Guide to Movie & TV Ratings

Be sure to make an informed DVD purchase. The following information is provided to help you better understand the content ratings assigned to movie and television programs.

Understanding Movie Ratings

The basic mission of the movie rating system developed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is a simple one: to offer to parents some advance information about movies so that they can decide what movies they want their children to see or not to see. The MPAA Rating Board does not rate movies on their quality or lack of quality.

Theme, language, violence, nudity, sex and drug use are among those content areas considered in the decision-making process. Also assessed is how each of these elements is employed in the context of each individual film. The rating board places no special emphasis on any of these elements; all are considered and examined before a rating is given.


G: General Audiences — All Ages Admitted

Signifies that the film rated contains nothing most parents will consider offensive for even their youngest children to see or hear. Nudity, sex scenes, and scenes of drug use are absent; violence is minimal; snippets of dialogue may go beyond polite conversation but do not go beyond common everyday expressions.


PG: Parental Guidance Suggested — Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children

Signifies that the film rated may contain some material parents might not like to expose to their young children - material that will clearly need to be examined or inquired about before children are allowed to view the film. Explicit sex scenes and scenes of drug use are absent; nudity, if present, is seen only briefly, horror and violence do not exceed moderate levels.


PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned — Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13

Signifies that the film rated may be inappropriate for pre-teens. Parents should be especially careful about letting their younger children view. Rough or persistent violence is absent; sexually-oriented nudity is generally absent; some scenes of drug use may be seen; some use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words may be heard.


R: Restricted — Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent Or Adult Guardian

Signifies that the rating board has concluded that the film rated may contain some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their children to see it. This rating may be assigned due to, among other things, a film's use of language, theme, violence, sex or its portrayal of drug use.


NC-17 — No One 17 and Under Admitted (Not available at Walmart or

This rating declares that the rating board believes this is a film that most parents will consider patently too adult for their youngsters under 17.

Not Rated

Not Rated — Contains Unknown Content

Signifies that the rating board has not reviewed the content of the film, and it may contain mature material.

Rating Unknown

Rating Unknown

Signifies that the content of this film is not correlated to an exact rating. While the rating board may have provided any of the above ratings to the film, is unable to confirm this.


CC: Closed Captioning

Allows deaf and hard of hearing / hearing-impaired people, people learning English as an additional language, people first learning how to read, and others to read a transcript or dialogue of the audio portion of a video, film, or other presentation. As the video plays, text captions are displayed that transcribe, although not always verbatim, what is said and by whom and indicate other relevant sounds.

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Understanding TV Ratings

Many parents are concerned about their young children watching television programs with content that's more suitable for older children or adults. Guidelines similar to those used for film have now been employed for rating television shows, giving parents more information about the content and age-appropriateness of TV programs.

Often, they are used in conjunction with the V-Chip or cable box lock out features to permit a parent to restrict which shows their children can watch on their own.

Each rating may be accompanied by one or more of the following subratings:


TVY: All Children

This program is designed to be appropriate for all children. Whether animated or live-action, the themes and elements in this program are specifically designed for a very young audience, including children from ages 2–6. This program is not expected to frighten younger children.


TVY7: Directed to Older Childen

This program is designed for children age 7 and above. It may be more appropriate for children who have acquired the developmental skills needed to distinguish between make-believe and reality. Themes and elements in this program may include mild fantasy violence or comedic violence, or may frighten children under the age of 7. Therefore, parents may wish to consider the suitability of this program for their very young children.


TV-Y7-FV: Directed to Older Children — Fantasy Violence

For those programs where fantasy violence may be more intense or more combative than other programs in this category, such programs will be designated TV-Y7-FV.


TVG: General Audience

Most parents would find this program suitable for all ages. Although this rating does not signify a program designed specifically for children, most parents may let younger children watch this program unattended. It contains little or no violence, no strong language and little or no sexual dialogue or situations.


TVPG: Parental Guidance Suggested

This program contains material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children. Many parents may want to watch it with their younger children. The theme itself may call for parental guidance and/or the program contains one or more of the following: moderate violence (V), some sexual situations (S), infrequent coarse language (L), or some suggestive dialogue (D).


TV14: Parents Strongly Cautioned

This program contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age. Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended. This program contains one or more of the following: intense violence (V), intense sexual situations (S), strong coarse language (L), or intensely suggestive dialogue (D).


TVMA: Mature Audience Only

This program is specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17. This program contains one or more of the following: graphic violence (V), explicit sexual activity (S), or crude indecent language (L).

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This information has been transcribed from a brochure distributed in theaters by the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. and the National Association of Theatre Owners in association with local theater, without permission. It is provided here for your information. As with any information, you are recommended to verify its source before accepting it as absolute fact. If you have any questions regarding the ratings system, we recommend that you follow the advice given in this text.