Reference > Media law & regulation > UK media laws > Cinema and film > Films Act 1960
8&9 Eliz.2 c.57
An Act to consolidate the Cinematograph Films Acts 1938 to 1960
PART I: Provisions for securing the showing of British films
1.Obligations of exhibitors to show British films. For a fixed number of days per year.
2.Disregard of certain films for quota purposes. ie Everything but registered British quota films.
3.Meaning as exhibition as first feature film, and computation of total showing time.
4.Exemptions and reliefs. Exemption if net box office is not more than £150 a week.
PART II: Registration of films
8.Prohibition of distribution or exhibition of unregistered films.
11.The register of films. Detailed list shall be published in Board of Trade Journal [now Trade & Industry] as soon as possible.
17.Determination of question whether film to be registered as British or foreign. 'British' films are made by the government, a Commonwealth government or Irish government; or if the maker of the film is British or Irish and the film is made in a Commonwealth or Irish studio and a specified proportion of labour costs goes to British, Commonwealth or Irish citizens. [Amended by South Africa Act 1962 and European Communities Act 1972]
19.Films made in accordance with international agreements. [See SI list]
20.Registration of British films as quota films. Films with labour costs of less than £50 per minute of playing time will not be registered.
21.Defines computation of labour costs.
PART III: Renters and exhibitors
24.Prohibition of unlicensed distribution or exhibition of registered films.
25.Renter's licences and exhibitor's licences.
28.Prohibition of use of unregistered title and restriction on variation of length. Renter may not deliver to exhibitor film ±10 per cent of registered playing time.
29.Prohibition of showing of films obtained from unlicensed renters.
30.Record books to be kept by renters and exhibitors.
31.Returns to be made by exhibitors.
PART IV: Restrictions on blind booking and advance booking
33.Restriction on blind booking. No booking allowed before trade show nor enforcement by renter to make an exhibitor take a particular film.
34.Restriction on advance booking.
37.Penalty for contravention of Part IV. Fine not exceeding £250.
PART V: General and supplemental
38.Films to which Act applies.
39.Newsreels. May be accepted as British and quota films.
40.Rentals of registered films. Must be separate for each film in the show.
41.The Cinematograph Films Council. Established.
42.Wages and conditions of employment of persons employed in film industry.
45.Penalties for quota offences. Fine up to £250 on summary conviction, up to £500 on indictment.
Short film = up to 3313 mins
Long film = over 3313mins
51.Repeal, amendment of enactments, transitional provisions and savings.
(1) Cinematograph Films Acts of 1938, 1948 and 1960 repealed.
(5) No effect on the definition of 'British' in Cinematograph Films Act 1957.
Sch.1.Constitution of Cinematograph Films Council.
1961/1187 Films (Tanganyika) Order
1965/1856 Films Co-Production Agreement (France) Order
1967/1679 Films Co-Production Agreement (Italy) Order
1975/623 Films Co-Production Agreement (Federal Republic of Germany) Order
1975/1838 Films Co-Production Agreement (Government of Canada) Order
1977/1306 Films (Exemption from Quota) Order
SIs made under Films Act 1960 and Films Act 1970
1961/1824 Films (Exhibitors) Regulations
1961/1825 Films (Registration of Newsreels) Regulations
1961/1826 Films (Registration) Regulations
1961/1827 Films (Renters' Licences) Regulations
1964/1281 Films (Registration of Newsreels) (Amendment) Regulations
1970/985 Films (Exhibitors) (Amendment) Regulations
|1970/986||Films (Renters' Licences) Regulations||1974/2132|
|1970/987||Films (Registration of Newsreels) (Amendment) Regulations||1974/2130|
|1970/1858||Films (Registration) Regulations|
|1972/1925||Films (Registration) (Amendment) Regulations||*1974/2131|
|1972/1926||Films (Exhibitors) (Amendment) Regulations||1974/2129|
|1974/2129||Films (Exhibitors) (Amendment) Regulations||1972/1926||1975/1656|
|1974/2130||Films (Registration of Newsreels) (Amendment) Regulations||1970/987||1975/1658|
|1974/2132||Films (Renters' Licences) (Amendment) Regulations||1970/986||1975/1659|
|1975/1656||Films (Exhibitors) (Amendment) Regulations||1974/2129||1976/1255|
|1975/1657||Films (Registration) (Amendment) Regulations||1974/2131||1976/1254|
|1975/1658||Films (Registration of Newsreels) (Amendment) Regulations||1974/2130||1976/1253|
|1975/1659||Films (Renters' Licences) (Amendment) Regulations||1974/2132||1976/1252|
|1976/1252||Films (Renters' Licences) (Amendment) Regulations||1975/1659||1977/1669|
|1976/1253||Films (Registration of Newsreels) (Amendment) Regulations||1975/1658||1977/1666|
|1976/1254||Films (Registration) (Amendment) Regulations||1975/1657||1977/1667|
|1976/1255||Films (Exhibitors) (Amendment) Regulations||1975/1656||1977/1668|
|1977/1666||Films (Registration of Newsreels) (Amendment) Regulations||1976/1253|
|1977/1667||Films (Registration) (Amendment) Regulations||1976/1254||1978/1632|
|1977/1668||Films (Exhibitors) (Amendment) Regulations||1976/1255|
|1977/1669||Films (Renters' Licences) (Amendment) Regulations||1976/1252|
|1978/1632||Films (Registration) (Amendment) Regulations||1977/1667|
*made under European Communities Act 1972
All distribution or exhibition in UK cinemas had to be licensed. Renters and exhibitors had to keep record books and exhibitors had to make regular returns. Rentals of registered films had to be recorded separately for each film in the show.
Exhibitors had to show registered British quota films for a fixed number of days per year but could claim exemption if the net box office was not more than £150 a week. A fine up to £250 per offence on summary conviction or up to £500 on indictment could be imposed.
It was illegal to distribute or screen unregistered films and films could not be obtained from unlicensed distributors. A detailed list of registered films was to be published in the Board of Trade Journal [later called Trade & Industry] as soon as possible.
The renter (distributor) was not allowed to deliver to an exhibitor a film that varied by ±10 per cent of registered playing time.
The question of whether a film should be registered as British or foreign was determined as follows: 'British' films are made by the government, a Commonwealth government or Irish government; or if the maker of the film is British or Irish and the film is made in a Commonwealth or Irish studio and a specified proportion of labour costs goes to British, Commonwealth or Irish citizens. Films made in accordance with international agreements could also be registered. These agreements were defined in Statutory Instruments. Newsreels could also be counted as British and quota films if qualifying.
Films with labour costs of less than £50 per minute of playing time did not have to be registered.
No booking was allowed before a film was trade shown (so-called 'blind booking') and the distributor could not make an exhibitor take a particular film, the penalty for contravention being a fine not exceeding £250.
The Cinematograph Films Council was established, consisting of representatives of trade bodies and a few independent members. This was disbanded in 1985 and its functions (and some members) were taken up on a non-statutory basis by the newly renamed British Screen Advisory Council.
Repealed by Films Act 1985
Page updated 9 March 2009
© David Fisher