Motion picture rating system
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A motion picture rating system is designated to classify films with regard to suitability for audiences in terms of issues such as sex, violence, substance abuse, profanity, impudence or other types of mature content. A particular issued rating can be called a certification, classification, certificate or rating.
This is designed to help parents decide whether a movie is suitable for their children. Yet, the effectiveness of these designations is widely disputed. Also, in some jurisdictions a rating may impose on movie theaters the legal obligation of refusing the entrance of children or minors to the movie. Furthermore, where movie theaters do not have this legal obligation, they may enforce restrictions on their own. Ratings are often given in lieu of censorship. Movie theaters often have time restrictions on what time kids can come in with their parent.
In countries such as Australia, an official government censorship system decides on ratings; in other countries, such as the United States, it is done by industry committees with little, if any official government status. In most countries, however, films that are considered morally offensive have been censored, restricted, or banned. Even if the film rating system has no legal consequences, and a film has not explicitly been restricted or banned, there are usually laws forbidding certain films, or forbidding minors to view them.
The influence of specific factors in deciding a rating varies from country to country. For example, in countries such as the U.S., films with strong sexual content are often restricted to older viewers, whereas in countries such as France and Germany, sexual content is viewed much more leniently. On the other hand, films with violent content are often subject in countries such as Germany and Finland to high ratings and even censorship, whereas countries such as Australia offer more lenient ratings to violent movies.
Other factors may or may not influence the classification process, such as being set within a non-fictional historical context, whether the film glorifies violence or drug use, whether said violence or drug use is carried out by the protagonist, with whom the viewer should empathize, or by the antagonist. In Germany, for example, films depicting explicit war violence in a real war context (such as the Second World War) are handled more leniently than films with purely fictional settings.
A film may be produced with a particular rating in mind. It may be re-edited if the desired rating is not obtained, especially to avoid a higher rating than intended. A film may also be re-edited to produce an alternate version for other countries.
- 1 Comparison
- 2 Argentina
- 3 Australia
- 4 Austria
- 5 Belgium
- 6 Brazil
- 7 Bulgaria
- 8 Canada
- 9 Chile
- 10 People's Republic of China
- 11 Colombia
- 12 Denmark
- 13 Estonia
- 14 Finland
- 15 France
- 16 Germany
- 17 Greece
- 18 Hong Kong
- 19 Hungary
- 20 Iceland
- 21 India
- 22 Indonesia
- 23 Ireland
- 24 Italy
- 25 Japan
- 26 Kazakhstan
- 27 Latvia
- 28 Malaysia
- 29 Maldives
- 30 Malta
- 31 Mexico
- 32 Netherlands
- 33 New Zealand
- 34 Nigeria
- 35 Norway
- 36 Philippines
- 37 Poland
- 38 Portugal
- 39 Romania
- 40 Russia
- 41 Singapore
- 42 South Africa
- 43 South Korea
- 44 Spain
- 45 Sweden
- 46 Switzerland
- 47 Taiwan
- 48 Thailand
- 49 Turkey
- 50 Turks and Caicos Islands
- 51 United Arab Emirates
- 52 United Kingdom
- 53 United States
- 54 Venezuela
- 55 Sources
- 56 See also
- 57 External links
A comparison of currently active film rating systems, showing age on the horizontal axis. Note however that the specific criteria used in assigning a classification can vary widely from one country to another. Thus a color code or age range cannot be directly compared from one country to another.
- – Aimed at young audiences.
- – All ages may watch.
- – Parental guidance is suggested.
- – Not recommended for a younger audience but not restricted.
- – Restricted to an older audience unless accompanied by an adult.
- – Restricted exclusively to an older audience.
- – Exclusively adult content / Further restrictions usually apply to exhibition.
- – No rating / Exempt from classification / Banned from viewing.
|Austria||Unrestricted||6||8||10||12||14||16||N/A||In the Viennese province children under the age of 6 are only admitted to public screenings if they are accompanied.|
|G||14A||R||Children are admitted to 18A films if accompanied by an adult; however, in the Maritime and Manitoba provinces there is still a mandatory age restriction of 14.|
|China||Suitable for all ages||Banned|
|Denmark||A||7||Children aged seven and above can watch 11-rated and 15-rated films provided they are accompanied by an adult.|
|Finland||S||7||7||12||12||16||16||18||N/A||Minors up to 3 years younger than the given rating can watch 7, 12 and 16 rated films when accompanied by an adult.|
|France||U||12||16||18||Prohibited||Films may also be classified as "pornographic films or those containing an incitement to violence".|
|Germany||FSK 0||FSK 6||FSK 16||FSK 18||Educational||Children over 6 can watch "FSK 12" rated movies under parental surveillance.|
|FSK 12||FSK 12||Unrated|
|Malta||N/A||U||PG||12A||15||18||Not fit for exhibition|
|Nigeria||G||12||15||18||The 15 and 18 classifications are not legally applicable to people below 2 years of age.|
|Norway||A||7||7||11||11||15||15||18||Children up to three years younger than the given rating (with the exception of 18-rated films) are permitted to watch the film provided they are accompanied by an adult.|
|Portugal||A||M/3||M/6||M/12||M/14||M/16||M/18 ()||N/A||Apart from pornography (P) the ratings are not mandatory for video.|
|Singapore MDA||G||PG-13||NC16||M18||R21||N/A||Movies rated "R21" are excluded from television ads and video releases.|
|South Africa FaPB||A||7–9PG||7–9PG||18||XX
|Sweden Statens medieråd||Btl||7||Not approved
||N/A||Younger children can watch 7-rated films, and if at least 7 years old 11-rated, if accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old.|
|Taiwan GIO||普 (G)||護 (P)||護 (P)||限 (R)||N/A||Children up to six years younger than 12 (Protect) or 18 (Counsel) may watch however only if under parental guidance.|
|N/A||輔 (PG)||輔 (PG)|
|United Kingdom BBFC||Uc||U||PG||12A||15||18||Rejected||12A legally requires parental supervision for those under 12. 15 does not allow people below that age to be admitted, supervised or otherwise. R18 is usually reserved for pornographic content only, but, on rare cases, the cert has been given out to programs with extreme graphic violence/gore.|
|United States MPAA||G||PG-13||R||NC-17||NR
|R rated movies are restricted to persons age 17 & older; persons under age 17 must be accompanied by a person age 18 & older. NC-17 rated movies are restricted to persons 18 & older.|
Through its Advisory Commission of Cinematographic Exhibition (Comisión Asesora de Exhibición Cinematográfica) the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA) issues ratings for films based on the following categories:
- ATP: Suitable for all ages, ATP stands for "Apta (para) Todo Público", meaning "for all public"
- 13: Suitable for 13-year-olds and over. Children under the age of 13 age admitted if accompanied by an adult.
- 16: Suitable for 16-year-olds and over.
- 18: Suitable for 18-year-olds and over.
- 18, conditional display: Restricted to specially licensed venues.
- G – General. The content is very mild in impact.
- PG – Parental guidance recommended. The content is mild in impact. It is not recommended for viewing or playing by persons under 15 without guidance from parents or guardians.
- M – Recommended for mature audiences. Not recommended for children under 15 years old but not legally restricted. The content is moderate in impact.
- MA15+ – Mature Accompanied. Unsuitable for children younger than 15. Children younger than 15 years must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The content is strong in impact.
- R18+ – Restricted to 18 years and over. Adults only. The content is high in impact.
- X18+ – Restricted to 18 years and over. Films with this rating have pornographic content. Films classified as X18+ are banned from being sold or rented in all Australian states and are only legally available in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
- RC – Refused Classification. Banned from sale or hire in Australia and cannot be legally imported. Films are rated RC if their content is very high in impact and exceeds the guidelines.
Motion pictures are rated by the Austrian Board of Media Classification (ABMC) for the Federal Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur). The recommendations made by the ABMC are generally not legally binding and there are nine sets of provincial laws on the cinema sector with different age provisions. The only exception is in the case of "16" rated films, since under Austrian law there is a legal age restriction on certain types of content i.e. discrimination, sexual abuse, glorification of violence etc. In addition to the ABMC's age recommendations, in the province of Vienna children under the age of 6 are only permitted to attend public film performances if they are accompanied.
The AMBC issues age recommendation from the following categories:
- Unrestricted – Released for all age groups
- 6+ – Released for children from age 6
- 10+ – Released for children from age 10
- 12+ – Released for children from age 12
- 14+ – Released from age 14
- 16+ – Released from age 16. Restricted classification.
There are only two classifications for films publicly exhibited in Belgium issued by the Inter-Community Commission for Film Rating (Dutch: Intergemeenschapscommissie voor de Filmkeuring; French: Commission Intercomunautaire de Contrôle des Films). Films are prohibited to minors under the age of 16 unless passed by the commission. There is no mandatory rating system for video formats but 90 per cent of video distribution abides by the voluntary Belgium Video Federation. It is basically the same as the system for theatrical exhibition, but also provides a "12" rating.
- CAT.1 – Suitable for all
- CAT.2 – Unsuitable for people younger than 16
Films are rated in Brazil by the Dejus (Departamento de Justiça, Classificação, Títulos e Qualificação – Department of Justice, Rating, Titles and Qualification), which is run by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice (Ministério da Justiça). Anyone below the film's minimum age can watch it if accompanied by the parent or guardian, except for those rated "Not recommended for ages under 18", which, by law, are strictly prohibited from viewing by people under 18. Unlike many countries, the Dejus doesn't have any legal right to ban, demand cuts or refuse to rate any movie.
The Dejus uses the following system:
- L: Livre para Todos os Públicos ("Free For All Public"): This classification applies to works which contain predominantly positive contents and which do not bring unsuitable elements subject to ratings to ages higher than 10, such as the ones listed below:
- Violence: Fantasy violence; display of arms with no violence; deaths with no violence; bones and skeletons with no violence.
- Sex and Nudity: Non-erotic nudity.
- Drugs: Moderate or insinuated use of legal drugs.
- 10: Não Recomendado para Menores de 10 Anos ("Not recommended for ages under 10"): The following contents are accepted for this age range:
- Violence: Display of arms with violence; fear/tension; distress; bones and skeletons with signs of violent acts; criminal acts without violence; derogatory language.
- Sex and Nudity: Educational contents about sex.
- Drugs: Oral description of the use of legal drugs; discussion on the issue "drug trafficking"; medicinal use of illegal drugs.
- 12: Não Recomendado para Menores de 12 Anos ("Not recommended for ages under 12"): The following contents are accepted for this age range:
- Violence: Violent act; body injury; description of violence; presence of blood; victim's grief; natural or accidental death with violence; violent act against animals; exposure to danger; showing people in embarrassing or degrading situations; verbal aggression; obscenity; bullying; corpses; sexual harassment; overvaluation of the physical beauty; overvaluation of consumption.
- Sex and Nudity: Veiled nudity; sexual innuendo; sexual fondling; masturbation; foul language; sex content language; sex simulation; sexual appeal.
- Drugs: Use of legal drugs; inducing the use of legal drugs; irregular use of medication; mention to illegal drugs.
- 14: Não Recomendado para Menores de 14 Anos ("Not recommended for ages under 14"): The following contents are accepted for this age range:
- Violence: Intentional death; stigma/prejudice.
- Sex and Nudity: Nudity; erotization; vulgarity; sexual intercourse; prostitution.
- Drugs: Insinuation of the use of illegal drugs; verbal descriptions of the use of illegal drugs; discussion on the "decriminalization of illegal drugs".
- 16: Não Recomendado para Menores de 16 Anos ("Not recommended for ages under 16"): The following contents are accepted for this age range:
- Violence: Rape; sexual coercion; torture; mutilation; suicide; gratuitous violence/banalization of violence; abortion, death penalty, euthanasia.
- Sex and Nudity: Intense sexual intercourse.
- Drugs: Production or trafficking of any illegal drug; use of illegal drugs; inducing the use of illegal drugs.
- 18: Não Recomendado para Menores de 18 Anos ("Not recommended for ages under 18"): The following contents are accepted for this age range:
- Violence: Violence of high impact; exaltation, glamorization and/or incitement to violence; cruelty; hate crimes.
- Sex and Nudity: Explicit sex; complex/strong impact sexual intercourses (incest, group sex, violent fetish and pornography overall).
- Drugs: Inciting the use of illegal drugs.
There are also operational descriptions of attenuating and aggravating elements that can interfere on the final rating.
The Bulgarian film rating system is defined in the Film Industry Act of 2003 and administered by the National Film Rating Committee.
|Rating||Accompanying inscription||When is it given|
|A||Recommended to children||"The film confirms the ideals of humanism or popularizes the national and world cultures or contributes to upbringing children."|
|B||No restrictive recommendations from the Committee.||"The film is in no way contrary to the universal rules of morality in this country."|
|C||No persons under the age of 12 are admitted unless accompanied by an adult.||"The film contains certain erotic scenes or scenes with drinking, taking drugs or stimulants or a few scenes of violence."|
|D||No persons under the age of 16 are admitted.||"The film contains quite a number of erotic scenes or scenes with drinking, taking drugs or stimulants or a considerable number of scenes showing violence."|
|X||No persons under the age of 18 are admitted.||"The film is naturalistically erotic or shows violence in an ostentatious manner."|
Exhibitions of X films are permitted on the condition that the venue is licensed for exhibiting X rated films only. The act also prohibits the renting and selling of D and X rated media to people below the ages of 16 and 18 respectively.
Film ratings in Canada are a provincial responsibility, and each province has its own legislation, rules and regulations regarding rating, exhibition and admission. Ratings are required for theatrical exhibition, but not all provinces require classification for home video. In the past there was a wide range of rating categories and practices in the various provinces; however, the seven rating systems—with the exception of Quebec—now all use categories and logos derived from the Canadian Home Video Rating System (CHVRS).
Classifications used outside Québec
The categories are mostly identical to the CHVRS with a few minor variations. In the provinces that require classification of video formats, supply of 14A and 18A films is restricted to customers above those ages. In the case of theater exhibition, children are admitted to 14A and 18A films in the Manitoba and Maritime provinces if accompanied by an adult, although admittance is restricted to children over the age of 14 in the case of 18A films. Likewise, British Columbia, Saskatchewan (administered by the British Columbia Film Classification Office), Alberta and Ontario also admit children to 14A and 18A films if accompanied, but do not impose an age restriction on 18A films. The Maritimes and British Columbia (along with Saskatchewan) also provide an "A" classification for adult content. Some provinces, such as Nova Scotia, reserve the right to prohibit films altogether.
In general, the categories are:
- G – Suitable for viewing by all ages.
- PG – Parental guidance advised.
- 14A – Suitable for people 14 years of age or older. Those under 14 should view with an adult. No rental or purchase by those under 14. Parents cautioned. (Formerly "Adult Accompaniment (14)" in the Maritimes)
- 18A – Suitable for people 18 years of age or older. Those under 18 should view with an adult. No rental or purchase by those under 18. Parents strongly cautioned.
- R – Restricted to 18 years and over. No rental or purchase by those under 18. Content not suitable for minors.
- A – Adult. Film is not suitable for viewers under 18 years of age. (Formerly "Explicit Material (XXX)" in the Maritimes)
- E – Exempt.
Classifications used in Québec
In Quebec, the Régie du cinéma rates all films and videos. The Régie is a governmental agency overseen by the Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications; its purview devolves from the Cinema Act (chapter C-18.1). In some cases the Régie du cinéma may refuse to provide a classification, effectively banning the film. Educational and sports films are exempt from classification.
- G: Visa général (General Rating) – May be viewed, rented or purchased by persons of all ages.
- 13+: 13 ans et plus (13 years and over) – May be viewed, rented or purchased by children 13 years of age or over. Children under 13 may be admitted only if accompanied by an adult.
- 16+: 16 ans et plus (16 years and over) – May be viewed, rented or purchased by children 16 years of age or over.
- 18+: 18 ans et plus (18 years and over) – May be viewed, rented or purchased by adults 18 years of age or over.
Films are classified by the Council of Cinematographic Classification (Consejo de Calificación Cinematográfica) which is a central agency under the Ministry of Education.
The age ratings are:
- Todo Espectador – General Audience
- Inconveniente para menores de 7 años – Not suitable for children younger than 7 years
- Mayores de 14 años – Suitable for people aged 14 and older.
- Mayores de 18 años – Suitable for people aged 18 and older.
The age ratings may also be supplemented by the following content categories:
- Contenido educativo – Educational content
- Contenido pornográfico – Pornographic content
- Contenido excesivamente violento – Excessively violent content
Pornographic films may only be exhibited at venues licensed for that purpose. Minors are admitted to films with pornographic and excessively violent content if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
People's Republic of China
- T: For general audiences.
- 7: Advisory
- 12: Advisory
- 15: Restricted
- 18: Restricted
- X: Pornographic content.
- Prohibited: Contains elements that incite or advocate crime.
In Denmark, the Media Council for Children and Young People currently rates films. Films do not have to be submitted for a rating and in such instances must be labelled a "15" (restricted to people aged 15 and above). Children aged 7 and above may attend any performance—including those restriced to older audiences—if they are accompanied by an adult.
Exempt from classification – only used on home video products (mostly documentaries, Danish stand-up shows and educational material)
Film classification in Estonia is regulated by the Child Welfare Act.
- PERE – Family Film.
- L – Allowed to all.
- MS-6 – Not recommended for under 6.
- MS-12 – Not recommended for under 12.
- K-12 – Prohibited for under 12 unless accompanied by an adult.
- K-14 – Prohibited for under 14 unless accompanied by an adult.
- K-16 – Prohibited for under 16 unless accompanied by an adult.
Films in Finland are classified by the Finnish Centre for Media Education and Audiovisual Media. A minor up to 3 years younger than the age limit is permitted to see a film in a cinema when accompanied by an adult, except for 18-rated films.
- S – For all ages.
- 7 – Over 7 years.
- 12 – Over 12 years.
- 16 – Over 16 year.
- 18 – Adults only.
Prior to showing in theaters, a distribution certificate must be obtained from the Ministry of Culture. The Minister will decide which certificate to issue based on a recommendation by the Board of Film Classification. In some cases films may be classified as "pornographic films or those containing an incitement to violence" or completely prohibited from screening. A certificate will be granted from the following:
- U – certificate authorising the screening of the film to all members of the public
- 12 – certificate prohibiting the screening of the film to minors under twelve
- 16 – certificate prohibiting the screening of the film to minors under sixteen
- 18 – certificate prohibiting the screening of the film to minors under eighteen
The Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft (Voluntary Self-Regulation of the Film Industry, FSK) has a film ratings system under which films are classified. All the ratings contain the phrase "gemäß §14 JuSchG" (in accordance with §14 of the Youth Protection Law), signifying that they are legally binding for minors. Cinemas may legally exhibit films without a classification but minors are prohibited from such screenings.
- Infoprogramm or Lehrprogramm: "educational programming". This rating is not issued by the FSK, but may be self-applied to films seeking to educate their audience (e.g. documentaries, instructional films, etc.). Films with this rating may be sold without any age restriction provided they do not contain any material "evidently harmful to the development of children and youths".
The FSK rating also limits the time of the day in which the movie may be aired on free-to-air TV stations to a time frame between 22:00 (FSK 16) or 23:00 (FSK 18) and 6:00. Stations are permitted to broadcast films not approved for audiences under 12 at their own discretion.
All publicly released films must be submitted to the Youth Committee for classification. There are four categories:
- Unrestricted – No restrictions
- 13 – Suitable for people aged 13 and above.
- 17 – Not permitted to young people under the age of 17.
- 18 – Not permitted to people under the age of 18.
Films intended for public exhibition have to be submitted to the Director of Film, Newspaper and Article Administration, who is the Film Censorship Authority (FCA) under the Ordinance, for approval. Films approved for public exhibition are then either classified or exempted from classification.
- I – suitable for all ages (circle sign)
- IIA – not suitable for children (square sign)
- IIB – not suitable for young persons and children
- III – for persons aged 18 or above only
Of the four levels, Levels I, IIA, and IIB are unrestricted. Only Level III is a restricted category.
Hungarian ratings are decided by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH):
Since July 1, 2006, Smáís has replaced the Kvikmyndaskoðun system in Iceland. In October 2013, SMAIS announced that it was adopting the Netherlands' Kijkwijzer at least through 2016.
- U – Unrestricted Public Exhibition.
- UA – Unrestricted Public Exhibition but with a word of caution that Parental discretion required for children below 12 years.
- A – Restricted to adults.
- S – Restricted to any special class of persons.
Motion pictures shown in Indonesia must undergo reviewing by the Indonesian Film Censorship Board. Other than issuing certificates, the LSF/IFCB also reviews and issues permits for film-related advertising, such as movie trailers and posters. LSF has the authority to cut scenes from films. Films passed for exhibition are awarded one of the following classifications:
- SU (Semua Umur): All ages
- R (Remaja): Teen
- D (Dewasa): Adult
- Limited (Terbatas): Passed uncut for film festival screenings
All films aimed to be shown in Italy are classified by the Committee for the Theatrical Review of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities into one of the following categories:
- T (all): All ages admitted.
- VM14: Not suitable for children under 14.
- VM18: Not suitable for children under 18.
A Japanese film rating regulator known as Eirin (映倫?) [full-name: Eiga Rinri Kanri Iinkai (映画倫理管理委員会?)] has a film classification system under which films are classified into one of four categories. The categories have been in use since 1 May, 1998.
- G: General, suitable for all ages
- PG-12: Parental guidance requested for young people under 12 years.
- R15+: No one under 15 admitted.
- R18+: No one under 18 admitted.
In Kazakhstan, films are rated by the Committee for Culture of the Ministry for Culture and Information.
- К: Film is allowed for any audience.
- БА: Suitable for children over the age of 12.
- Б14: Supervision by parents recommended for children under the age of 14.
- Е16: Supervision by parents recommended for children under the age of 16.
- Е18: For viewers aged over 18.
- НА: For viewers aged over 21. Restricted to licensed venues between 10pm and 6am local time.
In Latvia it is the duty of the producer of a film or distributor to assign a rating according to a pre-determined set of criteria. All publicly exhibited films, visual recordings and films broadcast over television and electronic networks must be classified.
- U (universal audience) – Suitable for persons of all age groups
- 7+: Suitable for a person who has reached at least 7 years of age
- 12+: Suitable for a person who has reached at least 12 years of age
- 16+: Suitable for a person who has reached at least 16 years of age
- 18+: Not suitable for a minor (prohibited to people under 18)
Historically, film censorship in Malaysia was carried out by police under the Theatre Ordinance 1908. In 1954 the Film Censorship Board (LPF) was created to censor films distributed across Malaysia in accordance with the Cinematograph Films Act 1952, and later the Film Censorship Act 2002. Malaysia's motion picture rating system was introduced in 1953, initially classifying films either for General Audiences (Tontonan Umum) or For Adults Only (Untuk Orang Dewasa Sahaja), and in 1996 these classifications were changed to U and 18. In 2010 the PG13 classification was introduced, which was changed to P13 in 2012.
Upon viewing the board will assign one of three categories to the film:
- Lulus Bersih (Passed Clean [i.e. without cuts])
- Lulus Dengan Pengubahan (Passed with Edits/Cuts)
- Tidak Diluluskan Untuk Tayangan (Not Approved for Screening)
Should a film be approved, the Board then assigns the film a classification. As of 2012 the ratings are:
- U (Umum) - No age limit.
- P13 (Penjaga) – Viewers under 13 years of age need parental/guardian supervision while viewing.
- 18 – For viewers aged 18 and above.
Film in the Maldives are classified by the National Bureau of Classification (NBC). Certificates issued are based on the following categories:
- G – Suitable for all ages.
- PG – Parental Guidance.
- 12+ – For ages 12 and above.
- 15+ – Suitable for ages 15 and above.
- 18+ – Suitable for ages 18 and above.
- 18+R – Suitable for ages 18 and above. Restricted.
- PU – For Professional Use Only
As of 2012, films in Malta are classified by the Film Board in accordance with the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts Act. As part of a overhaul in 2013 the "14" and "16" age classifications were replaced by "12A" and "15"; the "PG" rating was redefined while "U", "12" and "18" were retained in their existing form.
If the film is deemed "fit for exhibition" it will be awarded one of the following classifications:
- U (Universal) – Suitable for all.
- PG (Parental Guidance) – General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children.
- 12A – Suitable for persons of 12 years and over: Provided that persons younger than 12 years may attend only when accompanied by an adult.
- 12 – Suitable only for persons of twelve years and over.
- 15 – Suitable for persons of fifteen years and over.
- 18 – Suitable only for persons of eighteen years and over.
The General Directorate of Radio, Television and Cinematography (in Spanish, Dirección General de Radio, Televisión y Cinematografía) is the issuer of ratings for motion pictures. The RTC is an agency of the Department of State (Secretaría de Gobernación). It has its own classification system, as follows:
- AA Informative-only rating: Understandable for children under 7 years.
- A Information-only rating: For all age groups.
- B Information-only rating: For adolescents 12 years and older.
- B-15 Information-only rating: Not recommended for children under 15.
- C Restrictive rating: For adults 18 and older.
- D Restrictive rating: Adult movies.
In the Netherlands, the Kijkwijzer system is used, which is executed by the Netherlands Institute for the Classification of Audiovisual Media (NICAM). Under Dutch law children are admitted to films carrying an age rating if accompanied by an adult except in the case of "16" rated films.
Mostly, these icons are used along with other symbols, displaying if a movie contains violence, sexual content, frightening scenes, drug or alcohol abuse, discrimination, or coarse language. These symbols are also used for TV-programs in the Netherlands.
The Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 gives the Office of Film and Literature Classification the power to classify publications into three categories: unrestricted, restricted, or "objectionable" (banned). With a few exceptions, films, videos, DVDs and restricted computer games must carry a label before being offered for supply or exhibited to the public.
The current ratings are:
- G: Suitable for general audiences.
- PG: Parental guidance may be needed for younger viewers.
- M: Suitable for mature audiences 16 years and over.
- R13: Restricted to persons 13 years and over.
- R15: Restricted to persons 15 years and over.
- R16: Restricted to persons 16 years and over.
- R18: Restricted to persons 18 years and over.
- RP13: Children under age 13 are not admitted unless accompanied by a parent or an adult.
- RP16: Children under age 16 are not admitted unless accompanied by a parent or an adult.
- R: Restricted exclusively to a certain audience.
The National Film and Video Censors Board classifies films, videos, DVDs, and VCDs. Classifications carrying an age rating are legally restricted, although the "15" and "18" classifications do not apply to people below 2 years of age. The categories are:
- G (Green Sign): Suitable for viewing by persons of all ages.
- PG (Green Sign): Parental Guidance advised.
- 12 (Yellow Sign): Not suitable for people under the age of 12.
- 12A (Yellow Sign): Not suitable for people under the age of 12. A child must be accompanied by an adult to view the film.
- 15 (Red Sign): Not suitable for persons under the age of 15.
- 18 (Red Sign): Not suitable for people under the 18.
- RE (Red Sign): Films which fall under this category are to be exhibited and distributed only in specially licensed premises.
The Norwegian Media Authority (Medietilsynet) sets the age limits on films to be exhibited in Norway. There is no requirement to submit a film to the Media Authority for classification, but such films carry a mandatory age rating of "18" and the distributor is legally repsonsible for the film's content.
The following age limits apply to films to be shown in cinemas:
- A – Suitable for all
- 7 – 7 years (children from 4 years old accompanied by an adult)
- 11 – 11 years (children down to 8 years accompanied by an adult)
- 15 – 15 years (young down to 12 years accompanied by an adult)
- 18 – 18 (absolute lower limit)
Children up to three years younger than the indicated age rating may be admitted if accompanied by an adult; however the Media Authority will occassionally discourage parents from accompanying children below the age recommendation to certain films. The Media Authority has no power to ban films but must not classify films which they consider contravene Norweigian criminal law.
In the Philippines, motion pictures, along with television programs, are rated by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, a special agency of the Office of the President. As of 2012, the Board uses six classification ratings.
- G (General Audiences) – Viewers of all ages are admitted.
- PG (Parental Guidance Suggested) – Viewers below 13 years old must be accompanied by a parent or supervising adult.
- R-13 (Restricted-13) – Only viewers who are 13 years old and above can be admitted.
- R-16 (Restricted-16) – Only viewers who are 16 years old and above can be admitted.
- R-18 (Restricted-18) – Only viewers who are 18 years old and above can be admitted.
- X (Not For Public Exhibition) – "X-rated" films are not suitable for public exhibition.
Ratings in Poland are not set by any board or advisory body. Prior to 1989 the applicable age ratings were "no age limit", "over 7", "over 12", "over 15" and "over 18" and were set by The General Committee of Cinematography. Since 1989 there is no official classification system, with age ratings being self-prescriptive and set by the distributors. In case of television, the supervisory body – Krajowa Rada Radiofonii i Telewizji (KRRiT, The National Council of Radio Broadcasting and Television) can impose fines upon those responsible for improper rating of a broadcast, or lack of it.
Movies are rated in Portugal by the Comissão de Classificação de Espectáculos of the Ministry of Culture. In cinemas the ratings are mandatory whereas for video releases they are merely advisory, except in the case of pornographic content. Children under the age of 3 were previously prohibited from public film performances, but a special category was introduced for this age group when the classification system was overhauled in 2014. A category for 14 year-olds was also introduced, and the lowest age rating was dropped from 4 years of age to 3. The categories are the following:
- Para todos os públicos – For all the public (especially designed for children under 3 years of age).
- M/3 Passed for viewers aged 3 and older.
- M/6 Passed for viewers aged 6 and older.
- M/12 Passed for viewers aged 12 and older.
- M/14 Passed for viewers aged 14 and older.
- M/16 Passed for viewers aged 16 and older.
- M/18 Passed for viewers aged 18 and older.
- M/18–P Special rating supplementary to the M/18 age rating denoting "pornography".
National Audiovisual Council of Romania rating system:
- A.P. Acordul părinţilor. (Parental guidance)
- 12 Interzis copiilor sub 12 ani. (Forbidden under the age of 12)
- 15 Nerecomandat copiilor sub 15 ani. (Not recommended under 15 years of age)
- 18 Interzis minorilor sub 18 ani. (Forbidden under 18 years of age – white sign)
- 18* Nu pentru sub 18 ani. (Not for under 18 – contains pornographic images – red sign)
Since 2012 the rating appears inside circles, which indicate age restrictions followed by a plus(+), and appears in most shows, including TV and Internet shows in Russian. The indication shown:
- (0+) Фильм разрешён для показа в любой зрительской аудитории (Film allowed for any age) – All ages are admitted. No age restrictions.
- (6+) Фильм разрешён детям, достигшим 6 лет (Film for those above 6) – Unsuitable for children under 6.
- (12+) Детям до 12 лет фильм разрешён в сопровождении родителей (Film for those above 12) – Unsuitable for children under 12.
- (16+) Фильм разрешён детям старше 16 лет (Film for those above 16) – Unsuitable for children under 16. Film has violence, fear or excessive bloodshed.
- (18+) Фильм разрешён детям старше 18 лет (Film for those above 18) – Unsuitable for children under 18. Film has discrimination, violence or bare bodies.
- Фильмы, которым отказано в классификации (Refused classification) – Banned.
- G: General – Suitable for all ages. This category is rarely used except for films targeted to children and family audiences.
- PG: Parental Guidance – Suitable for most ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young.
- PG13: Parental Guidance 13 – This is an advisory rating that falls between PG and NC16.
- NC16: No Children Under 16 – For persons 16 years and above.
- M18: Mature 18 – For persons 18 years and above.
- R21: Restricted 21 – For persons 21 years and above. Films under this category are currently excluded from screening in residential areas and video releases but is available on Video-on-Demand (VOD) services and downtown cinemas.
Orange rectangles are age-restricted ratings whereas green circles are age-advisory ratings. The rating PG13 is a new rating.
G has no restriction on age and all audiences are allowed admission. The same applies to PG and PG13 rated shows but parental guidance is advised for children, especially in the case of PG13 rated shows. NC16, M18 and R21 groups are legally restricted to persons of the specified age or above of the particular group. Cinemas are legally obligated to check the identity document of every patron attending a film with a restricted rating.
South African ratings are issued, certified and regulated by the Film and Publication Board. All broadcasters, cinemas and distributors of DVD/video and computer games must comply with the following:
- A: All Ages Admitted.
- PG: All Ages Admitted, but Parental Guidance is Recommended for younger or sensitive viewers.
- 7–9PG: No One Under 7 admitted; children under 9 must be accompanied by an adult.
- 10: No One Under 10 Admitted.
- 10–12PG: No One Under 10 admitted; children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
- 13: No One Under 13 Admitted.
- 16: No One Under 16 Admitted.
- 18: No One Under 18 Admitted.
- X18: No One Under 18 Admitted; restricted to licensed adult premises.
- XX: Must not be distributed or exhibited in public.
- All (전체 관람가) – Suitable for all audiences
- 12+ (12세 이상 관람가) – 12+
- 15+ (15세 이상 관람가) – 15+
- R (청소년 관람불가) – Prohibits children under 18
- Restricted – Restricted to "special theaters"
Attitudes toward film censorship in Spain are unusual due to the adverse effect of dictatorship and heavy censorship until 1975 under General Francisco Franco. Therefore, most Spanish citizens are against censorship of any kind and prefer personal responsibility and liberalism, thus very few people show serious respect for certification of films.
- APTA – General admission
- 7 – Not recommended for audiences under 7
- Especialmente Recomendada para la Infancia – Especially suitable for small children; supplementary to the first two classifications
- 12 – Not recommended for audiences under 12
- 16 – Not recommended for audiences under 16
- 18 – Not recommended for audiences under 18
- Película X – Prohibited for audiences under 18
Statens medieråd (the Swedish Media Council) is a government agency with the aims to reduce the risk of harmful media influences among minors and to empower minors as conscious media users. The classification bestowed on a film should not be viewed as recommendations on the suitability for children, as the law the council operates under (SFS 2010:1882) only mandates them to assess the relative risk to children's well-being.
The following categories are used:
- Btl (Barntillåten = Children allowed) – Suitable for all ages.
- 7 – Deemed non-harming for children of at least 7 years of age. Younger children are admitted if accompanied by an adult 18 or older.
- 11 – Deemed non-harming for children of at least 11 years of age. Children of at least 7 years of age are admitted if accompanied by an adult 18 or older.
- Not Approved – Has not been assigned a classification. A de facto "15" rating, meaning that children under the age of 15 are not admitted to unrated films.
The councils classification only apply for cinematic screening. So even though distributors usually align the recommendations on cases of videos or DVDs with the rating given by the council, they are unofficial. It is also common for television channels, rental shops and adult cinemas to use their own classifications to hinder persons below the age of 18 years to be exposed to pornography, such as Barnförbjuden ("Children Banned"), 18 år ("18 years") and Vuxenfilm ("movies for adults"). Until 2011 there was another level for cinemas, Banned, in which the movie was forbidden for all audiences. Often a recut version got approval for viewing. All movies needed at that time prescreening, also those with limit 15.
Switzerland has adopted Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft (FSK), Germany's classification body.
Taiwan did not have motion picture rating system until April 1994. The GIO in Taiwan (Republic of China) divides licensed films into one of the following four categories pursuant to its issued Regulations Governing the Classification of Motion Pictures of the Republic of China (電影片分級處理辦法 in traditional Chinese):
- General audiences category (普遍級(普)) – General audiences are able to view. (green sign)
- Protected category (保護級(護)) – Children under 6 years old are not allowed to view. Children aged at least 6 but less than 12 require guidance of accompanying parents, teachers, or adult relatives to view. (blue sign)
- Parental guidance category (輔導級(輔)) – Children under 12 years old are not allowed to view. People aged at least 12 but less than 18 require attentive guidance of parents or teachers to view. (yellow sign)
- Restricted category (限制級(限)) – People under 18 years old are not allowed to view. (red sign)
Film advertisements use a single Chinese character surrounded by a square to show the film's category. Television stations must clearly show a film's rating before the start, and after each commercial break.
Related and official link: Classifications of movies (in traditional Chinese)
Before the introduction of the rating system, films were subject to the 1930 Film Act, under which films must be viewed by the Board of Censors, which can then impose cuts on the films prior to release. The board is composed of members of the Royal Thai Police and the Ministry of Culture, with advisory roles from the Buddhist religion, educators and the medical community. Most cuts are made for sexual content, while acts of violence are typically left untouched.
A motion picture rating system was proposed in the Film and Video Act of 2007, and was passed on December 20, 2007 by the Thai military-appointed National Legislative Assembly. The draft law was met with resistance from the film industry and independent filmmakers under the Free Thai Cinema Movement. Activists had hoped for a less-restrictive approach than the 1930 Film Act, but under the Film and Video Act, films are still be subject to censorship, or can be banned from release altogether if the film is deemed to "undermine or disrupt social order and moral decency, or might impact national security or the pride of the nation".
- P – Promotional, film is educational and viewing is encouraged for all Thai people.
- G – Suitable for everyone.
- 13 – Under 13 not admitted.
- 15 – Under 15 not admitted.
- 18 – Under 18 not admitted.
- 20 – Under 20 not admitted.
- Banned – Films that are not allowed to screen publicly in Thailand.
- Genel İzleyici – General audience (family symbol). Suitable for viewers of all ages.
- 7A – Viewers under the age of 7 may watch with accompanying family mambers.
- 7+ – Suitable for viewers aged 7 and over.
- 13A – Viewers under the age of 13 may watch with accompanying family members.
- 13+ – Suitable for viewers aged 13 and over.
- 15A – Viewers under the age of 15 may watch with accompanying family members.
- 15+ – Suitable for viewers aged 15 and over.
- 18+ – Suitable for viewers aged 18 and over.
There are also content informations which indicate violence/horror, sexuality and negative examples.
Movies that are determined to be educational aren't rated, but labeled as "for educational purposes" instead.
The board has the power to refuse classification in extreme cases (producers and distributors can submit an edited version of a movie to the board but edited versions may also be rejected if still deemed inappropriate); in this case, the movie will be banned with the exception of special artistic activities like fairs, festivals, feasts and carnivals.
Turks and Caicos Islands
The British colony of Turks and Caicos Islands has its own motion picture rating system which was unchanged since its installation in 1934.
United Arab Emirates
The Ministry of Information and Culture of the United Arab Emirates rates all movies according to a set standard.
- G (General Audience) – Suitable for all ages.
- PG-13 – Under 13 not admitted unless accompanied by an individual over 13. Some material may not be suitable for children. Introduced early 2010.
- PG-15 – Under 15 not admitted unless accompanied by an individual over 15. Some material may not be suitable for children.
- 15+ – No persons under 15 admitted.
- 18+ – No persons under 18 admitted.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) rates both motion pictures and videos (and an increasing number of video games). The rating system was introduced in 1913 and, as of 1985, also rates videos. Local authorities are ultimately responsible for film ratings for cinema showings in their area. District councils sometimes vary the BBFC advised rating and rate films with different restrictions in their area only, e.g., the BBFC rates a film as 15, but the local council gives the film a 12A rating in their area. Rating certificates from the BBFC are not legally binding, whereas those for videos are. British cinemas generally stick closely to the policy of ratings and a young person may often be asked for proof of age if deemed younger than the rating.
The current BBFC system is:
- U (Universal) - Suitable for all. (The board states that while they cannot predict what might upset a particular child, a "U" film should be suitable for audiences aged 4 and older).
- PG (Parental Guidance) - General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children. (It is the board's policy that movies rated "PG" should not disturb a child of about 8 years of age or older; however, parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset young or more sensitive children).
- 12A (12 Accompanied/Advisory) - Recommended for 12 years and older. People under 12 years must be accompanied by an adult.
- 12 Recommended for 12 years and older. Anybody under 12 may see it, as long as a parent or guardian says they can. Nobody younger than 12 may rent or buy a "12" rated video.
- 15 - Suitable only for 15 years and older. Nobody younger than 15 may see a "15" film in a cinema. Nobody younger than 15 may rent or buy a "15" rated video.
- 18 - Suitable only for adults. Nobody younger than 18 may see an "18" film in a cinema. Nobody younger than 18 may rent or buy an "18" rated video. These films may contain extreme gore/violence and/or sexually explicit content.
- R18 (Restricted 18) - To be shown only in specially licensed cinemas, or supplied only in licensed sex shops, and to adults that are older than 18 years old. These films contain sexually explicit, pornographic content.
The 12A, 12, 15, 18 and R18 categories are restricted, and it is against the law for anybody under age to obtain such material.
Films may receive a different rating when released on DVD/video to that at the cinema. It is not unusual for certain films to be refused classification, effectively banning them from sale or exhibition in the UK. Sometimes compulsory cuts are made to films, such as cuts to sexual violence and animal cruelty. Any media which has been banned receives an "R" certificate (Rejected).
Videos deemed by their distributors to be exempt under the Video Recordings Act 1984 may bear the mark E (for exempt), though this is not a rating and the BBFC does not maintain a symbol.
In the United States, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), through the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA), issues ratings for movies. The system was instituted in November 1968 and is voluntary; however, most movie theater chains will not show unrated domestic films and most major studios have agreed to submit all titles for rating prior to theatrical release. Most films will have the MPAA insignia at the end of the closing credits. Earlier films that had full opening credits would bear the insignia in the opening. The same applies to American films released outside of the U.S.
The ratings are:
- G – General Audiences – All Ages Admitted. There is no content that would be objectionable to most parents and guardians. These films may not contain rude language and no serious cursing. As with violence it must be mild and minimal, if any, without any blood or gore.
- PG – Parental Guidance Suggested – Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children. These films are generally inappropriate for young children and may contain milder swear words, crude or suggestive humor, short and infrequent horror moments and/or mild violence.
- PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned – Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13. These films may contain sex references, up to four uses of explicit language, drug innuendo, strong crude/suggestive humor, mature/suggestive themes, moderately long horror moments, blood, and/or moderate action violence.
- R – Restricted – Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent Or Adult Guardian. These films contain some adult material and parents are urged to learn more about these motion pictures before taking their young children to watch them. Children under 17 are not allowed to attend R rated films unaccompanied by an adult. These films may contain mild or implied sex scenes, prolonged nudity, strong violence often with blood and gore, strong horror scenes and explicit/illegal/prolonged drug use.
- NC-17 – No One 17 and Under Admitted. These NC-17 rated films are patently adult and children are not admitted. These films may contain strong and extreme graphic violence with bloodshed, pain, dismemberment, death and a very large amount of blood and gore, sex scenes, explicit content, rape or sexual assault, depraved, aberrational behavior, sexual nudity, or any other elements which that are not suitable for children and strictly prohibited from viewing by minors.
The motion picture rating system used in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela varies from small child audiences to unrated films. The letter designations work in conjunction with ages:
- A: Suitable for audiences 2 years or older (Para niños 2 años y arriba)
- B: Suitable for audiences 7 years or older (Para niños 7 años y arriba)
- C: Suitable for audiences 12 years or older (No para niños menores de 12 años)
- D: Suitable for audiences 15 years or older (No para niños menores de 15 años)
- E: Suitable for audiences 18 years or older (No para niños menores de 18 años)
- F: Unrated, for family
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- Pornography in the United States
- Pink permits
- Television content rating systems
- Video game content rating system
- The Netherlands film board's comparison of film classifications issued for twelve recent films by the classification boards of the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Sweden.
- IMDb's information about rating systems from all over the world.
- FilmClassifications.com Information regarding film classifications from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- Australia Australian Classification Board.
- Denmark Medierådet for Børn og Unge (The Media Council for Children and Young People).
- Finland Finnish Centre for Media Education and Audiovisual Media.
- France Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC).
- Germany Spitzenorganisation der Filmwirtschaft e. V. (SPIO)
- Iceland Smáís.
- Irish Film Censor's Office.
- Japan Administration Commission of Motion Picture Code of Ethics.
- Korea Korea Media Rating Board.
- Malaysia Lembaga Penapisan Filem Malaysia (Malaysia Film Filter Board)
- Netherlands Kijkwijzer (and Nicam).
- New Zealand Office of Film & Literature Classification.
- Norway Media Authority.
- Philippines Movie and Television Review and Classification Board
- Singapore Media Development Authority.
- Sweden Statens medieråd.
- South African Film and Publications Board.
- Spanish Film Academy (ACE).
- United Kingdom British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).
- USA Motion Picture Association of America.