Unrated Vs Rated

When it comes to films and television shows, the rating system plays a significant role in determining what content is appropriate for different age groups. The Motion Picture Association (MPAA) rates movies on a scale of G to NC-17, while television shows are rated by content guidelines and age appropriateness. However, audiences may encounter media that is unrated or not rated by the MPAA or television networks. In this article, we will explore the differences between rated and unrated content, their implications for viewers, and answer frequently asked questions about these rating systems.

Rated Content

Rated content is anything that has been evaluated and given a rating by the MPAA or a television network. The MPAA rating system was established in 1968 to provide guidance to parents and moviegoers about the content of films. The ratings have changed over time, but currently, the MPAA recognizes the following ratings:

G: General audiences – All ages admitted
PG: Parental guidance suggested – Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents are urged to give parental guidance as the motion picture contains mild thematic elements, injury images, brief smoking and rude humor.
PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned – Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious as the motion picture contains intense combat scenes and some language and adult content.
R: Restricted – Children under 17 require accompanying parent or adult guardian. The motion picture contains adult material, adult language, sexual content, and graphic nudity.
NC-17: No children under 17 admitted – The motion picture contains explicit sexual content and graphic violence.

The ratings for television shows vary by network and content guidelines. The networks rate their shows based on age appropriateness, and the ratings range from TV-Y (for all children) to TV-MA (for mature audiences only).

Rated content is beneficial for several reasons. For one, it gives parents and caregivers an idea of what kind of content is in the movie. Parents can use the ratings to determine if a movie is suitable for their children’s age and maturity level. It also allows moviegoers to make informed choices about what movies to watch based on their interests and sensitivities.

Unrated Content

Unrated content refers to movies or television shows that have not been submitted to the MPAA or a television network for rating. Unrated content is not illegal, and some filmmakers choose not to submit their work for rating, sometimes for creative or political reasons.

Although unrated content has not undergone the full rating process, it does not necessarily mean that the movie or show is inappropriate or unsuitable for younger viewers. However, without a rating, parents do not have an objective basis to determine if the content is appropriate.

Additionally, the presence of explicit sexual content, violence, or language in unrated content means that the movie or show may not be appropriate for all viewers. For instance, some unrated comedies may include content that is not suitable for children, and some may contain violent and gruesome scenes, which some audiences may find distasteful.

Rated vs Unrated: Which is Better?

When it comes to choosing between rated or unrated movies or television shows, there are pros and cons to consider. Rated content provides objective guidelines regarding the content of the movie or show, which makes it easier for parents and caregivers to make informed decisions about what their children can watch. On the other hand, unrated content can offer a greater degree of creative freedom and may contain more mature themes and content than rated movies.

However, since unrated content does not have a rating, it is riskier for parents and caregivers to let children watch the movie or show. Therefore, it is wise to research the movie or show first and read reviews from other parents or trusted sources to determine if the content is appropriate.


What is the difference between a rated and unrated movie?

The main difference between a rated and unrated movie is that a rating system provides an objective guideline for the content of the movie. Unrated movies have not undergone the full rating process but can contain mature themes or content that may not be appropriate for younger viewers.

Is it illegal to watch an unrated movie?

No. It is legal to watch an unrated movie. However, just like rated content, some unrated movies may not be suitable for all audiences.

Can unrated movies be shown in theaters?

Yes. Theaters can show unrated movies. However, they may face stricter regulations in terms of advertising and may attract a smaller audience than rated movies.

Are unrated movies generally more explicit than rated movies?

Not necessarily. The explicitness of the movie or show depends on the story’s content and creativity style. Some unrated movies may contain adult themes or language, while others may not.

In conclusion, rated and unrated movies and television shows have varying levels of maturity and explicit content. Rated content is useful to parents and moviegoers who want a clear idea of what they are watching, while unrated content provides more creative freedom for filmmakers. While it is not illegal to watch unrated content, it is essential to research the movie or show first and read reviews from other parents or trusted sources to determine if the content is appropriate.