Movie Rating Systems

Theatrical film releases are rated according to a ratings system created by the Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA). A ratings board that screens the films for certain criteria (theme, language, nudity and sex, violence) chooses the ratings. Filmmakers voluntarily submit their movies to the rating board.

There are five different movie ratings:

  • G-the film contains no offensive conduct.
  • PG-the film may contain some material unsuitable for children, such as violence, language or brief nudity.
  • PG-13-the film may contain rough violence, nudity, language (F-word) and drug use.
  • R-the film contains sexual content, persistent rough violence, profane language and/or drug use.
  • NC-17 (No One 17 and Under Admitted)-the film contains explicit sex scenes or aberrational behavior, sexually oriented language or scenes of excessive violence. An NC-17 designation does not mean the film is obscene or pornographic.

Movie ratings are an excellent starting point, but many parents want more information about the film's content. There are a number of Web sites that provide specific details about movies-some are for subscribers only and some are free. You can get a list of sites by using terms such as "kids' movie ratings" in a search engine.