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America’s Film Rating System


The motion picture association of America’s film rating system is a system that rates the movies depending on the contents and suitability in regard to the targeted audience. This guide has developed a symbol that rates the movies according to its fit for audience. Some films are rated for view by all while others are restricted to specific group. The symbol G indicates the movie is suitable for all ages. PG 13 indicates that some material in the content may not be appropriate for children under the age of 13. Another symbol is the R this implies that the movie is restricted to under 17 of age unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. The last symbol is the NC -17 this means that the movie is only suitable for adults.

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The rating of motion picture is designed to restrict the view of movie on issues concerning sex, violence, human abuse, illegal dealing (Tucker, p. 94). This intended to curb the growing exposure especially by the youth to bad or immoral literature. In most countries rating varies depending on their cultural values. In Muslim countries, watching of pornographic material is banned. In America terrorism movies are even restricted more than sexual movies.

This particularly is popular among the parent as they regard come materials to be obscene for the minors. These movie rating are not laws and therefore do not have any jurisdiction. At the moment, the MPAA rating has been adopted by a majority of the movie theaters, while the rest have sought to come up with their individual rating system. Movies are rated depending on the magnitude of the content perceived to be controversial. There are no laid down guideline on the movie rating standards.

This has led to increased criticism over the criteria to rate some movies highly and other lower. Failure to publish guideline has fueled criticism on what the critics call censorship of some movies. However, MPAA has been accused by a number of movie critics of attempting to impose obsolete sexual attitudes. This is because most NC 17 rated movies never finds their way to the theaters (Monroe305). This in return deprives the owner of the film good return on the investment. Although the system in America is considered flaw especially among the film makes, the rating is extremely beneficial to the parent and the older generation. Though the system has been in constant amendment there has been no standard accepted document.

Dangers of rating movies

Some movie ratings are deceiving. Since there is no particular mechanism to establish prudence of the rating, the MPAA deliberately underrate movies making them more restricted for viewing. Jim Judy says that about two thirds (67 %) of all movies are in the R category. Nonetheless, there is compelling evidence now to dispel such a claim as a majority of the movies appears quite less restrictive. According to Thompson, the G rating- whish rate movies to be violence, does not give the details of the violence involved. Thompson further notes that a majority of the films that have been rated R fails to indicate the extent of the violence involved. This clearly shoes that the rating offer insufficient information regarding the movies (Wolf 200).

There has been founded allegation of the organization rating low movie out side their umbrella (Mankiewicz 650). These have been viewed as a tactic to monopolize the market with some studios marketing their films than others. Another movie rating which has raised eye brows is the current rating of the PG-13. This is alleged that movies at this level are allowed more violence.

Another issue with the MPAA is the copyright violation. The organization has sought to enforce anti-piracy laws but they have been reluctant to standardize the rating to make them constitutional and acceptable by all parties (Hirschhorn 507). To deepen the dissatisfaction with the rating of the MPAA, almost every successful producer has an affiliation with the organization. The association in understood to make distribution of such studios easier. This is a concern over the credibility of such organization rating the movies.

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Values underlying rating or labeling system

Although the MPAA rating are abiding they are not legal, and are purely voluntary. This is necessitated by the fact that most of signatories of the MPAA have agreed to submit their movies for rating. Again most producers are wary of the failure of returns of capital due to release their movies unrated. Those movies which do not receive wide distribution include the pornographic movies and the independent films. This is because they are not rated. The way the film is going to be perceived in the market is directly proportional to its rating. PG ratings are associated with children movies and therefore not popular among the adult. A good example involves the “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”, which was rated PG resulting to its underperformance.

These kind of monopoly by the MPAA and its affiliates is devastating as it hiders the growth of other independent movies producers. However, there ought to be a guideline over the movies released for audience.

Works Cited

Hirschhorn, Joel. Rating the Movie Stars. New York: Beekman House, 1998. Print.

Mankiewicz, Joseph. Conversations with film makers series: Motion picture producers and directors. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2008. Print.

Monroe, Edwin. The V-chip debate: content filtering from television to the Internet. London: Routledge,1998. Print.

Tucker, Stephanie. Texts and Contexts. Thomson Wadsworth. Massachusetts: Wadsworth Publishing, 2005. Print.

Wolf, Mark. The video game explosion: a history from PONG to play station and beyond. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing, 2008. Print.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 28). America’s Film Rating System.

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StudyCorgi. "America’s Film Rating System." December 28, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "America’s Film Rating System." December 28, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'America’s Film Rating System'. 28 December.

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