The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) movie rating system (G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17) is controversial policy of high relevance in the movie industry. The adoption of this policy has been prompted by the need of controlling and monitoring the media content. This follows the consideration that media content may have detrimental consequences when aired to the wrong clientele especially the young minds. This rating system imposes censorship on the movies hence the people decide to use other methods to get movie data. Besides enhancing the management of the media content, the movie rating system has been beneficial in various ways. For example, Goodale notes that through this system, a viewer can “watch the movie with the best rating or find out the reasons behind the rating of a movie before they decide to watch the movie” (Goodale 27). Analyzing the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) movie rating system (G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17) is essential in describing the censorship it attracts, implications of different ratings, and the impact of imposing this rating on the films. This paper presents an argumentative essay that explore the reasons attached to the need of adopting about rating system and why one would not prefer it.
The MPAA rating system is good because of a number of reasons. The first reason is the censorship that the rating system imposes on the moviemakers. The MPAA rating system helps impose a sense of censorship on the movies in the sense that it helps the moviemakers specify the type of movies they release. According to this policy, pornographic movies should be X-rated to identify them accordingly. The censorship thus helps the society avoid exposing children to pornographic content at a young age. In the same way, the rating system helps the moviemakers to determine what is appropriate for people from different lifestyles to see. Age and status in the society mainly determines the people to watch different types of movies. “Minors especially should be protected from adult content hence the moviemakers must indicate “adults only” on movies not meant for the children” (Tickle, Jennifer, Michael & Madeline 763).
The rating system is also a good system because of its categorization features. The rating system requests any moviemaker not to provide anything beyond “R” rating, meaning that one must determine the quality of the movie and the audience it fits best. This does not mean that the movie is good or bad. The rating system does not function to show the good and bad movies bad rather the level of the movies. However, this limits the audience but chases around and tries to edit the movie to fit in the audience. The rating system imposes censorship on the moviemakers because they must edit their movies to conform to the state of society. For example, in 1992, “Basic Instincts” by Paul Verhoeven was X-rated until he agreed to change some screenplays to “fit in the audience that he wanted to attract” (Potts & Angela Belden 270).
More to the advantage of the viewers, the rating system imposes some form of censorship to the moviemakers because it makes them pay for any scenes that portray direct murder that may inspire people to commit crimes. The director of “natural born killers” was forced to change some parts in the movie or the movie would attract heavy charges (Potts & Angela Belden 270).This move protected people from the malice of the killers. The director tried to blackmail people through the hospitality part. Nonetheless, the movie attracted censorship because of the views and reactions it would receive from the people.
The MPAA rating is also good because it helps the moviemakers to know the area and market to target with their films. The features of the movies determine the ratings that the movie will have hence the target audience. In order to get different ratings, the moviemakers must have a number of things clear in the movies. For example, in order to get the G-rating, the movie must have no images, language, or scenes that a parent will be offended watching with their children. The G-rated movie means it can be watched generally by all the people hence the moviemaker must omit any suspicious scenes. In order to get the PG-rating, which implies that parental guidance is recommended, the moviemaker must ensure that if there is any part of the movie that may offend the parent, the offence is limited to the lowest possible level. Mature themes like violence and soft nudity may appear as part of the themes thus the parent should control the level of internalization by the children.
Furthermore, for a moviemaker to get a PG-13 rating, the movie must have more advanced nudity, obscene language, and uncensored images than the PG-rated movies. This rating by the moviemakers cautions the parents against the movie. In fact, moviemakers who choose to rate their movies with this rating simply imply that the movies are not for viewing by the children. However, all drug use in movies automatically sets them under this rating until other facts about the drug are established.
For moviemakers to get their movies R-rated, which means that the children can only watch when accompanied by a parent, they must prove that the data in the movies can be misunderstood by the children who are under 17 years. The scenes may have nude images, but the accompanying parent can clarify the facts on the movie. Furthermore, Tim, a moviemaker may make a movie to attract many economic expenses by making it NC-17. The NC-17 rated movies are not appropriate for people below 17 years old whether the parents accompany them or not. This means that the rating is extremely strict and affects the status of a movie hugely.
While the rating system has a great support from the people, the system is also feared in some areas. The main areas that people fear are the NC-17 ratings. A moviemaker would rather produce a movie unrated than with the NC-17 rating. The first reason for this is the economic effects of the rating. When a movie or a film has this rating, it attracts a heavy charge from the government and the rating board (Kilburn 255). The content is taken to be viral from the moviemaker’s side thus they are charged in case the film gets to people under 17 years old. “Sales from the movie will also be low in case it has this rating” (Kilburn 255). The parents do not want to contaminate the children. With the assertive nature of the children, the parents choose to avoid the films hence the revenue from the movies reduces gradually. The rating system is thus generally good because it makes the moviemakers and the viewer develops categorized and ethical viewing. While it helps the moviemakers to align, their ideas well and ensure their compliance to the requisites.
As much as many people favor the MPAA rating system, some people do not like it for various reasons. The main factor that discourages people from adopting the rating system is the challenge that comes with releasing a movie or film with an NC-17 rating. Releasing a movie with the NC-17 rating also has a series of other social disadvantages that it carries across to the people. The film will make the people develop an attitude towards the movies directed or created by the same moviemaker. This reduces the sale of movies hence the revenue from the movies also decreases. However, the worst part of it is that the image of the moviemaker is tarnished from the rating. Most of these ratings make people believe that the moviemaker is unreliable, or produces material unfriendly to the family. In the end, the moviemaker will not be famous in the house hence he loses the market in the house.
The rating system is also not widely accepted among the people as many consider it one of the many options they have on getting information about movie and film contents. Apart from the ratings, people can gather information about the contents of the movie from several other sources. Firstly, “the people can look at reviews of the movie, whether written or video” (Simonton, Dean, Jeremy & Kaufman 92). This will help the person to get a view of the content they should expect inside the movies. The previews actually help the moviegoers to judge the movie on their own based on their state of mind. One may also gather information about the contents of a film through recommendations. Friends and other people who have interacted with the film or movie in question may also provide a source of information on the movie. When friends have information on the movie, they will make one know what exactly to expect from the movie when they watch it.
In my view, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) movie rating system is a good system. The rating system ensures that parents and guardians are aware of the contents of the movie before allowing their children to watch the movie. The rating system also guides the content of movies with the NC-17 rated movies having economic sanctions and restrictions. The rating also guides parents and guardians on the actions they should take when watching certain movies with their children like guiding them through the contents of the movies to ensure that they interpret the actions well.
Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) movie rating system (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17) is a vital provision that helps people rate the content in movies to help the customers identify the nature and audiences of film. The ratings often censor the moviemakers, as they should provide account of their quality and classify the content of their films accordingly. Each rating is associated with defined provisions, and the moviemakers have an obligation of conforming to these guidelines. The G-rated are suitable for all clientele, PG-rated movies can be watched under parental guidance, while PG-13 warns the parents to remain alert since they film may have same outrageous scenes. The NC-17 and X-rated movies are viral and cannot be watched by the children. In some instances, people prefer to have unrated movies than rated films because of the economic and social consequences.
Goodale, Gloria. "MPAA Movie Ratings: New Initiative to Assist Parents Gets Mixed Reviews." The Christian Science Monitor: 27. Apr 17 2013.
Kilburn, Corey E. "An Offer You Can't Refuse: A Sherman Act Antitrust Examination Of The Motion Picture Association Of America And The Use Of The Ratings System As An Unreasonable Restraint On Trade." UMKC Law Review 82.(2013): 255. LexisNexis Academic: Law Reviews.
Potts, Richard, and Angela Belden. "Parental Guidance: A Content Analysis Of MPAA Motion Picture Rating Justifications 1993–2005." Current Psychology 28.4 (2009): 266-283. Business Source Complete.
Simonton, Dean Keith, Jeremy J. Graham, and James C. Kaufman. "Consensus and Contrasts In Consumers' Cinematic Assessments: Gender, Age, And Nationality In Rating The Top-250 Films." Psychology of Popular Media Culture 1.2 (2012): 87-96. PsycARTICLES.
Tickle, Jennifer J., Michael L. Beach, and Madeline A. Dalton. "Tobacco, Alcohol, And Other Risk Behaviors In Film: How Well Do MPAA Ratings Distinguish Content?." Journal of Health Communication 14.8 (2009): 756-767. Communication & Mass Media Complete.