Watch: The Evolution of the PG-13 Rating - Has It Become a Hindrance?

September 5, 2014
Source: GoodBadFlicks


Many cinephiles know thatĀ  the PG-13 rating that is so popular today is a relatively new addition to the rating system of the Motion Picture Association of America. Basically, because some movies with more questionable content like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Poltergeist and Gremlins threw parents into an uproar because the content didn't seem to fit the PG-rating moniker, Steven Spielberg and the MPAA came up with the PG-13 rating as a middle ground between the more kid-friendly PG films, and the adult-oriented R-rated flicks. However, GoodBadFlicks thinks the PG-13 rating is causing problems.

Here's a video essay from GoodBadFlicks called WTF Happend to PG-13? (via SlashFilm):

While the video raises some fair points, there are some conclusions here that just don't make sense. The biggest criticism seems to be that studios are cuttingĀ  what should be R-rated films and dumbing them down to get the coveted teenage demographic into theaters. That's undoubtedly true, but some of the examples aren't necessarily definitive cases of the PG-13 rating hurting the film or the box office numbers, especially when you take into account films like The Dark Knight (which got complaints that it should be R-rated). But we'd like to hear what you think. Does the PG-13 rating affect your desire to see a given film? Do you think the PG-13 rating is hurting quality films? Let us know what you think!

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Reader Feedback - 16 Comments


LOL. PG-13 is Bullshit.

DAVIDPD on Sep 5, 2014


I don't care how you do it but just give parents a clear message as to what's in a movie. Hollywood always puts 100% of the burden of making sure kids don't watch inappropriate movies on the parents, so give us a way to do that.

VoiceOfReason on Sep 5, 2014


Kids in mind is a great website for that

Jon Odishaw on Sep 5, 2014


Also commensensemedia.org

VAharleywitch on Sep 5, 2014


As is commonsensemedia .

VAharleywitch on Sep 8, 2014


excessive violence is onley necessary if the story needs it like judge dredd or casino. But in a blockbuster it has no use, so pg 13 is oke

Avi on Sep 5, 2014


There are plenty of action movies in recent years that would have benefited, artistically, from a harder rating. You can keep PG-13 for your family friendly blockbusters.

cobrazombie on Sep 8, 2014


yes in a slasher oke, but captain America for instance doesn't need it! And by the way expendables 3 certainly did need it!

Avi on Sep 8, 2014


I see the arguments here, and I don't like seeing films meant to be R trimmed down to fit PG-13. However, I think a whole new rating needs to be added that better categorizes R rated films. Something between PG-13 and R. As it's mentioned in this video there is a big difference between an R-rated film like THE KING'S SPEECH and CASINO. Parents are going to take their kids to PG-13, I don't think you can stop that. But then you have a film like KING'S SPEECH that serves as an interesting part of history with some bad language versus something like WOLF OF WALL STREET that is filled with sex, nudity, drugs, and the most f bombs in the history of film. And these two films are rated the same? It's bullshit. I'll see anything; ratings don't bother me, but I do think parents would be better able to determine which adult films their kids or teenagers could see (like KING'S SPEECH, GLORY, ETC.) and which ones they should maybe protect them from (WOLF OF WALL STREET, SE7EN, ETC.) until they are older. Bottom line: I've felt the range of what's acceptable is in R-rated films is too broad and new rating would help put up some distinctions between films in this rating.

Todd on Sep 5, 2014


Another film that showed the hypocrisy of the MPAA was "Bully". A film about teen bullying was given a R rating due *solely* to # of Fks. But it was a movie about teens, for teens, who couldn't go see it!

VAharleywitch on Sep 5, 2014


Well maybe if they made a new rating this wouldn't be a problem. Eliminate the grey area.

Jon Odishaw on Sep 5, 2014


Excellent points made. I knew PG13 was a joke, but hadn't realized just how much HAD been allowed in PG films (as I was only 10 when enacted). What really gets me is the uneven labelling of some types of scenes as R in one film, but NC17 in another.

VAharleywitch on Sep 5, 2014


This whole MPAA ratings thing is BS. Its good in theory, and I think we do need a reliable ratings system - but this system is broken (and i think caters to the studios, while makings appeals more difficult for independent filmmakers). For people who do care what their kids are watching but want something more in depth than the mpaa rating, both common sense media and imdb parents guide are useful resources.

John M on Sep 5, 2014


I've relied several times on commonsensemedia . I'll have to check out the IMDB site. But agreed that it's not just the rating, it's the *why*. My 12 y/o is now allowed PG13 (aside from high sexual content, which he's not interested in yet). We're now at the point of determining if an R film, is worth that rating, or would it now be considered PG13 - or got the R due to swearing which my kid hears daily in middle school.

VAharleywitch on Sep 8, 2014


On a personal level, PG-13 is a perfect point for meeting in the middle of R and PG. R ratings usually don't stop ME from seeing a movie, but for the rest of my family it does since they are bothered by appropriately R-rated content. I disagree with him when he says PG-13 isn't meant to be a pulled back version of R since the title "PG" in "PG-13" refers to being closer to the younger audience. If any rating should change, it should be R "ANYONE 17 and under are permitted if accompanied with an adult" because parents are allowed to take their toddlers into R-rated films. Let's keep PG-13 please.

RobotProphet on Sep 6, 2014


Red Dawn was the first PG-13 release fyi.

avconsumer2 on Sep 8, 2014

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