IMBd introduces feminist F-rating to films

Frozen and Bridget Jones's Baby are among those that meet the criteria


Drew Barrymore

A new F-rating has been added to movies listed on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) to highlight the role of women in film.

The F-rating system was invented by Bath Film Festival director Holly Tarquini in 2014, after she noticed that fewer than 5% of that year’s top 250 films had been directed by women.

It was also inspired by the "Bechdel Test", which rates films based on the criteria of containing at least two female characters who talk to each other about something besides a man.

The festival’s response was to add a new F-Rated emblem to sit alongside the usual BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) signs for any title featuring women in a significant on or off screen role – a system since adopted by more than 40 cinemas and festivals across the UK.

The F-Rating is a classification for any film which:

  • is directed by a woman
  • is written by a woman
  • features significant women on screen in their own right

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In total, more than 21,800 films have been tagged with an F-rating so far, with IMBd founder and CEO Col Needham saying that "the F-Rating is a great way to highlight women on screen and behind the camera."

Some films meet all three of the criteria for the rating, and are known as the 'gold standard' of F-rating, such as American Honey, Frozen, and Bridget Jones’s Baby.

Other F-rated films include Animal Farm, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Girl on the Train , Freaky Friday and the 1953 classic Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Speaking on the uptake of the celebratory rating, Tarquini said: “It’s always exciting when new organisations decide they want to join us in shining a light both on the brilliant work women are doing in film and on how far the film industry lags behind most other industries when it comes to providing equal opportunities to women.

"But our real goal is to reach the stage when the F-Rating is redundant because 50% of the stories we see on screen are told by and about film’s unfairly under-represented half of the population: women.”