Watch This: Animated 'Brief History of the PG-13 Rating' Video Essay

May 7, 2015
Source: Pitchfork

PG-13 Rating

Ever wondered why the PG-13 rating is such an annoying middle-ground? Do you know the full history of the PG-13 rating involving Gremlins and Temple of Doom? If not, or maybe if you do already, then dive in and check out this intriguing animated video essay about "[the] Brief History of [the] PG-13 Rating". Made by the folks at The Dissolve, this video explores why and how the rating came about, and how we got to the point today where one "f*ck" is acceptable, but most other language is not, and certain violence sets off red flags and so on. There's also a fun making-of featurette embedded below to go with the video. Enjoy!

Thanks to SlashFilm for the tip on this video. A Brief History of the PG-13 Rating was animated by Mack Williams, presented by Dell. The video is a companion piece to a feature editorial posted last year called "The ongoing failure of the PG-13 rating", discussing how the PG-13 rating has devolved into something so much worse than what it was originally intended for. That's a whole other debate for another day, and not really worth getting into here, because I can name plenty of recent PG-13 movies that I loved. As always, it's great to see some solid work on content that shines a light on the history of the movie industry. Thoughts?

Find more posts: Discuss, To Watch, Video Essays



It still surprises me that DRAG ME TO HELL was PG-13. That film shocked me with what they got away with.

DAVIDPD on May 7, 2015


Well, there was an unrated cut, is there any chance you might have seen the unrated cut without knowing it? It was PG-13 in theaters though.

Chris Groves on May 7, 2015


Nope. I saw it twice in theatres. Twice at home, never seen an "unrated" version.

DAVIDPD on May 7, 2015


Okay then, check movie-censorship and you can see the different version. I've only seen the unrated so I'm not sure just how much they got away with the PG-13

Chris Groves on May 7, 2015


You watched drag me to hell...*gasp* twice in Theaters??

Sascha Dikiciyan on May 8, 2015


I don't really like the hate that PG-13 gets. It is the perfect rating for the big event films, films that are made for everyone. They don't pander to young children, but they also don't exclude them either...which isn't a bad thing. I do think there might be some problems with the mind-set though, of forcing a PG-13 rating onto films that don't really deserve it, but that is on the producers, not a flaw of the rating itself. But there are quips that can be made all day about the rating system in general. I don't think ratings in and of themselves are bad, the G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17 classifications are familiar. But it is some of the parameters that I don't really care for. Like the F-bomb rule and things of that nature. I think there are some tweaks that could be made. With R rated films, if you are under 17, you 'need an adult' to buy your ticket and/or watch the film. I think lowering that even one year, to 16 might make a world of difference when it comes to R rated films struggling to reach a bit of a wider audience. If you can drive to the movie theater, you should be able to buy a ticket to whatever movie you want to see.

Chris Groves on May 7, 2015


Behind the scenes? Or an ad for DELL?

ryderup on May 8, 2015


DELL..... behind the scenes of what??? i dont understand...sell a DELL machine or what this is about????PG 13 and what is allowed to appear in movies??

bRAINssss on May 9, 2015


The Pg-13 rating is terrible... because it forces directors to censor their vision into something that wasn't really meant to be.. Imagine if you created something with your own mind, something out of nothing... and some stupid shirt and tie exec tells you to chop it to pieces .. would you be upset?... hell yes.. with the pg-13 rating they want to appeal to the housewives and there snot nosed kid to score a big profit... there is no other way you can dismiss that.. its only about dollars and nothing about creativity.. Imagine if Schindlers list was pg-13? showing no brutality or ugliness of war? That would be Obscene. Look what happens when you turn great R rated movies and turn them pg-13... a diluted hunk of crap I.E. Alien vs. Predator, Terminator Salvation, Speed 2, Expendables 3, Bring the kids!!!!! Pg-13 probably has worked for Rom-Coms, Chick Flicks, But in the action guy movie Genre its ruined it.

Phillip Almaraz on May 10, 2015


In Australia we have G, PG, M (Mature), MA (Mature Adult), R, and X. It seems messy but it basically means that movies have to be pretty full-on to get an R rating. Movies like Gremlins these days would get an M rating which means it is recommended for teens 15 years and over. Movies like most 'traditional' horror film would get an MA rating which strictly forbids persons under 15 from viewing. Torture-porn and excessive nudity, profanity, etc can receive an R rating which is for Adults 18+. - Not necessarily a better system but I think it clarifies thing enough for parents to make an informed choice.

Carl Manson on May 10, 2015


I think this site does the best job kids-in-mind.com. They break it into 3 categories, sex/nudity, violence/gore, and profanity. Then give a 1-10 on each. Get the whole assigning ages thing out of it. MPAA treat the public like children, like we wont understand if it doesn't have a grade like school did.

MaqueeStalker on May 11, 2015

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