Movies are a favorite past time for the young and old alike. The smell of buttery popcorn, the thrill of watching a movie on a big screen, engulfed in sound and sharing the experience with a crowd is all an exciting part of going to the theatre. Watching a movie in the home cuddled up with a loved one is a great relaxing quality past time. Movies have been in our lives for a long time, but when you have children, you may start questioning what is appropriate and what isn’t. Imagine the horror of a supposed family movie that turns into a hurry up and turn it off. Not a fun way to spend the evening. That’s why movie ratings are so important.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) came up with a rating system to let individuals know what is appropriate for which age group. The President of the MPAA does not vote over the ratings, but chooses the thirteen members that sit on the Rating Board. These members all have parenting experience so they are able to make an appropriate decision. They then watch each movie and discuss the rating accordingly. Once the movie is rated, the decision is given to the producer with an explanation of why the movie was rated the way it was. If the producer does not agree with the decision, he can re-edit the movie and resubmit it or he can appeal the rating.
What are the ratings? Here is a quick run-down.
G is for General Audience. There is no violence, no nudity, no strong themes and the movie is appropriate for young children. It does not indicate the movie is a children’s movie. These movies are generally appropriate for all audiences and make great family nights. PG is for Parental Guidance and means that there is some brief nudity, some profanity and violence. There is no drug use in a PG film, but parents may find it inappropriate for young children.
PG13 is Parents Strongly Cautioned. These movies may contain strong language, nudity, drug use and are not recommended for children under the age of thirteen. Rated R movies are Restricted. This means children under 17 need an adult present to watch the film. These movies contain sexual content, prolonged drug use, extreme violence and profanity. Movie theaters and stores will generally not allowed children under eighteen to purchase or view these movies.
NC17 movies used to be rated X and contain adult content and themes and are not appropriate for children. It does not indicate that the movie is obscene or pornographic. It does mean that the movie is more adult oriented than a rated R movie.
Foreign films can also be rated using this system. It is not mandatory for any movie to be rated under these guidelines, however most theaters will not show a movie unless it’s been rated.
Movie ratings are important to understand as they can help decide which movie your child can watch with his friends and which movie is best for the entire family to watch. It is important to discuss movies and movie ratings with your children so they understand that even when they are away they should not watch these movies.