What Movie Rating Would You Give Your Life? - If you had to assign a movie rating to your life, what would it be? Is your life R rated? G rated? Do priests live G rated lives?...I guess some have NC-17 sins.

As recipes for life, the movie rating system takes on a whole new meaning...

G - General Audiences

All ages admitted - This is a life which contains nothing in theme, language, nudity and sex, violence, etc. that would, in the view of the Rating Board, be offensive to parents whose younger children view the life. The G rating is not a certificate of approval nor does it signify a child's life.

Some snippets of language may go beyond polite conversation but they are common everyday expressions. No stronger words are present in G-rated lives. The violence is at a minimum. Nudity and sex scenes are not present, nor is there any drug use content.

PG - Parental Guidance Suggested

Some material may not be suited for children - This is a life which clearly needs to be examined by parents before they let their children attend. The label PG plainly states parents may consider some material unsuitable for their children, but leaves the parent to make the decision. Parents are warned against sending their children, unseen and without inquiry, to PG-rated lives. The theme of a PG-rated life may itself call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity in these lives. There may be some violence or brief nudity. However, these elements are not considered so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated life. The PG rating, suggesting parental guidance, is thus an alert for examination of a life by parents before deciding on its viewing by their children. Obviously such a line is difficult to draw. In our pluralistic society it is not easy to make judgments without incurring some disagreement. As long as parents know they must exercise parental responsibility, the rating serves as a meaningful guide and as a warning.

PG-13 - Parents strongly cautioned

Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13 - PG-13 is thus a sterner warning to parents, particularly when deciding which lives are not suitable for younger children. Parents, by the rating, are alerted to be very careful about the attendance of their under-teenage children. A PG-13 life is one which, in the view of the Rating Board, leaps beyond the boundaries of the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, or other contents, but does not quite fit within the restricted R category. Any drug use content will initially require at least a PG-13 rating. In effect, the PG-13 cautions parents with more stringency than usual to give special attention to this life before they allow their 12-year-olds and younger to attend. If nudity is sexually oriented, the life will generally not be found in the PG-13 category. If violence is too rough or persistent, the life goes into the R (restricted) rating. A life's single use of one of the harsher sexually derived words, though only as an expletive, shall initially require the Rating Board to issue that life at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive must lead the Rating Board to issue a life an R rating, as must even one of these words used in a sexual context. These lives can be rated less severely, however, if by a special vote, the Rating Board feels that a lesser rating would more responsibly reflect the opinion of American parents.

PG-13 places larger responsibilities on parents for their children and moviegoing. The voluntary rating system is not a surrogate parent, nor should it be. It cannot, and should not, insert itself in family decisions that only parents can make. Its purpose is to give pre-screened informational warnings, so that parents can form their own judgments. PG-13 is designed to make parental decisions easier for lives between PG and R.

R - Restricted

Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian - In the opinion of the Rating Board, this life definitely contains some adult material. Parents are strongly urged to find out more about this life before they allow their children to accompany them. An R-rated life may include strong language, violence, nudity, drug abuse, other elements, or a combination of the above, so parents are counseled in advance to take this advisory rating very seriously.


No one 17 and under admitted - This rating declares that the Rating Board believes this is a life that most parents will consider patently too adult for their youngsters under 17. No children will be admitted. NC-17 does not necessarily mean obscene or pornographic; in the oft-accepted or legal meaning of those words. The Board does not and cannot mark lives with those words. These are legal terms for courts to decide. The reasons for the application of an NC-17 rating can be excessive violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other elements which, when present, most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children.

Motion Picture Association of America
1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die: 5th Anniversary Edition
by Stephen Jay Schneider

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