MPAA Rating Descriptors

Report
Confusing Movie-Goers
for 15 Years!

What is the purpose of the ratings descriptors?

Who is the target audience?

How often do people pay attention to them?

Do they make sense?
Profanity: abusive, vulgar, or irreverent language

Language

Some language

Brief language

Mild language

Some brief language

Some mild language

Strong language

Brief strong language

Some strong language

Pervasive language

Pervasive strong language (The Big Lebowski)

A substantial amount of strong language (The Usual Suspects)

“Salty language” (My Fellow Americans)











“Violence”
“Some Violence”
“Graphic violence”
“Sci-fi violence” (The Matrix)
“Action violence” (The Incredibles)
“Actuality violence” (Schindler’s List)
“Bloody violence” (District 9)
“Strong brutal violence” (The Departed)
“Strong bloody violence” (Kill Bill, Vol. 1)
“Sustained strong stylized violence” (Sin City)
“Brief mild violence” (Tangled)







“Strong graphic violence throughout” (Hobo with a
Shotgun)
“Sequences of action violence” (Rush Hour 3)
“Intense sequences of violence” (The Bourne
Ultimatum)
“Violent content including some graphic images”
(Hot Fuzz)
“Sadistic scenes of torture and bloody violence”
(Hostel II)
“Disturbing and graphic depiction of violent antisocial behavior” (Fight Club)
“Grisly afterviews of horrific and bizarre killings”
(Seven)






“Epic battle sequences” (The Lord of the Rings: The
Fellowship of the Ring)
“Intense, graphic combat” (Gladiator)
“Strong western violence” (Tombstone)
“Intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences
of war violence” (Saving Private Ryan)
“An adolescent punch in the nose” (The Skateboard
Kid II)
“Mild alien vampire violence” (Teenage Space
Vampires)








“Nudity”
“Graphic nudity”
“Sexuality”
“Some sexuality”
“Strong sexuality”
“Some sex-related material” (The Green Mile)
“Some strong sexual content” (The Departed)
“Pervasive crude and sexual content”
(Superbad)





“Drug use”
“Some drug use”
“Some drug content”
“Drug material” (The Departed)
“Mild drug reference”









“Thematic elements”
“Some thematic elements”
“Rude humor”
“Mild comic action” (most animated films)
“Mild bodily humor”
“Terror”
“—all involving teens”
“Scary images”
“Disturbing images”








“A fantasy-comic image” (Superbad)
“Zombie violence”
“Partying”
“Smoking”
“Emotional thematic material”
“Mayhem throughout” (G.I. Joe: The Rise of
Cobra)
“Irresponsible gun use” (Sticks and Stones)
“Vicious bullying” (Sticks and Stones)







“Non-stop ninja action”
“Swashbuckling Action”
“Accidents”
“Intense depictions of very bad weather”
“Fantasy action/violence involving scary images
and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar."
“Violence, language, horror images, slime and
gore”
“Graphic crude and sexual humor, violent images
and strong language
-all involving puppets”
How might the MPAA make this process more
accessible and (in turn) effective?
In small groups, create a more effective ratings
descriptor system.
“Movie ratings do not determine whether a film is ‘good’
or ‘bad.’ They simply provide basic information to
parents about content they may find sensitive. The
MPAA and its member companies believe that
filmmakers should be free to bring their unique
creative visions to the screen, and that parents should
be equally free to decide what their children can and
cannot see. By providing clear, concise information,
movie ratings achieve both goals.”
-from “Informing Parents, Protecting Artistic Freedom”
on MPAA.org

similar documents