Thursday, June 10, 2004


New Link and more on movie ratings

I was checking Al Baker's blog this morning and noticed there had been a lot of great discussion around his Shrek 2 comments. I noticed Steve's comments around the meaning of the PG rating. I wanted to point everyone to some good information on film ratings guidelines as well as some direction on content.

First, Film Ratings. This site outlines the guidelines followed in the U.S. to rate films. This is an important site since most of the really big films come from the U.S.

Second, I lifted this from, since I don't know the location of the Canadian ratings site (if one exists):

Movie ratings in Canada are mostly a provincial responsibility.

The Ontario Film Review Board uses the following system:

Family. Film appropriate for viewing by a person of any age.
Parental Guidance. Parents should exercise discretion in permitting a child to view the film.
14A. Persons younger than 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
18A. Persons younger than 18 years of age must be accompanies by an adult.
Restricted. Film restricted to persons 18 years of age or older.

The Canadian Home Video Rating System uses the following system for television:

G. Suitable for viewing by all ages.
PG. Parental guidance advised. Theme or content may not be suitable for all children.
14A. Suitable for people 14 years of age or older. Those under 14 should view with an adult. No rental or purchase by those under 14. Parents cautioned. May contain violence, coarse language and/or sexually suggestive scenes.
18A. Suitable for people 18 years of age or older. Persons under 18 should view with an adult. No rental or purchase by those under 18. Parents strongly cautioned. Will likely contain explicit violence, frequent coarse language, sexual activity and/or horror.
R. Restricted to 18 years and older. No rental or purchase by those under 18. Contents not suitable for minors. Contains frequent sexual activity, brutality/graphic violence, intense horror, and/or other disturbing content.
E. Exempt. Contains material not subject to classification, such as documentaries, nature, travel, music, arts and culture, sports and leisure, educational and instructional information.

I found a considerably more detailed breakdown at this site.

Finally, I have a site I swear by for reviews. Screen It is a fantastic site, with a comprehensive library of reviews. They give a complete thematic breakdown, stating whether the presence of the content (e.g. violence, nudity, language, scary moments) is mild, moderate, heavy or extreme. Each thematic element also has a listing of occurrences within the film and there is also a standard review of the film. Using Shrek 2 as an example (Here is the link), Screen It states the following:

The following is a brief summary of the content found in this animated comedy that's been rated PG. Some non-explicit, sexually related humor and material is present (that will go over most younger kids' heads but may nevertheless seem a bit inappropriate by some parents). The word "ass" is used in a double meaning, while some colorful phrases and other potentially imitative behavior are present
Some action style violence occurs (with characters being hit, knocked around or briefly put in harm's way) that may be unsettling or suspenseful to very young viewers. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (most played for comedy), some possibly drink and a cat is busted for possession of catnip (a drug joke).

Some crude humor is present, as are some brief tense family scenes, while the film pushes the positive message of tolerating and accepting others for the way they are. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

Long story short, movie distributors and the entertainment industry in general are only interested in one thing: getting your money. The best way to do that is to target your kids. It is our responsibility as parents (God-fearing or not) to be as educated as possible about what our kids are interested in.