Rating Systems, Film

Film rating systems provide information regarding a film’s content and suitability for particular audiences. Although various countries use film rating systems, this entry focuses on the film rating system in the United States and includes discussions of its history, ratings and movie content, effects of movie content, and criticisms of the rating system.


The film rating system in existence in the United States today was instituted in 1968 in response to what many in the film industry viewed as an overly restrictive set of rules known as the Hays Code. Jack Valenti, then chair of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), worked with theater owners to establish an independent ratings board known as the Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA). CARA was created to introduce film ...

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