The PG certificate of Jaws has always struck many as a strange decision, due to its frightening suspense and gory shark attacks.
Now, 37 years since its original release, the BBFC have granted Jaws a 12A certificate for its upcoming theatrical re-release.
Steven Spielberg’s classic thriller about a great white shark which terrorises a small beach community, was first released uncut in 1975 with an ‘A’ certificate – which meant that the film may be unsuitable for younger children. Following its theatrical release, Jaws was then later certified as ‘PG’ for all subsequent releases on VHS and DVD.
Although it might seem unusual for a film to have its certification upped to a higher rating, this certainly isn’t the first time the BBFC have done so. Just last year a theatrical re-release of Ghostbusters was also raised from a PG to a 12A due to sexual innuendo – or to be more precise, the scene in which a ghost fellates Dan Aykroyd.
In the case of both Jaws and Ghostbusters, no certificate existed between PG and 15 at the time of their original releases, meaning that many films were released with a lower classification by default. With the advent of the 12 certificate, many classic films now have access to a more suitable rating – providing they are supplied to the BBFC for re-classification.
Interestingly, the incredibly brutal Watership Down (aka The Hampshire Bunny Massacre) retains its U certificate, and is set to traumatise children for years to come.
Jaws is re-released in selected cinemas on June 15th.