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guide to family movie reviews for parents, movie ratings for families, and movie industry information

Home > Movie Reviews for Parents > Movie Ratings Guide

Parents Movie Ratings Guide

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These films are meant to be viewable by all ages. It is considered not to have any themes that would be objectionable to parents. Many of the classic Disney movies, such as Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, or Aladdin, are rated G. This rating does not constitute a seal of endorsement for anyone and everyone to see the film; rather it signifies that anything within the film that signifies conflict is minimal. A young child may be frightened by the movie, but not scarred by it. There may be words that go beyond polite conversation (arguing), but there are no obscenities. There are also no scenes in the movie that depict drug use, sex, or nudity. Overall, this rating could be summed with the words ‘Mostly Harmless’. You should still consider your child’s sensibilities when seeing a G rated movie, but in the eyes of the MPAA the film is something most parents would consider suitable for their children.

This is a step up from a G rated movie. While the film may still be alright for your children, you should more thoroughly investigate the film before taking your kids, especially younger kids. There could be mild profanity or violence, or even brief nudity. Innuendo is especially likely to cause an otherwise G rated movie to receive a PG rating. Perfect examples of this are DreamWorks films such as the Shrek series which are rated PG due to their mild action, some rude humor and brief language. The film may still be suitable for children, even young ones, but some parents may find material objectionable. There are still no depictions of sex or drug use in a PG movie, although there may be brief nudity, if it is in a non-sexual context. The movies are considered something that many parents would consider suitable for their children, but a significant number may consider some things in the movie inappropriate.


PG-13 Movies are a distinction that didn’t exist before 1984. Prior to that movies went straight from PG to R. PG-13 was created to give an alternative to rating any movie that was not “kid friendly” an R rating (and thus significantly limiting its earning potential). The theme of a movie itself (a film about death, or drug use, or the mob, or a bunny ranch) won’t cause a film to be rated above PG-13, as horror flicks such as The Ring. However, if there is any drug use in a movie it automatically warrants a PG-13 rating. A PG-13 movie can have brief nudity, if it is in a non-sexual context; Titanic is a perfect example of this. Violence without gore can also cause a movie to be rated PG-13, such as the Transformers movies. On the whole, PG-13 movies are considered to be appropriate for older children, but not younger ones. Even in the cases of older children, a parent should consider their own stance towards the themes of the movie before allowing their child to attend.


Restricted movies contain adult themes in abundance. So much so that anyone under 17 requires a guardian to get into the movie. They can contain any of the following: violence, drug abuse, sexuality, profanity, nudity, or other adult themes (among other things). An R rating constitutes a strong warning toward parents to investigate the content of a movie more thoroughly before they take their children to see them. Most R rated movies are considered to be too adult oriented for the average minor to view. R rated movies, as well as PG-13 rated movies usually contain a brief description of why they are given the rating they are. A typical listing would look something like this: Rated R for pervasive graphic violence, brief nudity, and some strong language. The modifiers like pervasive, brief, and some, are intended to let a parent know how much of a given element to expect in a movie.


NC-17 is the classification that succeeded the now outdated X rating for movies. Movies that receive this classification are considered too adult in nature for any children to see. No one under 17 is allowed into the movie. It contains several of the themes found in an R rated movie in abundance. It is not meant to classify a film as obscene, merely as one that children should not see. The qualifications for an NC-17 movie are that it goes beyond the scope of an R rated movie in its portrayal of the themes in question.


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