Remember your first rated “R” movie? Think back to the thrill you felt when you were finally able to watch any movie without your parents or a chaperone--awesome, right? In the US, you must be 17 to go to an “R” rated movie alone. Typically, movies with an “R” rating contain sexual situations, graphic violence, and harsh language. But did you know certain countries censor violent scenes more than scenes of a risque nature? In the US, the MPAA rates our movies.
The Motion Picture Association, working with the Classification and Rating Administration, decides on a rating for a movie before it comes out in theaters. Our ratings system is well known: G (General Audiences), PG (Parental Guidance Suggested), PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned), R (Restricted) and NC-17 (No one under 17 admitted). Video games are also given similar labels. In other countries, the ratings systems are quite different, and some countries let the government decide how to classify films. Here is a look at the way a few other countries rate their movies.
Venezuela - In Venezuela, movies are rated from A-F. F is considered “unrated” and thus fine for families with children of all ages. A-E are classified by age groups ( 2, 7, 12, 15, and 18, respectively). Basically, if you try to go to a “D” rated movie, you must be 15 years or older, while an “E” movie requires you be 18 or older.
Turks and Caicos Islands- This British colony first instituted a ratings system in 1934--and that system hasn’t been changed since! The ratings are classified by age, but they include categories such as “16 with Privilege” meaning a 16 year old can see the movie if they’re accompanied by an adult 18 or older. “U” (Universal) is the equivalent of our “G” rating. Instead of PG, however, the Turks and Caicos Islands use “U W/C” (Universal With Caution).
United Kingdom - The rating system of our friends across the pond features a mix of numbers and letters. Decided by the British Board of Film Classification, movies in the UK can be rated U (Universal) or PG (Parental Guidance, like in the States) or a combination of age numbers and labels. For example, 12A means the movie is recommended for children over the age of 12. Anyone under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult (thus the “A” added to the number).
South Africa - The Film and Publication Board decides the ratings for everything from movies to video games in South Africa. Their ratings system is classified using a combination of numbers and letters like in the UK. “A” is for all ages, while “XX” films are not allowed to be shown in public. In between categories include PG, which is the same as ours. 10-12 PG means no one under 10 is admitted, and children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. X18 means no one under 18 may view the film and the movie is only allowed to be shown in adult establishments.
Russia - Russia’s movie rating system was also implemented for usage in television shows in 2012. Out of the numerous countries researched for this post, Russia’s system was the least complicated. The categories are based on general age ranges without the specific suggestion of parental guidance. 0+ is considered all ages, and there is also a “refused classification” which means the movie has been banned in the country. The rest of the categories are 6+, 12+, 16+, and 18+. think of it as “6 and over” and you’ll get the idea.