. As the man’s trousers and zip are unfastened, the camera moves to his face as he sinks back on the bed with his eyes crossed in pleasure. Later, a woman who has been possessed by a demon rolls about on a bed with a man and tells him: I want you inside me. Although these references were permitted at ‘PG’ in the 1980s, when there was no classification available between ‘PG’ and ’15’, they are now more appropriately classified at ’12A’ where the Guidelines state ‘Sexual activity may be briefly and discreetly portrayed. Sex references should not go beyond what is suitable for young teenagers .

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