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Films and the rating system - Essay Example

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Films and the rating system

But have you ever wondered what differentiates or rather categorize these movies apart from the storyline, filmmakers, studios and cast? Have you ever thought as a common man, whether a particular movie is suitable for their kids? Or how do you decide, whether the content of a particular movie is viewable for all? Here comes the importance of ratings. Now, when I say ratings, it does not have anything to do with the critics’ ratings or the reviews. By issuing a rating, the body which issues these ratings seeks to inform parents of the level of certain aspects and contents found in a particular movie. It may include certain level of violence, sex, drugs, language, thematic material, adult activities, etc. that are not suitable for all kinds of viewers. Despite all the strict norms for rating a movie based on these conditions, most big budget films get away with the adult contents and get rated as either PG or PG 13 even when they exhibit contents that can actually rate them as R. It is also a sad fact that the low profile and low budget movies get hard rated even when they don’t deserve such ratings. This paper makes an analysis of why big budget movies get away with the adult content compared to the strict rating exercised on low profile movies. In addition to this, a brief explanation of the rating system and its evolution is also covered through. Rating System and Transition Evolution and Transition: It was in 1922 that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) started issuing ratings for motion pictures. MPAA is a voluntary system. As such not all movies are rated by them. Movies that are submitted to MPAA for ratings get through the process. Since it is a voluntary system it is not enforced by law, however, almost all the movie theatres will not screen an unrated domestic films and most of the big gun studios have come to a consensus that it would submit all its titles for ratings before the theatrical release. A lack of a uniform body to rate movies affected the filmmakers prior to establishment of MPAA; this led to the formation of MPAA in 1922. MPAA rated the movies based on a general production code administration which was popularly known as, ‘The Hays Code.’ It was a strict and stringent rating system, due to which it lost its prominence in 1966. It was the time when America was open to ‘Frankness and Openness.’ In 1968, came the new rating system which we follow till today. The new system was developed not to approve or reject a motion picture. Instead of this, an independent ratings body would advise or warn the parents to let them know if they are suitable for their children. “It’s the parents’ discretion whether to allow them to watch the movie or not.” (Soriano, 2011) Even this system was 100% voluntary. The ratings are done by an independent board comprising of parents who have no past affiliation to the movie business whatsoever. The board will comprise of 8 to 13 parents whose kids fall into the age group of 5-17. “Their job was to simply rate the motion pictures as they believe a majority of American parents would rate it.” (MPAA, 2011) Ratings: A movie is rated by MPAA based on factors such as language, sex, violence, drug usage and certain other themes and situations which they believe would be of significant concern to most parents. The different types of ratings are G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17. ‘G’ stands for ‘ ...Show more
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Summary

Introduction In a year, around 600-700 movies are made in Hollywood. These movies are made by different directors, writers, technicians and studios. We have indeed been blessed with a pool of wide variety of filmmakers and studios. Due to this, almost 90% of these movies will have a different nature when compared to the each other…
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