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Parental Guidance Suggested

This paper will focus on the movie rating system and its advantages and disadvantages. Starting with a short excursus into history and nature of movie rating, the system was introduced on November 1, 1968. It is sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners. The film rating board of the Classification and Rating Administration is the body that makes decisions on classification of a movie after viewing it, holding a group discussion on the subject, and a voting procedure.

The reason behind the introduction of the system was to equip parents with information concerning the content of films with a view of enabling them to make informed decisions on allowing or forbidding their children to watch certain movies. The criteria for classification include theme, language, violence, nudity, sex and drug. The rating has no enforcement power of a law; furthermore, not all the films have to be rated since submitting a movie for review by the film rating board of the Classification and Rating Administration is a voluntary decision on the part of film producers.

However, many parents use the information obtained from film rating while arriving at a decision as to appropriateness of a movie for their children; also, many movie theaters choose to adhere to the Classification and Rating Administration’s guidelines (The Classification and Rating Administration, 2000). The rating system consists of five categories marked by a certain sign. As the website of the Classification and Rating Administration (2000) explains, the following ratings can be awarded to films: G – General Audiences. All Ages Admitted. This rating implies that a film is suitable for audiences of all ages.

A film does not contain coarse language and features no nudity, sex scenes or drug use. Scenes of violence are reduced to minimum. However, this rating does not suggest that a film is a children movie; it merely points on its suitability for both adult and younger viewers. PG – Parental Guidance Suggested. Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children. This rating suggests that parent should view a film before allowing their children to access it as some scenes (like a limited degree of profanity, some depictions of violence, or brief nudity) may be deemed inappropriate by parents.

Such a film will generate address a more mature theme. However, there is no content that requires parents to be strongly cautioned about a film with the PG raring. For example, scenes of drug use are absent from such a movie altogether. PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13. This rating means that the film rating board considers that a film contains material not suitable for children under age 13 and urges parents to consider carefully whether they want to allow their younger children to view it.

Any scene of drug use will automatically result in at least a PG-13 rating. Similar logic applies to more than brief; however, in a film that receives this rating nudity will not carry explicit sexual connotations. Thematic considerations such as depiction of adult activities might also require this rating. As Roger Ebert (1997, p. 158) explains it, ‘[s]ome films may not be appropriate for young children, not because of offensive content, but because they won’t understand. ’ A film with PG-13 rating might feature scenes of violence, but they will not be realistic, extreme, or persistent.

The use of sexually-derived words will automatically result in at least a PG-13 rating; yet these words in a film with such rating these words will have a merely expletive function. Multiple use of these words, or their usage with sexual connotations, requires a stricter rating. A special vote by a two-thirds majority of the board may award a PG-13 rating to a film with usage of these words on the basis of the context or manner in which sexually-derived words are used or on the basis of inconspicuous nature of their usage in a motion picture. R – Restricted.

Children Under 17 Require Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian. This rating is awarded to a film on the basis of adult content it contains. Such content includes adult activities, coarse language, graphically depicted violence, sexually-oriented nudity, and scenes of drug use. Children under 17 are restricted from attending films with this rating unless they are accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. NC-17 – No One 17 and Under Admitted. This rating implies that the material depicted in the film is appropriate for adults only and may include violence, sex, aberrational behavior, or drug use.

This rating does not have to do with judgment of the overall quality of a film; neither does it equal to a film being ‘obscene’ or ‘pornographic’ in the legal sense. Speaking about the advantages and disadvantages of the movie rating system, its proponents and defenders ague that the system is very useful for the reasons of protecting children from inappropriate content, given that ‘[c]hildren’s exposure to violence, sexual themes, profanity, and the depiction of substances in movies remains a source of parental and public health concern’ (Thompson, 2004, ‘Context’).

However, the system also came in for considerable criticism. Some authors believe that the movie-making lobby is not interested in enforcing the rating, since ‘if ratings were strictly enforced, they would lose countless young consumers’ (Grossman & Degaetano, 1999, p. 72). Others believe that the system stifles directors’ creativity as they tend to cut out powerful scenes aiming at a less strict rating and greater audience (Breitbart & Ebner, 2004).

Furthermore, there have been concerns over the inaccuracy of movie ratings resulting in calls ‘to find a category for some films that are now informally called ‘hard R’s’ — i. e. , content so graphic that no one under the age of 17 should be allowed to see it at all in theaters’ (McClintock, 2007, para. 5). Under the public pressure the Motion Picture Association of America agreed to review the system ‘to clarify the ratings process for parents and to make it more fair and orderly for filmmakers’ (Masters, 2007). Therefore, it is possible to conclude that despite widespread criticism, there are efforts to improve the movie rating system to enhance its beneficial effects. References Ebert, Roger.

Questions For The Movie Answer Man. Kansas City, MO. : Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1997. Grossman, Dave, and Gloria Degaetano. Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence, 1st ed. New York, NY. : Crown, 1999. McClintock, Pamela. ‘MPAA tries to remove NC-17 stigma. ’ March 10, 2007. October 31, 2007. <http://www. variety. com/article/VR1117960864. html? categoryid=13&cs=1> Breitbart, Andrew, and Mark Ebner. Hollywood, Interrupted, 1st ed. New York, NY. : Wiley, 2004. Masters, Kim.

‘Movie Rating System to Undergo Revisions. ’ January 18, 2007. October 31, 2007. <http://www. npr. org/templates/story/story. php? storyId=6898820> Thompson, Kimberly M. ‘Violence, Sex, and Profanity in Films: Correlation of Movie Ratings With Content. ’ December 7, 2004. October 31, 2007. < http://www. medscape. com/viewarticle/480900> The Classification and Rating Administration. ‘Questions & Answers: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Movie Rating System. ’ 2000. October 31, 2007. <http://www. filmratings. com/questions. htm>

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