The Railway Children gets first ever complaint… 42 years after it was released

Irate movie fan felt the film encouraged kids to play on train tracks.

Beloved children’s film ‘The Railway Children’ has received its first ever complaint.

According to the British Board of Film Classification’s annual report, one viewer was “concerned that children may be encouraged to play on railway tracks as a result of seeing the film”.


The BBFC sardonically added: “While aware of the real dangers of such behaviour, the BBFC judged that it was very unlikely that ‘The Railway Children’ would promote such dangerous activity. ‘The Railway Children’ is set in the Edwardian period and trains and access to railway property are very different today. The film also demonstrates the potential harm to children if proper care is not taken.”

The film, a Sunday afternoon staple, starred Bernard Cribbins, Dinah Sheridan, Jenny Agutter and Sally Thomsett.

The most complained about film of 2012 was Daniel Radcliffe horror, ‘The Woman in Black’, which received 134 complaints.

Too scary for kids... Woman in Black received more than 100 complaints (Creidt: Rex Features)

Some correspondents felt the film was inappropriate for its 12A certificate, that the “sense of threat, coupled with the theme of supernatural deaths of children in the film, was too disturbing for young audiences.” The BBFC felt however that the historical setting and familiarity with the source material “lessened the sense of horror”.

It proved more contentious than ‘The Hunger Games’, which saw children fight to the death with knives and axes. It received 43 complaints.

‘Men in Black 3’ - a PG - received 50 complaints for “language, violence, horror and sexual innuendo”, but not for the script, surprisingly.

As we’ve looked at before, the 12A certificate is by far the most contentious in British cinema, with filmmakers constantly pushing the boundaries. 12A means children younger than 12 can still watch these films if accompanied by an adult to buy a ticket.

The most complained about film of the last decade, ‘The Dark Knight’, was a 12A. However the BBFC felt that many of the film’s 364 complaints were prompted by a campaign in The Daily Mail.