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Movie Ratings: What They Really Mean

The movie ratings we have today have been around since 1968, yet many parents still aren’t really certain about what to expect in a film with a specific rating. And there’s good reason for this confusion.

First, if you think ratings have changed over the years, you are correct. But most people think they have become more lenient. That’s not really the case. In fact, there are some types of content, including full-frontal female nudity, that were found in PG movies during the 1970s. Today, this type of nudity isn’t even seen in PG-13 films and is almost exclusively found in R or NC-17 rated movies.

On the other hand, more profanities and violence are slipping into lower ratings categories. And then there’s the ongoing debate about the depictions of tobacco products. Should any movie with a cigarette be rated R? Should ratings be updated on older films that often include tobacco use?

In the podcast link below, Kerry Bennett and I discuss the the ins and outs of movie ratings, including what watching thousands of movies has taught us about what to expect within a certain rating category. Listen, and in a half hour you’ll be a movie ratings expert!

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