The aim of this page is to provide a brief overview of the changing standards of the R and RC ratings, and an explanation of what you can and cannot expect to find in our Film Censorship Database.
Films that have had problems with the Australian Censors since the introduction of the R-rating in November 1971.
Hardcore adult films submitted prior to the introduction of the X-rating in February 1984.
Films that have been confiscated by the Australian Customs Service (ACS). Some of these may also have been Refused Classification by the Australian Censors, whilst others were decided by Customs themselves. The only way to document these titles is information supplied by you. If customs have taken a film of yours then send the details in for inclusion in the database.
Films that were censored to achieve lower classifications. For example, THREE KINGS (1999) and THE ROCK (1996) are covered because they were modified for MA15+ ratings.
Films that were pre-cut before submission to the Classification Board because the distributor feared censorship problems. For example, Siren's Hentai DVDs such as BEAT ANGEL ESCALYER (2002) and DEBTS OF DESIRE (2002). The distributors are essentially trying to predict what the Classification Board may find offensive. Classification and appeals are an expensive business, so you can hardly blame them for taking these kinds of precautionary measures. It is worth noting that those titles that have been subjected to this kind of in-house censorship will still be listed in the Censor's database as original versions. The true extent of the censorship is therefore hidden from the public.
Films that were the subject of controversy, but not censorship. These include films such as HAIL MARY (1985) and THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (1988).
We have attempted to separate those titles that were unofficially censored or just plain controversial by marking next to them with an *.
In general, hardcore adult films submitted after the introduction of the X-rating in February 1984 are covered in our Adult Film Censorship Database.
Films that were released in different versions, either because of distributor ignorance or laziness. Overseas (BBFC or MPAA) censored prints that have been dumped on the Australian market. Both of these final two categories are covered at The Chopping List and Michael D's.
Films such as TROY (2004), which were never censored, but had their rating lowered by the Classification Review Board.
You will notice in the database many films that were banned in the early 1970s, which are now MA15+, or even M-rated. Standards have changed and far fewer films are Refused Classification or censored than before.
Also, prior to the 1993 introduction of the MA15+ rating it was more common for R18+ films to be censored for the lower M-rating.
See our Timeline of Australian Film and Video Censorship for more information.