Movie Ratings

March 28, 2003 • Volume 13, Issue 12
Is Hollywood's ratings system too lenient?
By Brian Hansen

Introduction

Mike Myers stars in the raunchy PG-13 movie “Austin Powers — Gold Member.” PG-13 ads warn: “Parents Strongly Cautioned: Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.”  (AFP Photo/Melinda Sue Gordon)
Mike Myers stars in the raunchy PG-13 movie “Austin Powers — Gold Member.” PG-13 ads warn: “Parents Strongly Cautioned: Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.” (AFP Photo/Melinda Sue Gordon)

Many critics say Hollywood's movie-rating system doesn't adequately warn parents about the amount of sex and violence in films. Moreover, the Federal Trade Commission says the system sometimes fails because some theaters don't enforce the age restrictions, allowing unaccompanied minors to watch restricted movies. Critics also fault the system for “ratings creep,” which lets behavior or language that once warranted an R or NC-17 rating slip into the lucrative PG-13 category. But Hollywood executives say the system enables parents to make informed decisions about their kids' movie choices while protecting filmmakers' First Amendment artistic freedom. Meanwhile, with the 2004 elections drawing closer, some politicians are once again attacking Hollywood for undermining “traditional family values.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Censorship
Apr. 16, 2004  Broadcast Indecency
Mar. 28, 2003  Movie Ratings
Nov. 17, 1995  Sex, Violence and the Media
Feb. 19, 1993  School Censorship
Dec. 20, 1991  The Obscenity Debate
Dec. 07, 1990  Does Cable TV Need More Regulation?
May 16, 1986  Pornography
Jan. 04, 1985  The Modern First Amendment
Oct. 19, 1979  Pornography Business Upsurge
Mar. 09, 1979  Broadcasting's Deregulated Future
Mar. 21, 1973  Pornography Control
May 17, 1972  Violence in the Media
Jan. 21, 1970  First Amendment and Mass Media
Jul. 05, 1967  Prosecution and the Press
Jun. 28, 1961  Peacetime Censorship
Apr. 12, 1961  Censorship of Movies and TV
Dec. 23, 1959  Regulation of Television
Jul. 29, 1959  Control of Obscenity
Jul. 27, 1955  Bad Influences on Youth
Mar. 21, 1952  Policing the Comics
Apr. 12, 1950  Censorship of Motion Pictures
Sep. 20, 1939  Censorship of Press and Radio
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Children
Movies and Entertainment