Motion picture rating system

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A motion picture rating system categorizes films with regard to suitability for children and/or adults in terms of issues such as sex, violence and profanity. A particular issued rating is called a certification.

This helps people decide whether a movie is suitable for themselves and/or their children. Also, in some jurisdictions a rating may impose on movie theaters the legal obligation of refusing the entrance of children or minors to the movie. Furthermore, where movie theaters do not have this legal obligation, they may enforce restrictions on their own. Ratings are often given in lieu of censorship. There is often debate as to the usefulness, strictness and enforcement of such systems. People may like content with a high rating. This includes children who may like to see content considered unsuitable for them (forbidden fruit phenomenon). "Unrated", "uncut", "uncensored", etc. versions, released on DVD, may be attractive.

In some countries (e.g. Australia), an official government body decides on ratings (i.e. de jure); in other countries (e.g. the US), it is done by industry bodies with no official government status (i.e. de facto). However, in most countries, movies that are considered morally offensive have been banned or restricted. Even if the film rating system has no legal consequences, and a film has not explicitly been banned or restricted, there are usually laws forbidding certain films, or forbidding to show them to minors.

The influence of specific factors in deciding a rating varies from country to country. For example, in countries such as the United States, films with mild sexual content are often restricted to adult viewers, whereas in countries such as France and Germany, sexual content is viewed much more leniently in films. On the other hand, films with violent content are often subject in countries such as Germany and Finland to high ratings and even censorship, whereas countries such as the United States are generally viewed to offer more lenient ratings to violent movies.

A film may be produced with an aimed-at rating in mind. It may be re-edited if the desired rating is not obtained (in particular it may be cut to avoid a higher rating than intended), or for producing a different version for other countries.


[edit] Argentina

The Institute of Film and Audiovisual Arts (Instituto de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales, INCAA) through the Advisory Commission of Cinematographic Exhibition (Comisión Asesora de Exhibición Cinematográfica) uses the following system:

  • ATP: Suitable for all ages, ATP stands for "Apta (para) Todo Público", meaning "for all public"
  • 13: Suitable for 13-year-olds and over
  • 16: Suitable for 16-year-olds and over
  • 18: Suitable for 18-year-olds and over
  • X: Sexually explicit

[edit] Australia

Australian Ratings
Australian Ratings

The Office of Film and Literature Classification is a government-funded organization which controls all ratings used on motion pictures. The OFLC seldom edits movies to meet the guidelines of a certain classification, as that can be done by the distributors and resubmitted for review.

The ratings board is composed mostly of liberal members, therefore the OFLC has a strong influence on "Informing your Choices", rather than "censorship." Film Advertising is accompanied by a Colour Coding and a Specific Shape for each classification category. This is accompanied by classification descriptions such as mild, moderate, strong or high level coarse language, nudity, sexual references, themes etc.

The E Rating is used in films and video games which do not have a need to be classified, such as lifestyle programming, and documentaries. However, documentaries or concerts that may exceed the guidelines of the PG classification must be submitted for classification.

  • E - Exempt from classification. Films that are exempt from classification must not exceed the PG classification.
  • G - General. The content is very mild in impact.
  • PG - Parental guidance recommended. The content is mild in impact.
  • M - Recommended for mature audiences. The content is moderate in impact.
  • MA15+ - Not suitable for persons under 15. The content is strong in impact.
  • R18+ - Restricted to adults 18 years and over. The content is high in impact.
  • X18+ - Restricted to adults 18 years and over (ACT And NT Only). This rating applies to pornographic content.
  • RC - Refused Classification. Banned from sale or hire in Australia.

[edit] Belgium

  • KT/EA - Kinderen Toegelaten/Enfants Admis (Kids Under 16 allowed) - Allowed for all
  • KNT/ENA - Kinderen Niet Toegelaten/Enfants Non Admis (Kids Under 16 not allowed) - Not Allowed for children under 16

[edit] Brazil

Symbols used by the Ministry of Justice for the ratings
Symbols used by the Ministry of Justice for the ratings

Movies are rated in Brazil by the DJCTQ, or Department of Justice, Rating, Titles and Qualification (Departamento de Justiça, Classificação, Títulos e Qualificação in Portuguese). No "parental guidance" ratings are used. It's interesting to notice that this rating system is also used for television.

The DJCTQ uses the following system:

  •  ER  Especialmente Recomendado para Crianças e Adolescentes (Especially Recommended for Children and Adolescents): This rating means that the film is especially advised for children and adolescents. Contains educational material, and doesn't have any inappropriate content.
  •  L  Livre para Todos os Públicos (General Audiences): This rating means that the film can be watched by anyone, and doesn't have any inappropriate content.
  •  10  Não Recomendando para Menores de 10 Anos (Not Recommended for Viewers Under 10 Years of Age): This film is recommended for persons with or over 10 years of age. May contain little inappropriate language, sex insinuations, or mild violence.
  •  12  Não Recomendado para Menores de 12 Anos (Not Recommended for Viewers Under 12 Years of Age): This film is recommended for persons with or over 12 years of age. May contain little inappropriate language, sex insinuations, or mild violence.
  •  14  Não Recomendado para Menores de 14 Anos (Not Recommended for Viewers Under 14 Years of Age): This film is recommended for persons with or over 14 years of age. May contain inappropriate language, sex insinuations and/or mild sex with no nudity or the act being explicit shown, violence, mention to drug use.
  •  16  Não Recomendado para Menores de 16 Anos (Not Recommended for Viewers Under 16 Years of Age): This film is recommended for persons with or over 16 years of age. May contain strong language, sex insinuations and/or mild sex with/without mild nudity, strong violence, drug use.
  •  18  Não Recomendado para Menores de 18 Anos (Not Recommended for Viewers Under 18 Years of Age): This film is forbidden for people under 18 years of age. It may contain strong language, intense sex, strong nudity, strong violence, intense drug use. It is also used to rate porn films.

[edit] Bulgaria

The Bulgarian film rating system is defined in the Film Industry Law (or Act) of 2003. The National Film Rating Committee examines every film that is going to be distributed in the country and gives it a rating. In practice, the ratings are rarely displayed on posters and in film advertisements, but almost all DVDs have them on the back cover.

Bulgarian film ratings
Rating Accompanying inscription When is it given
A Recommended to children. "When the film confirms the ideals of humanism or popularizes the national and world cultures or contributes to upbringing children"
B None specified in the law (although usually it is accompanied by the following text: "No exhibition restrictions"). "When the film is in no way contrary to the universal rules of morality in this country, has no restrictive recommendations from the Committee and does not fall in rating A"
C Not recommended to children under the age of 12. "When the film contains certain erotic scenes or scenes with drinking, taking drugs or stimulants or a few scenes of violence"
D No persons under the age of 16 are admitted. "When the film contains quite a number of erotic scenes or scenes with drinking, taking drugs or stimulants or a considerable number of scenes showing violence"
X No persons under the age of 18 are admitted. "When the film is naturally erotic or shows violence in an ostentatious manner"
No rating given Not to be distributed or rated. "Films the contents of which is contrary to the universal rules of morality, that laud or exculpate atrocity, violence or taking drugs, that incite to racial, sexual, religious or national hatred, are not rated."

Note: unrated films can not be distributed.

Before 2003 there was another rating system which was very similar to the current one (the same letter ratings were used, but the meaning of most letters was different; for example "B" stood for "not recommended for persons under the age of 12").

In practice, the rating B is given to most popular American films, even if they receive a more restrictive one in other countries.

Note: the table above uses quotes from the English translation of the Bulgarian Film Industry Act published on the website of the Union of Bulgarian Film Makers. Parts of the law's official Bulgarian text may have changed since the translation was done.

[edit] Canada

Movie ratings in Canada are mostly a provincial responsibility, and each province will have its own legislation regarding exhibition and admission.

[edit] Canadian ratings outside Quebec

General Canadian Ratings.
General Canadian Ratings.

In the past there were a wide range of rating categories and practices in the various provinces. However, the five rating systems outside Quebec now all use categories and logos derived from the Canadian Home Video Rating System. In general, the categories are:

  • G - General Audience - Suitable for all ages.
  • PG - Parental Guidance - Parental guidance advised. There is no age restriction but some material may not be suitable for all children.
  • 14A - 14 Accompaniment - Children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
  • 18A - 18 Accompaniment - Children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. In the Maritimes, under 14s are prohibited from viewing the film.
  • R - Restricted - Admittance restricted to people 18 years of age or older.
  • A - Adult - Admittance restricted to people 18 years of age or older. Sole purpose of the film is the portrayal of sexually explicit activity and/or explicit violence.

[edit] Quebec system

Quebec Ratings.
Quebec Ratings.

In Quebec the Régie du Cinéma rates films and videos.

  • G. (Visa général) -- May be viewed, rented or purchased by persons of all ages.
  • 13+. (13 ans+) -- May be viewed, rented or purchased by children 13 years of age or over. Children 12 years of age and under may be admitted to a public showing of the film but only if accompanied by an adult aged 16 or older.
  • 16+. (16 ans+) -- May be viewed, rented or purchased by children 16 years of age or over.
  • 18+. (18 ans+) -- May be viewed, rented or purchased by persons 18 years of age or over.

[edit] Chile

The Council of Cinematographic Classification (Consejo de Calificación Cinematográfica) uses the following system:

  • TE (Todo Espectador) - For all audiences
  • 14 - Inappropriate for children under 14
  • 18 - Suitable for people aged 18 and over. Children under 18 may be accompanied by a parent or guardian over 18.

[edit] Subcategories

  • 18/S - Suitable for people aged 18 and over with sexually explicit content. This indication signifies that the film essentially contains scenes of real and explicit sexual activity. Replaces the old X rating.
  • 18/V - Suitable for people aged 18 and over with extreme violence

[edit] People's Republic of China

The first film rating system of the People's Republic of China was expected to come out in 2005 as a part of the Motion Picture Industry Promotion Law (simplified Chinese: 电影促进法).[1] However, the National People's Congress has not passed such a law.

[edit] Colombia

As of June 22, 2005, the Ministry of Culture issued its new rating system. The classifications are:

  • T: for general audiences. The T means "Todos," meaning "all."
  • 7: for movies suitable for children aged 7 and above.
  • 12: for movies suitable for children aged 12 and above.
  • 14: for movies suitable for children aged 14 and above.
  • 18: for movies suitable for people aged 18 and above.
  • X: for pornography.

[edit] Czech Republic

  • U - Suitable for all audiences
  • 12 - Suitable for children over 12
  • 15 - Suitable for children over 15
  • 18 - Suitable for viewers over 18

[edit] Denmark

The Media Council for Children and Young People uses the following classifications.

  • A Approval of the film for general admittance.
  • 7 Approval of the film for general admittance, but not recommended for children under the age of 7.
  • 11 Approval of the film for admittance of children from the age of 11.
  • 15 Approval of the film for admittance of children from the age of 15.

Children who have turned 7 are allowed admission to all films if accompanied by an adult (a person turned 18). Consequently it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their children do not watch violent and hard-core pornographic films.

Films accessible to the public do not have to be classified by the Media Council but consequently must be labeled as 15 -Approval of the film for admittance of children from the age of 15 – no matter the harmfullness of the film.

[edit] Estonia

  • L - for everyone
  • Pere - for families (for everyone)
  • MS-6 - inadvisable for children aged under 6 years
  • MS-12 - inadvisable for children aged under 12 years
  • K-12 - restricted for children aged under 12 years
  • K-14 - restricted for children aged under 14 years
  • K-16 - restricted for children aged under 16 years

[edit] Finland

The Finnish Board of Film Classification has a film classification system under which films are classified into one of the following categories:

  • S, K-3 - for everyone
  • K-7 - for children aged 7 years and above
  • K-11 - for children aged 11 years and above
  • K-13 - for children aged 13 years and above (since 1.1.2007[2]).
  • K-15 - for children aged 15 years and above
  • K-18 - for people aged 18 years and above
  • KK - Banned due to criminal content such as child pornography or authentic violence as entertainment.

A person two years younger than the given rating is permitted to see a film in a movie theater when accompanied by an adult. This rule does not apply to the 18 rating.

Only material intended to be accessible to minors (those below 18 years of age) is subject to mandatory inspection. A proper notification is sufficient for adult material. However, the board has the right to inspect material suspected of violating laws or material which was not properly notified.

"KK" rating (kokonaan kielletty, totally banned) is the rating for films banned in Finland.

[edit] France

Prior to showing in theaters, a license (visa d'exploitation) must be obtained from the Ministry of Culture. Upon the advice of the commission pertaining to cinema movies, the minister decides either not to grant the license (a very rare occurrence), or to grant a license among the 4 following:

  • U (Tous publics) valid for all audiences;
  • -12 (interdit aux moins de 12 ans) unsuitable for children under 12 or forbidden in cinemas for under 12s;
  • -16 (interdit aux moins de 16 ans) unsuitable for children under 16 or forbidden in cinemas for under 16s;
  • -18 (interdit aux mineurs) unsuitable for children under 18 or forbidden in cinemas for under 18s.

Each rating can be accompanied by a special "warning". In practice, the ministry always follows the decision of the commission.

In addition, the movie may be considered "pornographic or inciting to violence" (colloquially referred to as "X-rated"). In this case, it bears high taxation and may be showed only in specific theatres, which are now few in France. This classification is not used for merely violent movies, or movies containing mere erotic scenes.

Classifications, as all administrative decisions, may be appealed before the courts (Conseil d'État at litigation). A highly publicized example of this is the movie Baise-moi, containing scenes of graphic sex and violence; it was initially not rated "pornographic or inciting to violence", but associations sued and obtained the "X classification".

Related link: [3] (in French)

[edit] Germany

The Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft (Voluntary Self-Regulation of the Film Industry, FSK) has a film classification system under which films are classified into one of the following categories:

  • Ohne Altersbeschränkung: no age restriction
  • Freigegeben ab 6 Jahren: no children under 6 years admitted
  • Freigegeben ab 12 Jahren: children 12 or older admitted, children between 6 and 11 only when accompanied by parent or legal guardian
  • Freigegeben ab 16 Jahren: children 16 or older admitted
  • Keine Jugendfreigabe: "no youth admitted", only adults. May also be referred to as FSK 18. This rating was previously called "Nicht freigegeben unter 18 Jahren."
  • Infoprogramm or Lehrprogramm: "educational program". This rating is not issued by the FSK, but may be self-applied to films seeking to educate their audience (e.g. documentaries, instructional films, etc.), provided they do not contain any material "evidently harmful to the development of children and youths".[2]. Films with this rating may be sold without any age restriction.

All the above ratings also contain the phrase "gemäß §14 JuSchG" (in accordance with §14 of the Youth Protection Law), signifying that they are legally binding, rather than being mere recommendations.

  • SPIO/JK: This certificate, issued my the Spitzenorganisation der Filmwirtschaft (Head Organisation of the Film Industry, SPIO), attests that, in the eyes of the SPIO, a particular film does not violate German law, such as the ban on "glorification of violence." However, films with such a certificate may still be banned and are frequently put on the "Index." The certificate simply protects the producer/seller of a film that later gets banned from prosecution, as he or she can claim that they had reason to believe the film did not, in fact, violate any laws. Since films with this certificate are not rated by the FSK, they may be sold only to persons aged 18 or older.

Furthermore, while a rating by the FSK is not legally required for a film to be sold, "unrated" films may be sold only to adults, and since most retail chains and virtually all cinemas will sell/show only films with an FSK rating, all films are normally submitted to the FSK for classification, with the exception of films that will most likely be refused a certificate (pornography or films containing extremely strong violence, for example).

After a title has received a rating for a cinematic release, the FSK must approve this rating again for a home entertainment release. Some titles therefore have different FSK certificates for the cinematic release and for the DVD release. House of 1000 Corpses, for example, gained a Keine Jugendfreigabe certificate for the cinematic release, but was refused a certificate for the home entertainment release, forcing the publisher to release it on DVD with a SPIO/JK certificate.

After 10 years, films may be resubmitted to the FSK for re-rating. Older films which have gained a FSK 18 certificate during the '50s or '60s often gain a much lower certificate now, due to a more liberal approach the FSK now takes in issuing ratings. However, due to the cost involved in resubmitting a film, it is common practice to keep the old certificate for the cinematic release and omly submit bonus materials or extended scenes for classification. This leads to the seemingly paradoxical result of extended, and more violent versions of previously-rated films gaining a lower certificate than the "tamer" version. The 4 Disc Collector's Edition of The Frighteners, for example, contains the cinematic release with the old FSK 18 certificate and the directors cut, which has new scenes but the same graphic violence as the cinematic release, which has gained a FSK 16 certificate.

Further to the above restrictions, it is also illegal to supply a film with an FSK 18, Keine Jugendfreigabe or SPIO/JK certificate, including those not on the index, without definitive means to supply proof of age. This severely limits distribution of films with these certificates, and thus it is extremely common for distributors to supply a cut version with a lower certificate so that the film can be distributed by mail order or Internet.

Almost all major online distributors have declined to distribute FSK 18 or Keine Jugendfreigabe films due to the legal difficulties in the past. Shopping Centres, Malls and Amazon Germany have started selling films with this certificate since 2002. Amazon Germany started selling films with this certification in November 2006. Many smaller online retailers provide an FSK 18 section which may be accessed only by sending a scanned copy of the buyer's identification card or providing the ID card's number (which includes the date of birth encrypted). The legality of this practice, however, is as yet untested. In September 2006, became the first major retailer to provide FSK 18 rated films, by making use of a ID checking service offered by the German postal service.

[edit] Greece

  • K - Suitable film for everyone, including children. The film does not contain violence, drugs or pornography.
  • K-13 - Suitable film for children over the age of 13. The film may contain a little violence and dramatic situations.
  • K-17 - Suitable film for children over the age of 17. The film may contain violence, drugs and a little porn. An ID card certifying the age is required in all Greek cinemas and DVD rental shops in order to get a cinema ticket or rent a DVD of a "K-17" rated film.

[edit] Hong Kong

An official government agency issues ratings for any movie that will be shown in Hong Kong movie theatres, instead of a private institution. They are:

  • I — suitable for all ages
  • IIA — some content is unsuitable for children; parental guidance suggested
  • IIB — some content is unsuitable for children and young persons; parental guidance suggested
  • III — for persons aged 18 and above only

[edit] Iceland

Kvikmyndasoðun video movie rating labels
Kvikmyndasoðun video movie rating labels
SmáÍs movie rating labele
SmáÍs movie rating labele

Kvikmyndaeftirlit Ríkisins was started in 1932 and ran until 1997. That year the name changed into Kvikmyndaskoðun and ran until 2006. Since 1997 the board does not edit movies. The old rating system from Kvikmyndaeftirlit Ríkisins and Kvikmyndaskoðun is still valid and is as following:

  • L: Suitable for all
  • LH: Not suitable for very young viewers (video only)
  • 10: Passed only for children 10 and over (theatrical only)
  • 12: Passed only for children 12 and over
  • 14: Passed only for children 14 and over (theatrical only)
  • 16: Passed only for children 16 and over
  • AB: Banned (1932 - 1997)

From July 1st 2006 Kvikmyndaskoðun was shut down and SmáÍs[4] has taken over the responsibility of rating systems in Iceland. Simultaneously, a new rating system started and is as following:

  • L: Suitable for all
  • 7: Passed only for children 7 and over
  • 12: Passed only for children 12 and over
  • 16: Passed only for children 16 and over
  • 18: Passed only for persons 18 and over

Just like Kvikmyndaskoðun, SmáÍs doesn't ban movies or edit them.

[edit] India

In India, the Indian Film Censor Board classifies films into four categories:

  • U — Universal: Suitable for all ages
  • U/A — Universal with adult/parent guidance. Some material may be unsuitable for children under 12.
  • A — Adult: Can be viewed only by those above 18
  • S — Special: A very rare designation for special cases

[edit] Indonesia

Motion pictures shown in Indonesia must undergo reviewing by the Indonesian Film Censor Board (Lembaga Sensor Film). (Lembaga Sensor Film). Other than issuing certificates, the LSF also reviews and issues permits for film-related advertising, such as movie trailers and posters. LSF has the authority to cut scenes from films. Certificates are issued based on the following categories:

  • SU - 'Semua Umur' - All/General
  • A - 'Anak-anak' - Children
  • BO - 'Bimbingan Orangtua' - Parental Guidance
  • R - 'Remaja' - Teen
  • D - 'Dewasa' - Mature

[edit] Ireland

The Irish Film Censor's Office (IFCO) under which theatrical films are placed into one of the following categories:

  • G - 'General' - Suitable for viewing by anyone. Examples: Shrek the Third, Artic Tale
  • PG - 'Parental Guidance' - Parental guidance is recommended for children under the age of 12. Examples: The Simpsons Movie, Oceans 13, Stardust
  • 12A - 'Parent supervision required for children under 12' - A person over 18 years of age must accompany a child under the age of 12 when seeing a film theatrically. This is very similar to the 12A certificate that the BBFC introduced in August 2002. Examples: Transformers, Hot Rod, Lions for Lambs
  • 15A - 'Parent supervision required for children under 15' - A much stronger warning that, although the film may be unsuitable for a child under the age of 15 watching alone, a child with an adult may be admitted to the film's screening. Live Free or Die Hard, Norbit, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, A Mighty Heart, and Daywatch
  • 16 - Films classified in this category are considered to be suitable for persons of sixteen or over. Children under this age cannot be admitted to screenings. Violent content and depiction of violence may be stronger than in films designated 15A. This certificate was made after a 15A rating was given to Bad Santa. Examples: The Brave One, Mr. Brooks, and Good Luck Chuck
  • 18 - 'Adults only' - The film is suitable only for adults. A person under this age will not be admitted. 9 Songs in October 2004 became the first film featuring explicit sex scenes to receive a certificate. Examples: Alpha Dog, Saw IV and Halloween

Films without certification are not ipso facto banned and have been shown at film festivals and arthouse clubs such as the Irish Film Institute.

For video releases (VHS and DVD), categories G, PG and 18 share the same meanings as above, however, there is no 16, and categories 12 and 15 are mandatory, not advisory.

[edit] Japan

Eirin has a film classification system under which films are classified into one of the following categories:

[edit] Latvia

In Latvia, the film presenter's added classification is the same as the one applied by the producers of the film. However, this could change from 2008, because in July 2007 the government of Latvia made a law that indicates a more strict classification policy. The classifications are approved by the National Cinema Center(Latvian: Nacionālais Kino Centrs) [5]. There is a new 'refreshed' rating system from July 2007. (The following classifications will operate as of September 2007)

  • V: rated for all ages (added in July 2007).
  • VP-10: parent accompaniment needed for children under 10. Films that have sarcasm and scenes of insultment. Examples: The Simpsons Movie, Hair Spray.
  • VP-12: parent accompaniment needed for children under 12. Films, that have a small amount of foul language, fighting scenes and violence.

Examples: Evan Almighty, Eragon, Die Hard 4.0.

(take note, that 'N' states for 'not recommended'.

  • A-(age): Strictly forbidden for children younger than the indicated age. Used very rarely.

[edit] Malaysia

In Malaysia, the Ministry of Information (Kementerian Penerangan Malaysia)[6] ruled out movie ratings since it was introduced on 1995 either for all persons or for persons above 18. The rating system specifies movies restricted for persons below 18. However, in movies with excessive scenes, the excessive scenes will be cut off the film, or the motion picture itself (eg. Daredevil) will be banned in Malaysia.

  • U (Umum) (General in Malay Language) - General viewing for all ages.
  • 18SG (Seram/Ganas) - Movies for persons above 18 with non-excessive violent/horrifying scenes.
  • 18SX (Seks) - Movies for persons above 18 with non-excessive sex scenes or drug use.
  • 18PA (Politik/Agama/Budaya) - Movies for persons above 18 with religious/political/counter-culture/mature thematic elements.
  • 18PL (Pelbagai) - Movies for persons above 18 with the combination of two or more elements (18SG, 18SX or 18PA).

Recently, posters for some U-rated films have included a notice clause which says:

"PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED. Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13."

which works as an equivalent for PG-13 and similar ratings in other countries. It is an indication that the classifications will eventually be revamped.

[edit] Maldives

With the formation of National Bureau of Classification (NBC) on December 29, 2005, a new classification regulation and a new rating system for movies were introduced. A classification certificate must be obtained first, before a movie or a movie-related production is released for commercial use including its trailers. NBC has the authority to cut scenes from movies. Classification certificates issued are based on the following categories:


  • SMILEY - General viewing. Content suitable for all ages. Examples: Hoodwinked, Shrek and Shrek 2.
  • 12+ - For viewers aged 12 and above. Contains some violence, some language, and drug abuse (in productions targeting the age group). Examples: Fast Food Nation, Night At The Museum, the Harry Potter films.
  • 15+ - For viewers aged 15 and above. Contains quite a bit of violence, some harsh language, and drug abuse (to warn people 15-18 to not use drugs) Examples: Hairspray, Transformers, (odd example) Shrek the Third.
  • 18+ - For viewers aged 18 and above. Contains lots of violence, sexual scenes, harsh language, veiled nudity, and drug use. Examples: Borat, SAW. 2 Fast 2 Furious.
  • PU - For PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY and is not classified for commercial use.

[edit] Malta

In Malta, the KRS issues all ratings for motion pictures. The renting and selling of videos and DVDs is unrestricted.

  • U (Universal) Suitable for all.
  • PG (Parental Guidance) Some material may not be suitable for young children. This is similar to its American counterpart.
  • 12 Suitable for children 12 years and over.
  • 16 Suitable for children 16 years and over.
  • 18 Suitable only for adults.

[edit] Mexico

The General Directorate of Radio, Television and Cinematography (in Spanish, Dirección General de Radio, Televisión y Cinematografía, or RTC[7]) is the issuer of ratings for television programs (although only one channel in Mexico explicitly shows the classification on each program, XEIMT-TV in Mexico City) and motion pictures. The RTC is a dependency of the Department of State (Secretaría de Gobernación[8]. It has its own classification system, as follows:

  • AA Informative-only rating: Specially suited for the interests of children under 7. No (or minimum) violence, no drug nor sexual content (may include affective and friendly scenes) under this rating. (e.g., cartoons).
  • A Informative-only rating: General Audience. Suited for all audience, but not in the special interest of children under 7. Minimum or no violence, sexual or drug use content. Suited for children under 12.
  • B Informative-only rating: For children 12 or over. Parental guidance suggested. Minimum and specifically motivated non extreme violence, may contain suggestive sexual conducts, but non-explicit content. Nudity might be present, but not in an erotic or degrading way. Drug use is present, but not during consumption. And drugs are treated with negative consequences. Dirty language might be present, but not extreme verbal violence.
  • B-15 Informative-only rating: For children 15 or over. More explicit content than B rating, but no extreme violence, explicit sexual and drug conducts, and non extreme verbal violence. Drug use must is not be propitiated.
  • C Restrictive rating: For adults over 18. High degree of violence (including cruelty), explicit sex, drug use and addictive content. Language is needed for the narrative purposes.
  • D Restrictive rating: Adult-only movies. Commonly known as X-rated. Most or unique content is: explicit sex, profanity or high degree of violence.

[edit] The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the Kijkwijzer system is used, which is executed by the NICAM.


  • AL Suitable for all ages (in Dutch: Alle Leeftijden).
  • 6 Not recommended for children younger than 6 years. Replaced the older MG6, where parental guidance was recommended for viewers younger than 6 years.
  • 9 Special rating, first used for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Not recommended for children younger than 9 years, because of very frightening elements.
  • 12 Not recommended for children younger than 12 years; broadcasting is not allowed before 20:00.


  • 16 Not suitable for children younger than 16 years; hence, according to Wetboek van Strafrecht art. 240A, it is forbidden to admit such a person to a screening, or rent out, sell, or give the movie (DVD, video, computer file, etc.) to such a person; broadcasting is not allowed before 22:00.

Mostly, these icons are used along with other symbols, displaying if a movie contains violence, sexual content, frightening scenes, discriminating language, drug use, or coarse language.

[edit] New Zealand

The Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 Act gives the Office of Film and Literature Classification (New Zealand) the power to classify publications into three categories: unrestricted, restricted, and "objectionable" or banned. Unrestricted films are assigned a green or yellow rating label. Restricted films are assigned a red classification label. The common labels in each category are as follows:

Unrestricted films:

  • E Exempt from classification (Normally only given to documenatires)
  • G Suitable for all.
  • PG Parental guidance recommended for young children.
  • M13 Suitable for children 13 or over, although young children can go and see it. This rating is not used anymore, although some older films still have that rating.
  • M Mature; Suitable for children 16 years or older, although children younger can view it.

Restricted films:

  • R13 Restricted to children 13 or Over.
  • R15 Restricted to children 15 or Over.
  • R16 Restricted to children 16 or Over. Different to the M.
  • R18 Restricted to 18 or Over.
  • R Restricted to people 16 years or over. The only exception is where the underage patron has parental consent to view the movie.

Apart from the R rating, patron movies are not allowed to view restricted movies - even with parental consent. However, many parents let their children see these movies in private homes anyway.

Unusual ratings: Rain Man; This is a PG in New zealand for Coarse language, even though it contains 20 or so F-Words. The same for the films JFK and A Few Good Men.

All films, videos, DVDs, and computer games with restricted content, must carry a label before being offered for supply or exhibited to the public.

Some films like Irréversible are banned on video but not banned for cinema or film festivals.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification's homepage:

[edit] Nigeria

The National Film and Video Censors Board [9] classifies films, videos, DVDs, and VCDs. The categories are:

  • G General admittance.
  • PG Parental Guidance suggested.
  • 12 Suitable for children aged 12 years and over.
  • 12A Same as 12, but younger children can be admitted if accompanied.
  • 15 Suitable for children aged 15 years and over.
  • 18 Suitable for people aged 18 years and over.
  • RE Restricted Exhibition: can be showed only subject to certain restrictions.

[edit] Norway

In Norway all movies have to be approved by the Norwegian Media Authority (Medietilsynet, formerly Filmtilsynet), a government agency, to be exhibited commercially.

Movies are rated using the following classifications:

  • A (all ages)
  • 7
  • 11
  • 15

Films rated 7, 11 or 15 may also be seen by children accompanied by a parent or adult guardian if the child has turned 4, 8 or 11 years, respectively. In addition to the ratings, the board indicates if a movie is suitable for children, families, youths or adults. A film may be given a rating even though it is intended for an older age group, e.g. an "A" film might be intended for adults if it does not contain material unsuitable for young children.

The board also indicates if a rating is "hard". A "hard" 11/15 rating is usually indicated by the text "not advised for children/youths under 11/15" ("frarådes barn/ungdom under 11/15 år"), however this does not affect if children under the given age are allowed to see the film if accompanied. In 2000 a Board of Appeal was established. Prior to this the ratings board could choose to reclassify a film. By January 2007 the "Mediatilsynet" removed the 18+ age limit from the Film- and Videogram law, resulting in a lower age limit as age 15 [10].

Movie ratings database:

[edit] Peru

  • PT General Ages. All ages admitted.
  • PG Parental Guidance is needed.
  • 14 Violence and language. No Children under 14 admitted without an adult.
  • 18 Extreme graphic violence, strong language, or drug abuse, or pornography films. No Children under 18 allowed without the company of an adult.

[edit] Philippines

In the Philippines, motion pictures are rated by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, a special agency of the Office of the President. Television programs are also subject to the same ratings classification system.

There are five ratings currently in use:

  • G(P) - General patronage
  • PG-13 - Parental guidance for children under 13
  • R (deprecated) - Strictly for persons over 18 (until early 2000s when the rating was split into two brackets)
    • R-13 - Strictly for children over 13
    • R-18 - Strictly for persons over 18
  • X - Not for public viewing

[edit] Poland

Polish television rating certificates.
Polish television rating certificates.
  • Rating for movies shown in cinemas:
    • BO (Bez ograniczeń) - Suitable for everyone
    • 12 - Suitable for children 12 years and over
    • 15 - Suitable for children 15 years and over
    • 18 - Only for adults
  • Ratings for programmes and movies shown in television:
    • Green circle - for everyone
    • Yellow triangle - age intimate in triangle (7,12,16)
    • Red circle - for adults (18 years)

[edit] Portugal

Movies are rated in Portugal by the Comissão de Classificação de Espectáculos of the Ministry of Culture. This organization also rates Theater, video games, other types of shows like circus, music concerts, Opera and Dance shows. It is also responsible for the rating of Video Releases.

Movies are rated using the following classifications:

  • M/4 For children of age 4 and above. Content with this rating should be of short duration and easy to understand and it should not provoke fear and/or collide with the sense of fantasy of this age.
  • M/6 For children of age 6 and above.
  • M/12 For children of age 12 and above. This rating is for content that due to its length and complexity, can provoke in younger viewers fatigue and psychiatric trauma. Younger viewers must be accompanied by an adult.
  • M/16 For children of age 16 and above. This rating is for content that explores, in excessive terms, aspects of sexuality, physical and psychic violence. Younger viewers must be accompanied by an adult.
  • M/18 For persons of age 18 and above. This rating is for content of explicit sexual nature and/or that explores pathological forms of physical and psychic violence. Younger viewers must be accompanied by an adult, although if they are too young, the person responsible for admission into movie theaters can deny entrance.

[edit] Special classifications

These classifications can be added to the previous ones:

  • Pornographic (M/18-P) Generic characteristics: content is considered pornographic if it contains: a) exploitation of situations to try to arouse the spectator; b) low aesthetic quality. Specific characteristics: the first level (hardcore: content that presents a very thorough demonstration of real sexual acts being perpetrated, with the exhibition of genitalia); the second level (softcore: content that presents a very insistent and thorough demonstration of simulated sexual acts).
  • Quality (M/4-Q, M/6-Q, M/12-Q, M/16-Q, M/18-Q) Content that, due to its artistic, thematic, educational and technical aspects deserve this attribute.

[edit] Romania

Romanian CNC rating system.

  • A.G. Audienţă generală. (General audience.)
  • I.C.-14 Interzis copiilor sub 14 ani. (Not for children under 14 years of age.)
  • I.M.-18 Interzis minorilor sub 18 ani. (Not for children under 18 years of age.)
  • XXX Interzis proiecţiei cu public. (Not for the public to see) Pornography only.

[edit] Singapore

See also: Censorship in Singapore and Cinema of Singapore
Singapore movie rating certificates
Singapore movie rating certificates

Before 29 March 2004, these were the film ratings for all movies.

  • G General
  • PG Parental Guidance
  • NC16 No Children under 16 years old admitted (Note: The NC-16 rating was issued with the release of Saving Private Ryan, which couldn't be passed as a PG film due to the violence present in the film, but lacked an adult theme to be rated R(A))
  • R(A) Restricted (Artistic), restricted to persons 21 years and above.

The Media Development Authority revised the film ratings in Singapore on March 29, 2004:

  • G General
  • PG Parental Guidance
  • NC16 No children under 16 admitted - For persons 16 years and above ONLY
  • M18 Mature 18, for persons 18 years and above
  • R21 Restricted 21, for persons 21 years and above

A new rating was added on August 19, 2006:

  • R18 Restricted 18, for persons 18 years and above (Note: only for cabaret shows to date such as the Crazy Horse)

G and PG generally has no restrictions on age and most audiences are admitted. Regulation on the presence of adults for PG rated shows are advised but not strictly enforced.

NC16, M18 and R21 groups are restricted to only persons of the specified age or above of the particular group. No persons under the specified age would be admitted as identity cards have to be checked before the person is allowed to enter the cinema.

If a movie is rated R21, it is banned from DVD or VCD sales.

[edit] South Africa

South African ratings are issued, certified and regulated by the Film and Publication Board. All broadcasters, cinemas and distributors of DVD/video and computer games must comply with the following:

[edit] Ratings

  • A - This is a program that does not contain any obscenity, and is suitable for family viewing.
  • PG - Children under the age of 12 may watch this film, but must be accompanied by an adult. This program contains an adult related theme, which might include very mild language, violence and sexual innuendo.
  • 10 - This rating is rarely used - but there have been instances where the Board needed a gap rating between PG and 13.
  • 13 - Children under the age of 13 are prohibited from watching this film. This program contains mild language, violence and sexual innuendo.
  • 16 - Children under the age of 16 are prohibited from watching this film. It contains moderate violence, language, and some sexual situations.
  • R18 - Children under the age of 18 are prohibited from watching this film. It contains extreme violence, language and/or graphic sexual content.

(The R18 rating does not refer to pornography - as this is banned on television and cinema by the Film and Publication Board)

  • X18 - this is reserved for films of an extreme sexual nature (pornography). X18 films may be distributed only in the form of video/DVD and in a controlled environment (eg. Adult Shops). No public viewing of this film may take place. X18 films may not be broadcast on television or in cinemas.

(The X18 rating does not refer to child or animal pornography - as this is totally banned and illegal in South Africa)

[edit] Additional Symbols

  • V (Violence)
  • N (Nudity)
  • S (Sex)
  • L (Language)
  • P (Prejudice)

[edit] Additional Notes

  • Films rated 16 and 18 may be showed only in cinemas between 21:00 - 23:59, or 0:00.
  • If a member of the public or a Film and Publication Board Official finds that a Cinema or a Film Distributor is allowing under-aged children to view prohibited material, the accused may be liable for a hefty fine and/or closure of that specific establishment.
  • Proof of age is required of anybody who wants to buy/rent R18 material.
  • The Film and Publication Board has the discretion and right to ban any film it deems unworthy of public exhibition.

[edit] South Korea

  • All - Suitable for all audiences
  • 12 - Suitable for children 12 and over (Parental supervision recommended)
  • 15 - Suitable for children 15 and over
  • 18 - Suitable for people 18 and over
  • Limited - No one admitted under 19 years of age (including high school students); exhibition restricted to 'Limited Theaters' only. Advertisements on TV and in newspapers, plus video, VCD or DVD releases and broadcasts are prohibited. This classification was introduced in 2002.

[edit] Spain

Attitudes toward Film censorship in Spain are unusual due to the adverse affect of dictatorship and heavy censorship until 1975 under General Francisco Franco. Therefore most Spanish citizens are against censorship of any kind and prefer personal responsibility and liberalism, thus very few people show serious respect for certification of films. For example, Cinemas in Spain never ask for identification.

  • All - Suitable for all audiences
  • Especialmente Recomendada para la Infancia - Especially suitable for infancy
  • 7 - Suitable for audiences 7 and over
  • 13 - Suitable for audiences 13 and over
  • 18 - Suitable for audiences 18 and over
  • Película X - Pornographic movie[3]

[edit] Sweden

Statens biografbyrå (SBB) (the Swedish National Board of Film Censors) reviews the content of all films or pre-recorded video recordings (videograms) prior to showing at a public gathering or entertainment (subject to some exceptions), in accordance with law SFS 1990:886. This means that films not intended for public viewing do not have to be screened; however, this is the practice: when a film is let through, is rated and not prohibited, it can not be considered to violate any laws regarding its content. It is a criminal offense to hire or sell videos containing unlawful depictions of violence, thus meaning that the distributor could be held responsible for the content of a film if unrated or prohibited. It is illegal also to rent or sell videos depicting realistic violence to children below the age of 14.

The following categories are used by the SBB:

  • Btl Barntillåten (Children allowed) Suitable for all ages (Unusual example: Borat was given this rating in Sweden while the US gave them an R)
  • 11 years 11 År is deemed non-harming for children of at least 11 years of age. Children of at least 7 years of age are admitted if accompanied by an adult 18 or older, may include mild drug use, mild depiction of sexual activity.
  • 15 years 15 År states that no one under 15 years of age is admitted, may include strong drug use, depiction of strong sexual activity. This also includes pornography; however, it is not shown at ordinary cinemas. There are common unofficial ratings used by television channels, rental shops and adult cinemas to hinder persons below the age of 18 years to be exposed to pornography, such as Barnförbjuden ("prohibited for minors"), 18 År ("18 years") and Vuxenfilm ("movies for adults").
  • Prohibited Förbjuden If considered to be brutalising, films can be banned from public display, may include scenes of prolonged or intrusive graphic violence, or sexual violence and constraint (examples: Hard Boiled, Man Bites Dog, The Castings). There is a possible gap between what the boards puts its prohibited stamp on and what's considered illegal due to its content, making some prohibited films possible to obtain or to be seen by members of closed societies at cinemas.

[edit] Switzerland

  • 0 - Universal. Suitable for all
  • 7 - No one under the age of 7 admitted
  • 10 - No one under the age of 10 admitted
  • 12 - No one under the age of 12 admitted
  • 14 - No one under the age of 14 admitted
  • 16 - No one under the age of 16 admitted
  • 18 - No one under the age of 18 admitted

Switzerland is composed of 26 cantons, each with their own ratings. The entries above are for the cantons of Vaud and Geneva.

[edit] Taiwan

The Government Information Office of the Republic of China administering Taiwan divides licensed films into one of the following four categories pursuant to its issued Regulations Governing the Classification of Motion Pictures of the Republic of China (電影片分級處理辦法 in traditional Chinese):

  • General audiences category, abbreviated as "G" (普遍級(普)) - General audiences may all view.
  • Protected category, "P" (保護級(護)) - Children under 6 years old must not view. Children aged at least 6 but less than 12 require guidance of accompanying parents, teachers, or adult relatives to view.
  • Parental guidance category, "PG" (輔導級(輔)) - Children under 12 years old must not view. People aged at least 12 but less than 18 require attentive guidance of parents or teachers to view.
  • Restricted category, "R" (限制級(限)) - People under 18 years old must not view.

Film advertisements use a single Chinese character surrounded by a square to show the film's category. The English abbreviations used here are for information only as they are not used in Taiwan.

Related and official link: Classifications of movies (in traditional Chinese)

[edit] Thailand

See also: Censorship in Thailand and Cinema of Thailand

Thailand has no ratings system. Instead, films are subject to the 1930 Film Act, under which films must be viewed by the Board of Censors, which can then impose cuts on the films prior to release. The board is composed of members of the Royal Thai Police and the Ministry of Culture, with advisory roles for the Buddhist religion, educators and the medical community. Most cuts are made for sexual content, while acts of violence are typically left untouched.

A motion picture rating system was proposed in 2007, and was under consideration by the National Legislative Assembly. The proposed ratings are:

  • PG - General audiences.
  • PG-15 - Must be at least 15 years old to view.
  • PG-18 - Must be at least 18 years old to view.
  • X - Banned.

The proposal was met with resistance from the film industry, which had hoped for a less-restrictive approach than the 1930 Film Act, but under the ratings system, films would still be subject to censorship, or could be banned from release altogether, even in overseas territories, if the film is deemed harmful to the image of Thai culture.[4][5][6]

[edit] United Kingdom

UK film classification certificates.
UK film classification certificates.
Main articles: British Board of Film Classification, History of British Film Certificates

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) rates both motion pictures and videos. Local authorities are responsible for accepting and enforcing the BBFC's recommended ratings for cinema showings, whereas those for videos are legally binding.

The current BBFC system is:

  • Uc (Universal : Children) Suitable for all. Videos classified 'Uc' are particularly suitable for pre-school children. (Video only)
  • U (Universal) Suitable for all. (The board state that while they cannot predict what might upset a particular child, a 'U' film should be suitable for audiences aged 4 and over)
  • PG (Parental Guidance) General viewing but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children. (It is the board's policy that movies rated 'PG' should not disturb a child of about 8 years of age or older; however, parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset young or more sensitive children) The film Jurrasic Park is a PG in the U.K for mild langauge, and strong scary violence. When it was released, it was originally to be a 15 or 12, but was classified as a PG, as the violence was mostly Sci-Fi.
  • 12A (12 Accompanied/Advisory) Suitable for 12 years and over. No one younger than 12 may see a '12A' film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult. (Exclusively for cinema, '12A' was first implemented on The Bourne Identity and, contrary to popular belief, not on Spider-Man, which was first released months before, under the previously fully restrictive 12 certificate, and then immediately re-released to take advantage of the new guidelines). A 12 or 12A film can have upto moderate violence, moderate sex, moderate drug use and moderate horror, threat or menace. It can have upto 2-3 f-words in it. Unsusual Example: Alien Autopsy. This film contained 6 f-words.
  • 12 Suitable for 12 years and over. No one younger than 12 may rent or buy a '12' rated video. (Until 31 August 2002, this mandatory certificate used to apply to cinema exhibitions as well)
  • 15 Suitable only for 15 years and over. No one younger than 15 may see a '15' film in a cinema. No one younger than 15 may rent or buy a '15' rated video.
  • 18 Suitable only for adults. No one younger than 18 may see an '18' film in a cinema. No one younger than 18 may rent or buy an '18' rated video.
  • R18 (Restricted 18) To be shown only in specially licensed cinemas, or supplied only in licensed sex shops, and to adults of not less than 18 years. (These films contain sexually explicit, pornographic content.)

Videos deemed by their distributors to be exempt under the Video Recordings Act 1984 (typically non-fiction content such as sporting highlights, fitness videos, nature films, etc.) may bear the mark E (for exempt), though this is not a rating and the BBFC does not maintain a symbol. The BBFC also rates video games that require a certificate due to mature content. However, the majority of games are merely rated by the voluntary PEGI rating system, that replaced the ELSPA rating system.

[edit] United States

Prior to 1968, some large cities and states had public rating boards which determined whether films were suitable for display to the public in theatres. The United States Supreme Court in the case of Freedman v. Maryland 380 U.S. 51 (1965) would effectively end government operated rating boards when it would decide that a rating board could only approve a film; it had no power to ban a film. A rating board must either approve a film within a reasonable time, or it would have to go to court to stop a film from being shown in theatres. Other court cases would decide that since television stations are federally licensed, local rating boards have no jurisdiction over films shown on television. With the movie industry deciding to set up its own rating system, most state and local boards ceased operating.

[edit] Ratings

See also: TV Parental Guidelines, Entertainment Software Rating Board, and Film Advisory Board

In the United States, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), through the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) issues ratings for movies. The system was instituted in November 1968 and is voluntary; however, most movie theater chains will not show unrated domestic films and most major studios have agreed to submit all titles for rating prior to theatrical release. Most films will have the MPAA insignia at the end of the closing credits. Earlier films that had full opening credits such as The Poseidon Adventure would bear the insignia in the opening.

The ratings as they exist in 2007 are:

[edit] Unrestricted

  • G - General Audiences - All ages admitted. There is no content that would be objectionable to most parents. Very mild language may exist, including words such as "heck", "dumb", or "stupid". The G-rated film Cars uses the phrase "hillbilly hell" twice, as well as one use of "The race was a pisser", and is even visible in the subtitles on the DVD. In Ratatouille, the phrase "Welcome To Hell" occurs once, but it is in a satirical context. The G-rated film The Green Slime includes the word "bitch", but this is no longer considered acceptable in a G-rated film. The Disney classic Sleeping Beauty used the word "hell" with the sentence, "Now shall you deal with me, o Prince, and all the powers of hell!" A second Disney classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame used the word "hell" several times. And in The Secret of NIMH one character utters "Dick" under his breath. These films were otherwise appropriate and not suitable to be rated PG.
  • PG - Parental Guidance Suggested - Some material may not be suitable for children. These films may contain some mild language, crude humor, sexual themes and/or violence. No drug content is present. The "F" word generally was not heard in pre-1984 "PG" films. There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, in All the President's Men (1976) the word "fuck" appeared seven times, in the movie A Bridge Too Far (1977) the word "fuck" appeared once, in The Kids Are Alright (1979) it appeared twice, and in The Right Stuff (1983) it appeared five times. Racial insults were also present in pre-1984 films. "The Song Remains" (1976) also had fuck appear five times. The 5 times that the word did appear were the only instances of profanity in that film. More recent films that are rated PG may have a few uses of mild language, as described above, but almost never have any uses of the word "fuck". Spaceballs (1987) is one exception. A few racial insults may also be heard.
  • PG-13 - Parents Strongly Cautioned - Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. These films contain moderate sexuality, language, humor, and/or violence. Bloodshed is rarely present. Anaconda (1997) for example, had gore in it and almost enough to hit an R-rating but was PG-13 because the violence was limited. This is the minimum rating at which drug content is present. Marijuana is the minimum use for this rating. While PG-13 films usually have more profanity than PG films, it is not necessarily common. A film rated PG-13 for strong language may still avoid using the word "fuck". Bad News Bears was rated PG-13 for "rude behavior, language throughout, some sexuality and thematic elements" but did not use the word "fuck". Gunner Palace had the f-word appear 42 times but it got its PG-13 rating on appeal due to the fact that they thought it was important to see real life war footage. Two of the f-words are used sexually. The Hip Hop Project had the f-word appear 17 times. This also got its PG-13 rating on appeal. Normally a PG-13 would not allow any more than 3 uses of fuck or use any sexual meaning of the word. A rating of PG-13 simply means that a film contains more profane language and/or racial insults than the PG rating permits.

[edit] Restricted

  • R - Restricted - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult 17 or older with photo ID. These films may contain strong profanity, graphic sexuality or nudity, strong violence, and/or gore, and drug use. A movie rated R for profanity often has more severe or frequent language than the PG-13 rating would permit. An R-rated movie may have more blood, gore, drug use, nudity, or graphic sexuality than a PG-13 movie would admit. Some R-rated films have an "unrated" DVD release with added scenes of violence, sexual material, or profanity.
  • NC-17 - No one 17 and under is admitted. These films contain excessive graphic violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse, strong language, or any other elements which, when present, most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children and teens. NC-17 does not necessarily mean obscene or pornographic in the oft-accepted or legal meaning of those words. The Board does not and cannot mark films with those words. These terms are legally ambiguous, and their interpretation varies from case to case. The NC-17 designation implies that the Ratings Board has determined that due to the content of the film, it should be intended for adults only. NC-17 replaced the X rating in 1990. However many theater companies and local operators will not play NC-17 titles and some newspapers and magazines will not run ads for these films. Most NC-17 titles have limited theatrical release, usually in smaller theaters, or are released directly to video or DVD. Most NC-17 titles also have an R-rated version released on video and/or DVD.

[edit] Others

  • NR or Not Rated - NR is not an official MPAA rating. It is used for independent or foreign films that are in limited release and have not been submitted to the MPAA for a rating classification. It is also used by a film that is soon to be released and has trailers out for promotional purposes, but has not yet received a final rating. Advertisements for films with a pending rating contain the notice "This film is not yet rated". Most films released before 1968 carry this policy. Some vendors attach "youth-restricted product" labels to certain unrated films.
  • M - For mature audiences (used 1969-71). This rating is now defunct. Most films given this rating were re-rated PG, PG-13, or R. It is not considered equivalent to any other rating, unlike GP, another defunct rating that is considered identical to PG. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) was an example of a M-rated title.
  • GP or General audiences—parental guidance suggested - In 1970-71, the MPAA found that the "M" rating was viewed by audiences as seedier and more adult than its intended meaning (to signify films containing material that may not be appropriate for some children). In response, the designation was changed to "GP". Shortly afterward the MPAA shortened it to PG-(Parental Guidance Suggested). THX-1138 (1971) was originally rated GP, though since re-rated R in its 2004 edition.
  • SMA - "Suggested for mature audiences". Not an official rating, but an advisory used for a number of years prior to the MPAA ratings in 1968. This advisory appeared on certain films with mature themes or violence.
  • X - The precursor to the current NC-17 rating that unlike the other ratings was not trademarked. Because it was not trademarked it became so widely used by the U.S. pornography industry that the MPAA replaced it with the NC-17 rating in 1990. That led to the misconception that NC-17 means pornographic in content.

[edit] Sources

  1. ^ First film rating scheme in the making By Zhu Linyong (China Daily), Updated: 2004-12-17 00:25
  2. ^ SPIO guidelines concerning the self-assignment of ratings (pdf, in German)
  3. ^ [1] - Spain: Evaluation Report about the compliance of the Motion picture rating system in film advertising (in Spanish).
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Will Reforms Make Censorship Worse?, Simon Montlake, Time, October 11, 2007, retrieved 2007-10-12

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

  • [11] Comparison of film classifications issued for twelve recent films by the classification boards of the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Sweden.
  • List of certificates recorded in the IMDb database. Note that while extensive, this list is not exhaustive, and that it mixes current and old rating systems and does not specify which is which, thus making it difficult to use.
  • IMDb's information about rating systems from all over the world.
  • Information regarding film classifications from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification
  • Denmark Medierådet for Børn og Unge (The Media Council for Children and Young People).
  • Finland Valtion Elokuvatarkastamo.
  • France Centre nationale de la cinématographie (CNC).
  • Germany Spitzenorganisation der Filmwirtschaft e. V. (SPIO)
  • Iceland Smáís.
  • Iceland Kvikmyndaskoðun
  • Irish Film Censor's Office.
  • Japan Administration Commission of Motion Picture Code of Ethics.
  • USA Motion Picture Association of America.
  • Netherlands Kijkwijzer (and Nicam).
  • New Zealand Office of Film & Literature Classification.
  • Norway Media Authority.
  • Singapore Media Development Authority.
  • Sweden Statens Biografbyrå (SBB).
  • South African Film and Publications Board.
  • Spanish Film Academy (ACE).
  • Britain British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).
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