The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) assigns ratings to films to ensure that they are suitable for specific audiences.
The movie rating system is an internationally recognized way to help parents decide if a film is appropriate for their children.
This system is not perfect, but it does provide a point of reference in deciding whether or not certain films are appropriate for different audiences.
In this post, we’ll explore R-rating, one of MPAA’s five classifications of movies. Let’s get started!
What Does R-Rating Mean? Why Are Some Movies Given an R Rating?
The R classification indicates that the film contains mature content such as adult activities, strong language, graphic violence, drug abuse, and nudity.
Most theaters have their R-rated movie restrictions, which may involve checking IDs of people who appear to be under the age of 17 when purchasing tickets or permitting only parents to purchase tickets and accompany those under the age of 17 to the theater.
Movies are rated based on their content. The MPAA is the organization that rates movies. They use a rating system of G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17. Ratings are often applied to trailers, TV spots, and the movie itself. There’s also a TV MA Rating.
Some movies may be rated R because they contain adult content or violence that may be too intense for younger children to view. Other reasons a movie might receive an R rating include drug abuse, nudity, language, sexual content, etc.
A movie will not always have just one reason for being given an R rating – sometimes, it has multiple reasons which contribute to the overall rating.
The History of the Motion Picture Association of America and why They Rate Movies
The Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA, is a trade association advocating for the film industry in the United States.
The MPAA is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., representing all facets of motion picture production and exhibition, including movie studios, theaters, and others that exhibit films.
The MPAA is a self-regulatory organization of the American film industry. The MPAA’s rating system has been in place since 1968 when it replaced the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) X-ratings.
Films are rated based on their suitability for audiences, considering whether they are appropriate for children, adolescents, adults.
On April 17th, 1922, the association was founded by six major Hollywood studios: Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (20th Century Fox), and RKO Radio Pictures.
What Children Under 17 Should Do Before Watching an R-rated Movie
If you are a child and want to watch an R-rated movie, the best way to go about it is not by sneaking into the theater. That is against the policy, and you won’t be doing yourself any favors in the long run.
The first thing a child under 17 should do before watching an R-rated movie is talking to their parents about seeing it. And then leave it to them to decide if it is suitable or not.
Children should also ask their parents what to expect from the movie. Parents should know that some parts of the film may not be appropriate for children under 17, so parents must have seen the film ahead of time for their child to watch it safely.
Some movies may feature drug abuse, sex, nudity, graphic violence, or profanity; these movies will typically be rated R. There may also be intense scenes like car chases and gunfights in these types of films that may make them unsuitable for some people.
The use of violence in movies is a contentious issue. Some people believe that the inclusion of scenes that show violence can benefit viewers by exposing them to topics they might not otherwise see and giving them a chance to reflect on their views. Others believe that this type of content may lead to negative behavior such as increased aggression or desensitization.
Either way, it is best practice for children to get the approval of their parents/ guardian before seeing an R-rated movie.
What Parents Should Do Before Allowing Their Kids to Watch R-rated Movies
Parents often face the dilemma of what to do with their kids when they watch an age-restricted movie like an R-rated film or movie. But before you allow your kids to watch these movies, you should follow the guidelines.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has clear guidelines for parents on how they should go about watching movies with their children. They suggest that parents view these films beforehand to ensure that they are appropriate for their children’s viewing level.
The MPAA also suggests that the TV be turned off if the content is not right during the film. That means taking a break from time to time or skipping scenes if the dialogue is too mature for a younger child’s ears.
Further, it is best practice to leave an open channel to your kids so they can easily talk to you about the movie. Let them ask questions about those scenes that stand out, and ensure you help them understand the content better, leaving no room for assumptions and misinterpretations.
Other people’s reviews can come in handy if you haven’t seen the movie. Be sure to see what people say about the film before trying it. Even though this could sometimes be misleading, there is some value in knowing what most people think. Check forums and other movie review platforms.
And finally, if you decide that R-rated movies are not for your kids, ensure they know where you stand. Also, inform anyone around them that could take them to see movies with this rating.
Why Children Should Avoid Seeing an R-Rated Film Without a Parent or Guardian
If you are under 17 or 18 in most states, you must have an adult (typically a parent or guardian) with you to see an R-rated film at a theater.
In most states, minors under the age of 17 are not permitted to see R-rated films at the theater without being accompanied by an adult. This rule is usually strictly enforced, so theatre employees may take someone’s picture and ask for identification if they suspect that person is not old enough to watch the film.
To avoid getting kicked out of the theater, causing a scene, or exposing yourself to harmful content, it is best to steer clear of R-rated movies unless permitted to see them.
Why Parents Shouldn’t Allow Their Kids to Watch R-rated Films Before 18
Parents are faced with the difficult decision to allow their children to watch R-rated movies before 17.
Some may argue that watching some of these movies can teach children about violence in a way they can understand. On the other hand, others might say that in doing so, they are subjecting their children to violence in ways they never had to be when they were younger.
The Motion Picture Association of America found that children as young as eight and nine years old, who watch PG-13 and R-rated films, react to violence like adults.
Parents should not allow their children to watch R-rated films before age 17 because it will influence their views on what they think is appropriate behavior and lead them into a world of dangerous situations.
Making a moral judgment on whether parents should allow their children to watch R-rated films before 17 is a subject open to debate.
Other Movie Ratings and Their Meanings
There are five ratings: G, PG, PG-13, NC-17, and R.
G is the least restrictive rating, and NC-17 is the most restrictive rating.
G – This rating indicates that the movie is for general audiences and all ages are welcome.
PG – Parents should research the film more. Some content, such as swearing, violence, or fleeting nudity, may be present, but it isn’t so severe that more than guidance is recommended.
PG-13 – This grade serves as a stronger warning to parents that the content may not be suitable for children under 13. The movie may contain stronger language, prolonged violence or sexual encounters, and drug use.
NC-17 – These movies are inappropriate for children. The classification does not imply that the content is indecent or sexual, but rather that it is only suitable for adults.
Is it possible for a 16-year-old to see an R-rated film?
To buy an R-rated movie ticket for yourself, you must be at least 17 and have a valid ID showing your birth date. If you are under 17 or do not have a photo ID, your parent must accompany you to the theater to purchase an R-rated movie ticket.
As a parent, should I allow my child to see an R-rated movie without being present?
No, it would be best if you did not do that. First, you’re going against the rules, and second, you’d be exposing your child to content that may not be suitable for them at that tender age. Follow the best practices discussed in this article.