Rated Ma

Rated Ma: Understanding the Movie Rating System and Its Implications

If you are a moviegoer, you must have seen the rating of various movies plastered all over the posters, trailers, and other promotional materials. These ratings are issued by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) of America and are meant to provide information about the age-appropriateness of a movie’s content. The highest rating, Rated Ma, is reserved for movies that are deemed particularly mature, and it signifies that the movie is unsuitable for children under the age of 17. In this article, we will take a closer look at Rated Ma and explore what it means for both filmmakers and audiences.

What is Rated Ma?

Rated Ma is one of the five movie rating categories that are currently in use in the United States. The other categories are Rated G (General Audience), Rated PG (Parental Guidance Suggested), Rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned), and Rated R (Restricted). Each category has its own set of criteria, and they are determined by the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA), which is a division of the MPA.

Rated Ma, as mentioned earlier, is intended for movies that depict adult themes and contain strong language, explicit sexual content, and intense violence. The rating was first introduced in 1968 as Rated X, but in 1990, it was changed to Rated NC-17 (No One 17 and Under Admitted) to avoid confusion with the pornography industry. However, the NC-17 rating earned a reputation for being a “kiss of death” for movies, as many theaters refuse to screen them and major retailers like Walmart and Blockbuster refuse to stock them. As a result, the MPA reintroduced the Rated Ma rating in 1996 to provide a less stigmatized alternative to NC-17.

What are the implications of Rated Ma?

The Rated Ma rating serves two main purposes: to provide parents and guardians with guidance on what content is appropriate for their children, and to help exhibitors and retailers determine which movies to screen and stock. However, the implications of Rated Ma go beyond these practical considerations.

From a filmmaker’s perspective, a Rated Ma rating can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it signals that the movie contains content that is intended for mature audiences, which can help attract a certain demographic. On the other hand, the rating can limit the movie’s reach and profitability, as it may not be accessible to underage viewers and some theater chains may refuse to screen it. Moreover, the stigma attached to the NC-17 rating still lingers, and some critics argue that the Rated Ma rating is unfairly associated with pornography and obscenity.

From an audience’s perspective, the Rated Ma rating can also be a mixed bag. For mature viewers who seek out challenging and thought-provoking movies, the rating can be a signifier of quality and authenticity. However, for parents and guardians who want to shield their children from adult content, the rating can be a source of anxiety and confusion. Some parents may find a Rated Ma rating too vague, as it does not provide specific details about the movie’s content, and may rely on online reviews and other sources to determine whether a movie is appropriate for their children.

What are some examples of movies that are Rated Ma?

Due to the nature of the rating, most movies that are Rated Ma are niche films that cater to a specific adult audience. Some examples of movies that have received a Rated Ma rating include Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, Gaspar Noe’s Love, and Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers, all of which feature explicit sexual content. Other notable examples include Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, which contains graphic depictions of drug use and sex, Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 1, which features intense violence and gore, and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, which includes scenes of self-harm and psychological breakdown.


Rated Ma is a rating category that is intended for mature audiences and serves as a guide for parents and guardians to make informed decisions about what movies are suitable for their children. However, the rating also has implications that go beyond its practical value, and it can affect how movies are marketed, distributed, and perceived by both filmmakers and audiences. Whether the Rated Ma rating is a helpful tool or a hindrance to artistic expression is a matter of debate, but either way, it is an important part of the movie rating system that continues to shape the ways we consume and discuss movies.