Australia Movie Ratings

Getting a late start into the area of film ratings, Austrailian Classification (formerly known as the Classification Board of the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification or OFLC) first began identifying media products that should be restricted from children in 1988. But its roots go back to 1917 with a 3-member board in Melbourne.

Currently, the Australian board of approximately 13 members (not including support staff) provides movie ratings, video ratings, and ratings for literature. The board members are broadly representative of the Australian community. Parenting experience is not a requirement.

Using 3 to 5 members of the board to classify a film, Australian film and video ratings use the following indicators:

Rating Description
G Suitable for all viewers. It is noted by the board that a "G" movie rating in Australia doesn't indicate the movie is intended for children, simply that nothing in the movie will be disturbing or harmful to children.
PG Parental Guidance recommended for children under 15 years of age.
M Mature, recommended for audiences 15 years and over. Note: this is not a legally restricted Australian movie rating, but movies in this category cannot be recommended for those under 15 years.
MA Mature Accompanied. This category is legally restricted in that children under 15 cannot see "MA" films or rent them on video unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.
R Restricted. This category is legally restricted to adults. No one under 18 may view these movies in a cinema or rent them on videocassette.
X Restricted. This rating.applies to sexually explicit material which is restricted to viewers 18 years of age and over.

It is noted that when a movie releases on DVD with additional features, it is considered to be a unique title and is classified as a separate entity from the same movie's theatrical release. This can result in a more restrictive DVD rating due to increased violence, sex, or language in the additional DVD features.

Finally, while the Australian movie ratings are broadly accepted across the country, some states still have the power to classify movies themselves, or to overrule the OFLC rating.

Australian Classification
Sydney - Head Office
Levels 5 & 6
23 - 33 Mary Street
Surry Hills, Sydney
NSW 2010
(02) 9289 7100
Fax: (02) 9289 7101
Postal address
Locked Bag 3
NSW 1240

Information extracted from the Australian Classification website and an earlier interview with OFLC representative Patricia Flanagan.