Motion picture content rating system
A motion picture content 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. Ratings typically carry age recommendations in an advisory or restrictive capacity, and are often given in lieu of censorship. In some jurisdictions the legal obligation of administering the rating may be imposed on movie theaters.
In countries such as Australia and Singapore, an official government body 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 table
- 2 Argentina
- 3 Australia
- 4 Austria
- 5 Belgium
- 6 Brazil
- 7 Bulgaria
- 8 Canada
- 9 Chile
- 10 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 Jamaica
- 26 Japan
- 27 Kazakhstan
- 28 Latvia
- 29 Malaysia
- 30 Maldives
- 31 Malta
- 32 Mexico
- 33 Netherlands
- 34 New Zealand
- 35 Nigeria
- 36 Norway
- 37 Philippines
- 38 Poland
- 39 Portugal
- 40 Russia
- 41 Singapore
- 42 South Africa
- 43 South Korea
- 44 Spain
- 45 Sweden
- 46 Switzerland
- 47 Taiwan
- 48 Thailand
- 49 Turkey
- 50 United Arab Emirates
- 51 United Kingdom
- 52 United States
- 53 Vietnam
- 54 See also
- 55 References
- 56 External links
A comparison of current 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.
- – No restrictions: All ages may watch/Aimed at young audiences/Exempt/Not rated/No applicable rating.
- – No restrictions: Parental guidance is suggested for a younger audience, if applicable.
- – No restrictions: Not recommended for a younger audience but not restricted.
- – Restrictive: Restricted to an older audience unless accompanied by an adult.
- – Restrictive: Restricted exclusively to an older audience/licensed premises or banned.
|(inside Québec)||G||G (Not suitable for young children)||13+||16+||18+||Exempt|
|China||Suitable for all ages||Banned|
|Germany||FSK 0||FSK 6||FSK 16||FSK 18||Educational|
|Malta||U||PG||12A||15||18||Not fit for exhibition|
|N/A||FSK 18||FSK 18|
|Turkey||Genel İzleyici Kitlesi (En:General Audience)||7+||13+||15+||18+|
|United Arab Emirates||G||PG13||PG15||18+||N/A|
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 are admitted if accompanied by an adult.
- 16: Suitable for 16-year-olds and over.
- 18: Suitable for 18-year-olds and over.
- C: Suitable for 18-year-olds and over. Restricted to specially licensed venues.
- Advisory categories
- General (G) – General. The content is very mild in impact. The G classification is suitable for everyone.
- Parental Guidance (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.
- Mature (M) – Recommended for mature audiences. The content is moderate in impact. Children under 15 may legally access this material because it is an advisory category. However, M classified films and computer games may include classifiable elements such as violence and nudity of moderate impact that are not recommended for children under 15 years.
- Restricted categories
- Mature Accompanied (MA15+) – Not suitable for people under 15. Under 15s must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. The content is strong in impact.
- Restricted (R18+) – Restricted to 18 years and over. The content is high in impact. Despite this category being legally restricted, in Queensland the restriction is not applicable to persons under 2.
- Adult film categories
- Restricted (X18+) – Restricted to 18 years and over. This classification is a special and legally restricted category which contains only sexually explicit content. That is, material which shows actual sexual intercourse and other sexual activity between consenting adults. X18+ films are only available for sale or hire 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.
Films intended to inform, educate or instruct or concerned with sport, religion or music are exempt from classification provided they do not contain material that would result in an "M" rating or higher if submitted for classification.
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 state 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 state 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 Intercommunautaire 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% 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: (Kinderen Toegelaten [KT]; Enfants Admis [EA]) – Suitable for all
- CAT.2: (Kinderen Niet Toegelaten [KNT]; Enfants Non Admis [ENA]) – Unsuitable for people younger than 16
All films that are exhibited in public or released on a home video format in Brazil must be submitted for classification to the Department of Justice, Rating, Titles and Qualification (Departamento de Justiça, Classificação, Títulos e Qualificação, abbreviated Dejus), 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 who is at least 18 years old, 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 does not have any legal right to ban, demand cuts or refuse to rate any movie.
The Dejus uses the following system:
- L: Livre (General Audiences): Do not expose children to potentially harmful content.
- 10: Não recomendado para menores de dez anos (Not recommended for minors under ten): Violent content or inappropriate language to children, even if of a less intensity.
- 12: Não recomendado para menores de doze anos (Not recommended for minors under twelve): Scenes can include physical aggression, use of legal drugs and sexual innuendo.
- 14: Não recomendado para menores de quatorze anos (Not recommended for minors under fourteen): More violent material, stronger sex references and/or nudity.
- 16: Não recomendado para menores de dezesseis anos (Not recommended for minors under sixteen): Scenes featuring production, trafficking and/or use of illegal drugs, hyper-realistic sex, sexual violence, abortion, torture, mutilation, suicide, trivialization of violence and death penalty.
- 18: Não recomendado para menores de dezoito anos (Not recommended for minors under eighteen): Restricted to adults. Scenes featuring explicit sex, incest, pedophilia, praising of the use of illegal drugs and violence of a strong imagery impact.
There are also operational descriptions of attenuating and aggravating elements that can interfere on the final rating.
- A – Recommended for children.
- B – Without age restrictions.
- C – Not recommended for children under 12. No persons under 12 shall be admitted unless accompanied by an adult.
- D – Prohibited for persons under 16.
- X – Prohibited for persons under 18, for licensed venues only.
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. Additionally, in certain provinces there is a mandatory age restriction of 14 years. 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. If a film carrying a "G" rating might offend the sensibilities of a child under 8 years of age, "Not suitable for young children" is appended to the classification.
- 13+: 13 ans et plus (13 years and over) – May be viewed, rented or purchased only 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 only by children 16 years of age or over.
- 18+: 18 ans et plus (18 years and over) – May be viewed, rented or purchased only by adults 18 years of age or over. If a film contains real and explicit sexual activity "Explicit sexuality" is appended to the classification, and in the retail video industry storeowners are required to place the film in a room reserved for adults.
Films are classified by the Council of Cinematographic Classification (Consejo de Calificación Cinematográfica) which is a central agency under the Ministry of Education. In 2002 legislation was enacted which reversed the ban on all 1,090 films that had previously been banned in Chile.
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 not admitted to films with pornographic or excessively violent content.
- 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 restricted to older audiences—if they are accompanied by an adult.
- A – Suitable for a general audience.
- 7 – Not recommended for children under 7.
- 11 – For ages 11 and up.
- 15 – For ages 15 and up.
- F – Exempt from classification.
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 National Audiovisual Institute. 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.
Films with an age rating may contain descriptors for violence, sex, fear, or substance abuse.
- 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 National Center of Cinematography and the moving image (CNC) 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 (Tous publics) – 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
- Interdiction (prohibition) – certificate totally prohibiting the screening of the film
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.
- Ohne Altersbeschränkung (FSK 0): no age restriction (white sign)
- Freigegeben ab 6 Jahren (FSK 6): released to ages 6 and older (yellow sign)
- Freigegeben ab 12 Jahren (FSK 12): released to ages 12 and older; children who are at least age 6 may be admitted with parental accompaniment (green sign)
- Freigegeben ab 16 Jahren (FSK 16): released to ages 16 and older, nobody under this age admitted (blue sign)
- Keine Jugendfreigabe (FSK 18): "no youth admitted", adults only. (red sign)
- 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 (triangle sign)
Of the four levels, Levels I, IIA, and IIB are unrestricted. Only Level III is a restricted category and regulated by the Government.
Hungarian ratings are decided by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH):
- KN (korhatár nélkül) – Without age restriction
- 6 – Not recommended below age of 6
- 12 – Not recommended below age of 12
- 16 – Not recommended below age of 16
- 18 – Not recommended below age of 18
- X – Restricted below 18, for adults only
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. The Icelandic ratings system also provides an "18" rating in addition to the Kijkwijzer ratings. Under Icelandic law, minors aged 14-years-old and over may be admitted to a film carrying a higher age rating if accompanied by an adult.
- L: All ages.
- 6: Not suitable for children under 6 years
- 9: Not suitable for children under 9 years
- 12: Not suitable for children under 12 years
- 16: Not suitable for children under 16 years
- 18: Not suitable for children under 18 years
- U – Unrestricted Public Exhibition.
- UA – Unrestricted Public Exhibition, but with parental guidance for children below the age of 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
- 13+: Suitable for ages 13 and above
- 17+: Suitable for ages 17 and above
- 21+: Suitable for ages 21 and above
- G (General) – Suitable for children of school going age (note: children can be enrolled in school from the age of 4).
- PG (Parental Guidance) – Suitable for children over the age of 8. Parental guidance is recommended for children under the age of 12.
- 12A, 12 – Suitable for viewers of twelve and over. Younger children may be admitted to the film at cinemas if accompanied by an adult; on home video younger viewers are not permitted to purchase/rent.
- 15A, 15 – Suitable for viewers of fifteen and over. Younger viewers may be admitted to the film at cinemas if accompanied by an adult; on home video younger viewers are not permitted to purchase/rent.
- 16 (cinema only) – Suitable for viewers of sixteen and over. Younger viewers are not admitted.
- 18 – Suitable only for adults. Viewers under 18 are not admitted at cinemas or permitted to purchase/rent the video.
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 (pellicola per tutti; "all"): All ages admitted.
- VM14 (vietato ai minori di quattordici anni): No admittance for children under 14.
- VM18 (vietato ai minori di diciotto anni): No admittance for children under 18.
Film classification in Jamaica is a requirement of the Cinematograph Act of 1913, which also established the Cinematograph Authority.
- G (General Audiences): Appropriate for all ages.
- PG (only applied occasionally)
- PG-13: Children 12 years and under must be accompanied by parent/guardian.
- T-16: Teenagers 14 & 15 will be admitted in the company of an adult.
- A-18: No one under the age of 18 years will be admitted.
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 four different 18 categories. In mid-April 2010, the four 18 categories were deprecated, and was simplified to just 18. In late 2008, 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.
- 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 an 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 (legally prohibited to those under 18 years of age).
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.
- Al: All ages.
- 6: Potentially harmful to children under 6 years.
- 9: Potentially harmful to children under 9 years.
- 12: Potentially harmful to children under 12 years; broadcasting is not allowed before 8:00 pm.
- 16: Not allowed for children under 16 years; broadcasting is not allowed before 10:00 pm.
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.
In 2017 the Office of Film and Literature Classification created a special RP18 rating for online content in response to the Netflix television series, 13 Reasons Why. The new classification reflects concerns raised with 17 and 18 year olds in New Zealand being at a higher risk of suicide. The current ratings are:
- G: Anyone can be shown or sold this.
- PG: Films and games with a PG label can be sold, hired, or shown to anyone. The PG label means guidance from a parent or guardian is recommended for younger viewers.
- M: Films and games with an M label can be sold, hired, or shown to anyone. Films with an M label are more suitable for mature audiences. A lot of blockbusters based on books popular with the 10+ age group are classified M.
- 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: Restricted to persons 13 years and over unless accompanied by a Parent/Guardian.
- RP16: Restricted to persons 16 years and over unless accompanied by a Parent/Guardian.
- RP18: Restricted to persons 18 years and over unless accompanied by a Parent/Guardian (online content only).
- 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. Films not submitted to the Media Authority for classification carry a mandatory age rating of "18".
The following age limits apply to films to be shown in cinemas:
- A – Suitable for all
- 6 – 6 years (no restriction for children accompanied by an adult)
- 9 – 9 years (children down to 6 years accompanied by an adult)
- 12 – 12 years (children down to 9 years accompanied by an adult)
- 15 – 15 years (young down to 12 years accompanied by an adult)
- 18 – 18 years (absolute lower limit)
The Media Authority has no power to ban films but must not classify films which they consider contravene Norwegian 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) – 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 (subject to parental guidance) 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.
- P Special rating supplementary to the M/18 age rating denoting "pornography".
- Q Special rating supplementary to denote quality.
The indication shown:
- 0+ – All ages are admitted.
- 6+ для детей старше 6 лет (For children above 6) – Unsuitable for children under 6.
- 12+ для детей старше 12 лет (For children above 12) – Unsuitable for children under 12.
- 16+ для детей старше 16 лет (For children above 16) – Unsuitable for children under 16.
- 18+ запрещено для детей (Prohibited for children) – Prohibited for children under 18.
- Фильмы, которым отказано в классификации (Refused classification) – Banned.
Film classification in Singapore was introduced in 1991 and comes under the jurisdiction of the Board of Film Censors (BFC). There were three ratings originally: G (General), PG (Parental Guidance) and R18 (Restricted to 18 years and above). Prior to then films were either approved or effectively banned. Since then, there have been several alterations to the ratings over the years. The R18 rating has been dropped, and has been replaced by NC16 (No Children under 16), M18 (Mature 18) and R21 (Restricted 21). A PG13 (Parental Guidance 13) rating, introduced in 2011, is the latest rating to be introduced. The G, PG and PG13 ratings are advisory while NC16, M18 and R21 carry age restrictions. Video ratings are mostly the same as the cinema ratings, except only go up to M18. Some titles, such as documentaries, children's programmes and sports programmes may be exempt from classification on video, but all titles must be classified for public theatrical exhibition.
The categories are:
- G: General – Suitable for all ages.
- PG: Parental Guidance – Suitable for all but parents should guide their young.
- PG13: Parental Guidance 13 – Suitable for persons aged 13 and above but parental guidance is advised for children below 13.
- NC16: No Children Under 16 – Suitable for persons aged 16 and above.
- M18: Mature 18 – Suitable for persons aged 18 and above.
- R21: Restricted 21 – Suitable for adults aged 21 and above (restricted to licensed cinemas).
In South Africa film are classified by the Film and Publication Board. Distributors and exhibitors are legally compelled to comply with the age ratings. All broadcasters, cinemas and distributors of DVD/video and computer games must comply with the following:
- A: Suitable for all.
- PG: Parental Guidance
- 7–9PG: Not suitable for children under the age of 7. Children aged 7–9 years old may not be admitted unless accompanied by an adult.
- 10–12PG: Not suitable for children under the age of 10. Children aged 10–12 years old may not be admitted unless accompanied by an adult.
- 13: Not suitable for children under the age of 13.
- 16: Not suitable for persons under the age of 16.
- 18: Not suitable for persons under the age of 18.
- X18: No One Under 18 Admitted; restricted to licensed adult premises.
- XX: Must not be distributed or exhibited in public.
There are also sub-descriptors used with some of the ratings:
- S for sex
- L for language
- V for violence
- P for prejudice
- N for nudity
- H for horror
- D for substance abuse
- SV for sexual violence
- All (전체 관람가) – Film suitable for all ages.
- 12 (12세 이상 관람가) – Film intended for audiences 12 and over. Underage audiences accompanied by a parent or guardian are allowed.
- 15 (15세 이상 관람가) – Film intended for audiences 15 and over. Underage audiences accompanied by a parent or guardian are allowed.
- R (청소년 관람불가) – No one under 18 is allowed to watch this film.
- Restricted Screening (제한상영가) – Film needs a certain restriction in screening or advertisement as it is considered a highly bad influence to universal human dignity, social value, good customs or national emotion due to excessive expression of nudity, violence, social behavior, etc (technically not an age restriction but films with this rating may only be screened at "adults only" theaters, with the age of majority set at 19).
All films to be commercially released in Spain in any medium must be submitted to the ICAA (Instituto de Cinematografía y Artes Audiovisuales - Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts Institute). Classifications are advisory except for X-rated films, which are restricted to specially licensed venues. A supplementary classification, "Especialmente Recomendada para la Infancia" (Especially recommended for children), is sometimes appended to the lowest two classifications. Another supplementary classification, "Especialmente recomendada para el fomento de la igualdad de género" (Especially recommended for the promotion of gender equality), is sometimes appended to any of the classifications except the last one.
- APTA(i) – General admission
- 7(i) – Not recommended for audiences under 7
- 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. It is not a legal requirement to submit a film to the Media Council, but children under the age of 15 are not admitted in such instances. The councils classification only applies to public exhibition, and the law does not require classification of home media.
- Btl (Barntillåten) – All ages.
- 7 – Children under the age of 7, who are accompanied by an adult (a person aged 18 or over), are admitted to films that have been passed for children from the age of 7.
- 11 – Children over the age of 7, who are accompanied by an adult, are admitted to films that have been passed for children from the age of 11.
- Not Approved/15 – Children under the age of 15 are not admitted to any film that is "not approved" for viewing by children.
Switzerland has adopted Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft (FSK), Germany's classification body. Under Swiss law, however, children up to two years younger than the age recommendations will be admitted if accompanied by a person invested with parental authority.
Taiwan/Republic of China did not have a motion picture rating system until April 1994. The Government Information Office (GIO) classified films into four categories (General Audience/Protected/Parental Guidance/Restricted) 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): The "Parental Guidance" rating previously prohibited viewing by children under the age of 12 and required adolescents aged 12–17 to be accompanied by an adult. In 2015, the "Parental Guidance" rating was divided into two categories: one that prohibits children under the age of 12 and one that prohibits adolescents under the age of 15.
- 0+: 普遍級(普) (General Audience) – Viewing is permitted for audiences of all ages.
- 6+: 保護級(護) (Protected) – Viewing is not permitted for children under 6; children between 6 and 11 shall be accompanied and given guidance by parents, teachers, seniors, or adult relatives or friends.
- 12+: 輔導十二歲級(輔12) (Parental Guidance 12) – Viewing is not permitted for children under 12.
- 15+: 輔導十五歲級(輔15) (Parental Guidance 15) – Viewing is not permitted for those under 15.
- 18+: 限制級(限) (Restricted) – Viewing is not permitted for those under 18.
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, replacing laws which had been in place since 1930. The draft law was met with resistance from the film industry and independent filmmakers. Activists had hoped for a less-restrictive approach; however, films are still 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".
The ratings were put into effect in August 2009. They are as follows:
- P – Educational.
- G – General Audience.
- 13 – Suitable for viewers aged 13 years and over.
- 15 – Suitable for viewers aged 15 years and over.
- 18 – Suitable for viewers aged 18 years and over.
- 20 – Content is unsuitable for viewers aged under 20.
- Banned – Films that are not allowed to screen publicly in Thailand.
In Turkey, movies to be shown in cinemas are rated by the Evaluation and Classification Board of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. All films to be made commercially available must be classified, except in the case of educational films which are labeled as "for educational purposes" instead. The board also 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.
- Genel İzleyici Kitlesi – General audience.
- 7+ – Suitable for viewers aged 7 and over.
- 7A – Viewers under the age of 7 may watch with accompanying family members.
- 13+ – Suitable for viewers aged 13 and over.
- 13A – Viewers under the age of 13 may watch with accompanying family members.
- 15+ – Suitable for viewers aged 15 and over.
- 15A – Viewers under the age of 15 may watch with accompanying family members.
- 18+ – Suitable for viewers aged 18 and over.
United Arab Emirates
The Ministry of Information of the United Arab Emirates classifies all films, which cinemas must abide by.
- G (General admission) – All ages are allowed.
- PG13 – All ages allowed but children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.
- PG15 – All ages allowed but children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
- 15+ – 15 years old and above only. Children aged 14 and under are not allowed even if accompanied by adults.
- 18+ – 18 years old and above only. Children aged 17 and under are not allowed even if accompanied by adults.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) classifies films to be publicly exhibited in the United Kingdom, although statutory powers remain with local councils which can overrule any of the BBFC's decisions. Since 1984, the BBFC also classifies films made commercially available though a home video format. If the BBFC refuses a classification this effectively amounts to a ban (although local councils retain the legal right to overturn it in the case of cinema exhibition). The BBFC's regulatory powers do not extend to the internet, so a film they have banned on physical media can still be made available via streaming media/video on demand. Videos designed to inform, educate or instruct or concerned with sport, religion or music are exempt from classification; exempt films may be marked as "E", but this is not an official label.
The current BBFC system is:
- Uc – Especially suitable for pre-school children. The category is now retired, although older video works still in circulation may carry the label.
- U (Universal) - Suitable for all. A U-rated film should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over.
- PG (Parental Guidance) - General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children. A PG-rated film should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older.
- 12A - Cinema release suitable for 12 years and over. No one younger than 12 may see a 12A-rated film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult.
- 12 – Video release suitable for 12 years and over. Video recordings with this rating are not to be supplied to anyone below that age.
- 15 - Suitable only for 15 years and older. No-one under 15 is allowed to see a 15-rated film at the cinema or buy/rent a 15-rated video.
- 18 - Suitable only for adults. No-one under 18 is allowed to see an 18-rated film at the cinema or buy/rent an 18-rated video.
- R18 (Restricted 18) - Adult works for licensed premises only. The R18 category is a special and legally restricted classification primarily for explicit works of consenting sex or strong fetish material involving adults. Films may only be shown to adults in specially licensed cinemas, and video works may be supplied to adults only in licensed sex shops. R18-rated video works may not be supplied by mail order.
In the United States of America, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), through the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA), issues ratings for movies. The system was established in 1968 and is voluntary; an unrated film is often informally denoted by "NR" in newspapers and so forth.
- G (General Audiences) – All Ages Are Admitted.
- PG (Parental Guidance Suggested) – Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children.
- PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned) – Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13.
- R (Restricted) – Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent Or Adult Guardian.
- NC-17 (Adults Only) – No One 17 and Under Admitted.
All theatrical releases are screened by the Cinema Department of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Travel of Vietnam to ensure suitability for public viewing. Regardless of the rating, some scenes may be altered or removed to comply with regulations. The classification was revised in January 2017, replacing the previous rating system.
- P (Vietnamese: Phổ cập, meaning Universal) – Suitable for all ages.
- C13 – Persons under age 13 not admitted.
- C16 – Persons under age 16 not admitted.
- C18 – Persons under age 18 not admitted.
Unlike the previous rating system, the current rating system does not have parental guidance and ratings other than P are considered to be restricted.
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- "Sinema Filmlerini Değerlendirme Ve Sınıflandırma İşaretlerimizi Tanıyalım" [Meet the assessment and classification Sign Cinema Films]. Turkey: Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Archived from the original on 9 January 2012.
- "FAQs: Movie ratings – how do these work?". Cinemacity. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- "About the BBFC". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- "FAQs". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- "Guidelines". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
- "FAQs: What are the differences between the ‘U’ and ‘Uc’ categories?". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- "Film Ratings". Motion Picture Association of America. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
- "What: Guide to Ratings". Classification and Ratings Administration. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- Franklin, Daniel P. (2006). Politics and Film: The Political Culture of Film in the United States. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 152–153. ISBN 9781461641018.
- "Vietnam adopts a new film rating system with 18+ rating". Bliss Saigon. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- 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.
- India Central Board of Film Certification.
- 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.