What’s Rated R? A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Film Rating System
When it comes to choosing a movie to watch, you may have noticed that films are given ratings. These ratings, like G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17, are designed to provide guidance to movie-goers about what is appropriate for different age groups. But what exactly does rated R mean?
Rated R is the second-highest rating for films and is reserved for movies that contain adult themes, explicit language, violence, nudity, drug use, or sexual content that may not be suitable for children. In this article, we will explore what it means for a movie to be rated R, the history of the rating system, and how it impacts the movie industry.
What is Rated R?
Rated R is a film rating that stands for Restricted. It means that only people who are 17 years and older should watch the movie. The rating is given by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to help parents, guardians, and movie-goers make informed decisions about what movies to watch.
A rated R movie may contain one or more of the following:
1. Adult language: The movie may include explicit language, vulgarity, or swear words.
2. Violence: The movie may show graphic or intense violence, including physical or emotional abuse, murder, or bloody scenes.
3. Nudity: The movie may show partial or full nudity, including sexual intercourse or graphic nudity.
4. Sexual content: The movie may contain adult themes or sexual content.
5. Drug Use: The movie may depict drug use or drug addiction.
Why are Movies Rated?
The history of the film rating system dates back to the early 1900s, when a group of religious groups formed the National Board of Censorship, which later became the National Board of Review. Their goal was to censor films to protect public morals. They established their guidelines and code and then reviewed films to see if they met these guidelines.
However, this system was ineffective, and filmmakers found ways around the censorship guidelines. In the 1960s, filmmakers began pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable in movies. This resulted in concerns over whether movies should be regulated at all and if so, how.
In response to this, in 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) replaced the Hays Code with the modern film rating system. The rating system was designed to give more freedom to filmmakers while also giving parents and guardians more information about the content of films.
What are the Different Film Ratings?
The film rating system has five main categories. They are G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17.
1. G – General Audiences
G-rated movies are intended for all audiences, including children. There is no violence, profanity, or nudity in G-rated movies.
2. PG – Parental Guidance Suggested
PG-rated movies may contain some material that is not suitable for children. They may include mild violence, some profanity, and some sexual content.
3. PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned
PG-13 rated movies may be inappropriate for children under 13. They may include moderate violence, some sexual content, and strong language.
4. R – Restricted
R-rated movies are intended for audiences 17 and older. They may contain strong violence, sexuality, and language, as well as drug use, and adult themes.
5. NC-17 – No Children Under 17
NC-17-rated movies are not suitable for children under 17. They often contain explicit language, graphic violence, and sexual content that goes beyond what is allowed in an R-rated movie.
How does the Film Rating System Affect the Movie Industry?
The film rating system has a significant impact on the movie industry. A PG or a G rating can mean that a movie is more likely to be successful with families and younger audiences. Conversely, an R-rating means that the movie will be limited in its audience, as 17-year-olds and younger will not be allowed to see it without an accompanying adult. An NC-17 rating can be a death-knell for a movie, as many theaters refuse to show these movies, and big-name actors and actresses are less likely to sign on.
It is not uncommon for filmmakers to adapt their movies to avoid being given an NC-17 rating. Edit or cut down some of the more explicit scenes if they think it will improve their box office numbers or chances of distribution. They may also use creative tactics such as shadowy lighting or cutaway shots to suggest the more explicit content without showing it outright.
In conclusion, understanding the film rating system, and what rated R means, is essential for making informed decisions about the type of film you and your family should watch. As parents, it is essential to be mindful of what our children are watching and, as filmmakers, to understand the limitations of our creative work. The film rating system provides a framework to ensure that movies provide the appropriate content for their intended audience, while still providing artists with the creative freedom to express their messages.