Movie Ratings

The Disney classic movies “Snow White” & “Pinnochio” had some pretty violent scenes. (IIRC, “Snow White” was banned in the UK because of the witch’s death scene.) Yet they were considered children’s movies.

Many years later, the MPAA rating system is used. Strangely, the “Planet of the Apes” movies are all rated “G” except “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” (PG). I thought these would be at least PG’s (PG-13 if it was available back then). There was plenty of shooting, a little nudity, cursing, slinky outfits (Nova - what a babe!), death by impaling, death by atomic bomb, death by “apehunt”, baby ape’s death by mother’s own hand, etc.

Disney’s first PG movie was “The Black Hole”. Deservedly so, it’s subject matter was rather dark and there was at least one graphic death scene (death by Roto-Rooter). Fifteen years later, “Blank Check” also received a PG rating, but for what? It seemed as innocuous as most of Disney’s fare.

Is there just a massive inconsistency to movie ratings? Does the MPAA publish a list of reasons why a movie gets a particular rating? Is the PG rating (not PG-13) on the way out, as G movies now are on the level of Teletubbies, R movies are most adult movies, and most of the rest are given PG-13?

Snow White received a “U” rating from the BBFC, equivalent to an MPAA “G” rating.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” has a G rating… and it glorifies the life of an almost-prostitute. The musical “Gigi” is also G-rated and it’s about a cortesain (sp?), and has many references to sex! I don’t know what’s going on with movie ratings, it seems like anyhing Disney or “classic” is given a G rating… I have a feeling that they aren’t watched very closely.
Also, have you ever seen “Flight of the Navigator”? It’s a Disney film with QUITE A BIT of profanity, and it’s only rated PG and considered a family film.



“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true” -Albert Einstein

Here are some anomalies in my opinion:
Jaws got a PG rating. Enough said.
Seven got a R rating. How violent do you have to be to get an NC-17 rating? I mean, do you have to spatter blood on the audience in a non-metaphorical sense?


Nothing I write about any person or group should be applied to a larger group.

  • Boris Badenov

For more information, you can go to this page:
Movie Ratings - How it works
and click on What the Ratings Mean

I’m sure that the Rating Board (located in Los Angeles) cannot but help being influenced by the names attached to a film.

e.g. movie with the “Disney” logo: first impression would be G or PG rating.

movie from the Troma studio, or directed by Quentin Tarantino, etc… bring out the blindfolds and the earplugs!

La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry

I too raised my eyebrows when I first saw this movie (my wife has it on tape, she loves it). It’s kinda bizarre- a lighthearted Disney musical comedy about what would otherwise be a rather sordid subject. It’s opening theme song alone, “Thank Heaven for little girls” makes people nowadays cough nervously.
The movie, for those who haven’t seen it, goes something like this: In turn of the century Paris, the idle rich play endless bedroom games. The men all have mistresses and the single women are all golddiggers. Fourteen year-old Gigi, of illegitimate birth, is being groomed by her grandmother and grandaunt to become a professional mistress, to be some rich man’s kept woman. They have in mind one particular young millionare, a family friend, only (1) He still thinks of Gigi as a girl, and (2) Gigi is in love with him, and doesn’t just want to be a disposable plaything.
Weird huh? Like trying to imagine a Disney version of “A Streetcar named Desire”.

It isn’t only the movies. Remember all the fuss about “Three’s Company” when it first was on TV. It is rated TV-G. That is the same as “I Love Lucy”

  1. Standards change. MIDNIGHT COWBOY was originally rated X. Nowadays, it’s just barely an R, and could be PG-13. Before the MPAA started rating things, the standards were completely different.

  2. By definition, any film prior to the rating system is pretty much a G (though they are listed as NR for “not rated”). The Hayes office and various state censors made sure that things were acceptable.

  3. A certain amount of sexual innuendo was always allowed (listen to the lyrics of “Honeymoon Hotel” from FOOTLIGHT PARADE, for instance). One of my favorite lines from that film was when a man asked a chorus girl to sit on his lap, and she said “I’m not a flagpole sitter.” (Though that may have been before the Hayes office tighted up because of Mae West.) Or take a look at MIRACLE OF MORGAN’S CREEK. It was thought that a veiled reference to sex would go over the heads of the children (and may have gone over the heads of the censors).

  4. Violence wasn’t as big a concern by censors as sex was. Also, violence in older films (pre-PSYCHO) was not as grapic – no sprays of blood, and often staged so that you never actually saw the act.

  5. The pediophilic subtext of “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” is a retroactive interpretation (and the song’s lyrics make it quite clear that the best thing is that they become older). It was not the intent of Lerner and Lowe (the movie was MGM, not Disney, BTW), and no one in the 50s would even think of it in that terms. It is meant innocently, and a careful reading of the lyrics doesn’t show much that can be interpreted as favoring pedophilia.


Read “Sundials” in the new issue of Aboriginal Science Fiction.
www.sff.net/people/rothman

Finally found this thread again. I did a search for the word “Gigi”. It gave me eight hits, none of which actually had the word Gigi, and missed this one.

Anyway, I know the pedo thing wasn’t meant originally. I still found it strange for a Disney movie to revolve around the wealthy upper classes’ decadence. More like “Dangerous Liasons” then “Mary Poppins”.

I don’t know about anybody else, but I think some Disney movies deserve a little more than a “G” rating. Sure, anybody can watch them, but you’d generally think of Disney as being for little kids. I know Snow White and Sleeping Beauty scared me when I first saw them.

I haven’t been to the movies to see Disney movies for about 6 years, but I’ve seen a few on the Disney channel when there was nothing else on. Even though they don’t bother me now, they look like they would scare little kids. The bad guys have some really creepy scenes. I was surprised when I saw the Hunchback of Notre Dame and the bad guy was singing about “hell fire” and basically wanting to have sex with the gypsy girl.


White Wolf

“Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.”

I forgot to add: Gigi was not a Disney movie. It was produced by MGM.


Read “Sundials” in the new issue of Aboriginal Science Fiction.
www.sff.net/people/rothman

I watched The Santa Clause last year starring Tim Allen… There was one curse word in the entire film. The word was damn and it was obviously overdubbed and stuck in the movie to give it a pg rating…
I am guessing that a pg rating would rope in more audience members