The Restricted Cougar

The Restricted Cougar, an iconic symbol of movies and entertainment, was originally created and used in BC over 50 years ago, in August 1960. It was copyrighted on July 6, 1965, registered as a trademark on April 29, 1966, and is protected by the Trade-marks Act of Canada.

The Cougar was designed in the 1960s, under the direction of BC Chief Censor R.W. (Ray) MacDonald, due to increased public demand for movie rating information. MacDonald seized upon the idea of using a symbol that audiences could easily associate with the “Restricted” category and chose the cougar, not only for its dramatic presence, but also its significance as the largest wild cat native to BC.

Shortly after its creation, what was then the BC Film Classification Office launched a series of animated trailers starring the popular critter.

This direct method of informing viewers of the “Restricted” rating assigned to the movie they were about to see resulted in a significant drop in audience complaints. The trailers also added a new excitement to the movie-going experience: when the Cougar made its way to the screen, audiences knew they were only moments away from the highly anticipated feature presentation.

On January 1, 1997, the Government of BC revised the province’s classification categories (ratings) in order to be consistent with the newly developed Canadian Home Video Rating System. With this change, the “18A” category replaced the “Restricted” category, and the Cougar stepped down from its traditional role.

Watch more vintage Restricted Cougar trailers.
Learn more about BC’s ratings.

Interested in using one of the trailers for a show?

Read and submit the Restricted Cougar usage policy and application form.