Your Guide to Understanding Movie Ratings


It is very important for families to be able to determine what types of movies are suitable for the viewing audience that their family consists of. This is one of the main reasons that there are movie ratings in place. In the United States, there is an association referred to as the one of the “Motion Picture” that focuses on appropriately ratings movie material. Numerous families respect the ratings that are issued by this particular association across the states. These ratings help families deem appropriate viewing material for them and their children. This article will serve as your guide on understanding movie ratings.

There are numerous considerations made when the ratings are set in place for movies. Ratings are not developed based on just one consideration. This association looks to base their ratings on the following factors: the overall theme of the movie, the type of language that is used throughout the movie, if there is violence in the movie and what kind of violence, if there are sexual and/or obscene storylines in the movie, and if there is drug use and/or promotion in the movie.

The following represents various movie ratings that are issued based on the above-listed information: G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, Closed Captioning, and Not Rated. We will now take a closer look at what these various ratings mean.

General Audience Ratings

A General Audience rating means that the association has found the movie to be appropriate for all ages. Parents can rest assured that a movie rated G has no initial causes for concerns with the association. Ratings that reflect a “general audience” appeal have no obscene and/or sexual themes in them, there is absolutely no nudity, and the violence that may be exhibited in the film is very small, if any. In some cases, movies that are rated “G” do have some colorful language and/or expressions, but it is not heavy and does not exceed language or phrases that are used beyond expressions that are common.

Parental Guidance Rating

A rating that reflects “parental guidance” means just what it says. It is important for parents to either view the movie prior to allowing their child to view it, or to be present when their child is watching the film. Sexual and/or obscene scenes are limited to possibly only an indication of the matter, and/or brief nudity. Major scenes of drug use and tolerance are not present, but suggestion may be present. Violence may be present in the movie, but it is closely monitored and not heavy. Parents and/or guardians should be present in order to clarify situations and/or questions that their child may have regarding the movie that they are viewing.

Parental Guidance for Children Under 13

If a movie is rated to be concerned for children under 13, you can expect to have some strong language, more violence, and more exposure to sex and nudity.

Restricted Ratings

In movies with an “R” rating, parents should be immediately concerned about the content of the film. There will be numerous adult and/or violent scenes throughout this movie.

No Person Under 17

This particular rating simply suggests adult related material and the fact that there is no viewer under 17 years of age allowed.

Last, but not least a film with closed captioning in its rating merely informs the public that sounds of a particular film can be seen by text that is displayed somewhere along the screen on which the film is being watched.


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