What is the purpose of the rating system? The movie rating
system is a voluntary system sponsored by the Motion Picture
Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners
to provide parents with advance information on films, enabling the
parent to make judgments on movies they want or don't want their
children to see.
the ratings indicate if a movie is good or bad? No, the system is
not designed to serve the function of "critic." The ratings do not
determine or reflect whether a film is "good" or "bad." The system is
not intended to approve, disapprove or censor any film; it merely
assigns a rating for guidance -- leaving the decision-making
responsibilities to the parents.
Who gives movies their ratings? Parents give the movies their
ratings - men and women just like you. They are part of a specially
designed committee called the film rating board of Classification and
Rating Administration. As a group they view each film, and, after a
group discussion, vote on its rating, making an educated estimate as
to which rating most American parents will consider the most
What criteria do they use? The rating board uses the criteria
you as a parent use when deciding what is suitable viewing for your
child. Theme, language, violence, nudity, sex and drug use are among
those content areas considered in the decision-making process. Also
assessed is how each of these elements is employed in the context of
each individual film. The rating board places no special emphasis on
any of these elements; all are considered and examined before a rating
Is the rating system a law? No, the rating system is strictly
voluntary and carries no force of law.
a rating be changed? Yes, the rules permit movie producers to
re-edit their films and re-submit them in hopes of receiving another
rating. Producers may also appeal a rating decision to the Rating
Appeals Board, which is composed of men and women from the industry
organizations that sponsor the rating system. A two-thirds secret
ballot vote of those present on the Appeals Board may overturn a
rating board decision.
Do all movies have to be rated? No. Submitting a film is purely
a voluntary decision made by the filmmakers. However, the overwhelming
majority of producers creating entertaining, responsible films submit
them for ratings. All five Classification and Rating Administration
rating symbols have been trademarked and may not be self-applied.
Who enforces the ratings? While the decision to enforce the
rating system is purely voluntary, the overwhelming majority of
theaters follow the Classification and Rating Administration's
guidelines and diligently enforce its provisions.
How do you get more information about a rating? For additional
information about the voluntary movie rating system and ratings for
new releases, visit the Motion Picture Association of America's home
page on the World Wide Web. The address is
www.mpaa.org. Or, in select
cities, you may use the interactive phone guide, MovieFone.
What else can parents do? Parents are urged to learn as much
about a film as possible before they permit their children to attend.
Reading reviews and feature articles or speaking with your theater
manager and friends are good ways to gather information in addition to
We are interested in your views. Please let your theater
manager know if you attend a movie theater and have any questions with
regard to how the rating system is being implemented.