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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex in Media: Books, Magazines, Films, TV & More » Movie and television ratings system?

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Author Topic: Movie and television ratings system?
Member # 1881

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Hey everyone!

I just wanted to get some feedback on something I've been wondering about for a little while now. Since the dawn of film, there has been a ratings system for motion pictures.

In Canada it's as follows:

G - General. The film is appropriate for an audience of any age.
PG - Parental Guidance. These movies tend to be recommended for anyone over eight years old. Some possible frightening or violent content.
14A - 14 or Adult. This meant that the movie contained violent scenes, frightening scenes, or mild sexual content or nudity. Also, coarse language. No one under the age of 14 was permitted to enter unless accompanied by someone over the legal age.
18A - 18 or Adult. This meant that the film contained violent, disturbing, frightening, sexual content or strong coarse language or nudity. No one under the age of 18 was permitted to enter unless accompanied by someone over the age.
R - This was stronger than 18A. It was the same idea, with more of the objectional content and NO ONE under the age of 18 (accompanied by an adult or otherwise) was permitted to enter.
NC17 - This was the base definition of pornography and no one under the age of 17 was permitted. Contained STRONG sexual content and nudity.

I *believe* (although I could be wrong) that in the United States it's as follows:

G - General. A certificate issued by the MPAA indicating that a film is suitable for all ages.
PG - Parental Guidance Suggested. A certificate issued by the MPAA indicating that a film's content is suitable for viewing by children, but recommends parental guidance. This tends to suggest that the film might contain scary moments or moderate violent content.
PG13 - Parental Guidance Suggested, 13 years or older. A certificate introduced by the MPAA on July 1, 1984 to indicate that a movie's content is rated as slightly stronger than a PG certificate. This would mean more violence, scary moments, and moderate/limited sexual content. Moderate coarse language.
R - Restricted. A certificate issued by the MPAA indicating that persons under the age of 16 would only be admitted when accompanied by an adult. The age was later raised to under 17 years old, and varies in some jurisdictions. Strong coarse language, violence, sexual situations, or nudity.
NC17/X - A certificate issued by the MPAA indicating that no person aged 17 or under will be allowed to attend a screening of the movie. This category was formerly called "X", but many people's mistaken association of "X" films with XXX films caused the MPAA to change this on September 27, 1990. This meant strong sexual content and themes. Graphic nudity.

I got the American information from the Internet Movie Database and other film sources.

Now, since the dawn of time, youth have been trying to get into see movies they aren't permitted to attend because of their age. I think we can all remember the hype surrounding the release of "Hannibal" and how tons of teenagers and kids were trying to get in to see a movie that carried a strong 18A/R (depending which country) rating. And many managed to succeed. I used to work in a movie theatre as a concession stand worker and ticket attendant and we showed many movies which carried the 18A or 14A rating.

A few years back there was a great controversy in England over the release of a movie called "Crash" by David Cronnenberg. The movie centered around a small group of people who were sexually stimulated by witnessing or participating in car crashes. I've never seen the movie myself, but it was said that have contained graphic sexual scenes and nudity and was also found to be very disturbing. It was released in Canada, but was banned completely in the UK as well as being banned (at least for some time) in the United States. It was a media frenzy and the censorship was in the public eye for a while.

My question is really wether or not rating movies is a good idea. I mean, I myself (when I was the ripe old age of 17) snuck in to see "Fight Club" even though I was under the legal age (NOT that I promote this). Seeing that film (which contained graphic violent content and moderate sexual content along with strong coarse language) didn't really do me any harm (except increase my lust for the fabulously talent Edward Norton). There are even ratings on television programs these days (it is required in Canada, I'm not sure if in the United States). This has to do with sexual content, violent content and coarse language.

Should censorship be reworked or is it not a big deal as is? What do you feel about the ratings system? Is it effective or useless?

Share your thoughts!

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My crazy little universe....

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With open arms and open eyes...."


Posts: 289 | From: Canada | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lady Moonlight
Member # 384

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Ah, censorship. A favorite topic of librarians everywhere, including this one.

I suppose one of the main problems I have with censorship systems almost everywhere is that they make age the basis of admissions, and age is only somewhat connected to maturity. Then again, how do you measure maturity? Age is just easier, I suppose.

I grew up in the U.S., and I saw my first R-rated movie at age 15 or 16. It was (and I'm dating myself here) [u]Witness[/u], and while I didn't have any problem with Kelly McGillis' (sp?) breasts, the graphic violence did bug me, and there were scenes I simply chose not to watch--and probably still wouldn't today.

I like the systems that show you specifically what might cause problems for the unwary. For example, one of the U.S. movie channels (HBO maybe?) flashes up a screen before movies and shows with letters like "L" for language "S" for sexual content and/or nudity and "V" for violence. (I think I've got those right.) That gives parents some options about what their kids should and shouldn't watch. Assuming the parents are around, that is.

And I've got no illusions about you.
Guess what? I never did.
When I said, when I said, "I'll take it."
I meant, I meant As Is.
--Ani DiFranco, "As Is"

Posts: 943 | From: Missouri, USA | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 2050

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Okay, for Singapore, the rating system is as follows.

For movies, it's

R(A) - Restricted (Artistic) for adults above the age of 21
NC (16) - This rating has only recently come into effect for Saving Private Ryan and Hannibal

For television


Pretty clear cut and simple eh? R(A) movies are not easy to sneak into because the cineplexes are very strict on this rule. R(A) movies include sexually explicit movies, violent movies and movies with undesirable / sensitive themes like drugs and race.

Of course, alot of movies never even get to see our shores because some distributors refuse to censor the movies according to our regulations. If I'm not wrong, Oliver Stone's Platoon was one of them. I'm not too sure if 'Crash' made it here. If I am not wrong it did, albeit with numerous cuts.

While I used to make a heck of alot of noise about the rating system, I think at the ripe old age of 19, I can sa I finally understand why we have such a rating system and thegood it does.

Singapore is a multi racial society and we live in what I feel is strained peace. We had racial riots in the 1950s and that riot is one that no one will forget. And shows that try to insinuate racial disharmony or belittle a race/religion is only bad news for the country. 'Eyes Wide Shut' contained a scene where an orgy was taking place while thre was chanting from an ancient Hindu scripture. This was immediately taken out.

I think a mistake we commonly make is assuming that all teenagers are like us. Most of us here can accept violence and sexual themes as an integral part of the show. But many cannot.

Singapore is a fairly conservative society still. Homosexuals are still deemed as outcasts and undesirables. While it should not be left up to a bunch of 5 people deciding what we should or should not watch, the idea of censorship is protecting the majority. And the majority has proven itself to be one which is very much against excessive sexual imagery and violence.

I would say that our censorship board is one that is fairly reasonable. Although, they did try to take out the word 'shagged' in the movie "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" This was met with immediate disapproval and the board revoked its earlier decision.

One thing about our censorship board, we get a say. And that is something I really appreciate.

Posts: 2294 | From: Singapore | Registered: Dec 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 168

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I think the whole idea of restricting access to a movie is quite ridiculous. I agree that the viewer should have an idea of what kind of sex/violence/language will be in the movie, I don't think that there should be actual restrictions. Do I think that a five year old should see Hannibal without his/her parents? Of course not . . . but since when do five year olds go to the movies alone? I don't think most parents would let their five year old see an extremely violent movie even in their presence. Graphic sex scenes are another issue entirely. Personally, I think that it's fine for kids as young as eight or nine to see it as long as it's explained to them(they're having sex, it's just a movie, it's not realistic). I know that living in New York City, the movie ratings have never stopped my friends and I from seeing whatever we wanted to see. My parents wouldn't let me watch R movies until I was about 9(I think), but once I was about 12 and I started going out with my friends without supervision, it was never a problem to get into R movies. They used to enforce the rules much less. Around the time they started to ask for ID, when I was 14, my friends and I simply all got fake IDs. And honestly . . . I've really never been traumatized by a movie. The only person I've ever known who has is when my mother saw Silence of the Lambs when she was like 40.

Limes Are Sublime

Posts: 1101 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 3737

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Well hello there!!!

For The uk its........

Uc.....Suitable for younger children, always a cartoon.

U......Suitable for all

PG.....Parental Guidance needed

12.....Have to be at least 12 to view

15.....Have to be at least 15 to view

18.....Have to be at least 18 to view

Quite simple i feel!!

Posts: 6 | From: UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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