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How Does a Movie Earn Its Rating?

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Question: How Does a Movie Earn Its Rating?
How does a movie earn a G, PG, PG-13, R or NC-17 rating? The Motion Picture Association of America has set the following standards for films in order to help parents determine if the content is acceptable for viewing.
Answer:

G Rating

According to the MPAA, a "G-rated motion picture contains nothing in theme, language, nudity, sex, violence or other matters that, in the view of the Rating Board, would offend parents whose younger children view the motion picture." The rating does not mean the MPAA approves of the film, only that it is fit for a general audience. Additionally, the film contains no strong language, nudity, sex, or drug usage. Violence is minimal.

PG Rating

A PG-rated film may not be suitable for children. The MPAA says a PG-rated should be checked out by parents before allowing younger children to see the movie. There could be some profanity, some violence, or brief nudity, however there will not be any drug use in a PG film.

PG-13 Rating

PG-13 indicates there's material in the film that may not be suitable for children under the age of 13. A PG-13 movie could go "beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category." The MPAA will give this rating to films with drug use or more than brief nudity, although the nudity in a PG-13 is not sexual in nature. In addition, the MPAA states "there may be depictions of violence in a PG-13 movie, but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence. A motion picture's single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context."

R Rating

R-ratings require a parent or adult guardian to be present in order to view the film. An R-rated film "may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously."

NC-17 Rating

No one under the age of 17 is permitted in a theater to watch a film with this rating. The MPAA gives a film an NC-17 rating based on "violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other element that most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children."

Source: Motion Picture Association of America

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