Movie Ratings

I have read the ratings descriptions but what I am having a difficult time comprehending is what “Parental Guidance” means under family movie watching conditions. What are we expected to do exactly to perform this guidance :confused:

I would really appreciate a lucid explanation from parents and practical suggestions.

It means there might be some boobies on screen, and there will be some cussing. If you don’t want your kids to see boobies and hear cussing, you shouldn’t let them watch.

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Hal Briston - MPSIMS Moderator

If you are talking about the American system, it’s terrible and useless. I’d ignore it entirely.

Instead, why don’t you use Kids-In-Mind? They rank every movie on Sex and Nudity, Violence, and Language.

So you’re saying that guidance means we have to watch the movie first and then decide if should let the children watch? Because if we watch it together for the first time the cat will be out of the bag.

What I wanted to say but didn’t edit my post in time:

Do you mean the word “guidance” suggests we should preview the movie; then decide if we should let our children watch it? Because if we watch it together for the first time the cat will be out of the bag. I interpreted “guidance” as resolving issues/problems in progress, not screening movies. If parents were to preview all the movies first then why would we need a rating system?

It means you should watch the movie with your kids, so as to put into context the things they are seeing and hearing.

“He used a bad word. We don’t use that word in this house, do we?”

Or, like my Dad explained to me after we’d watched Smokey and the Bandit together on HBO: “If I hear you using that kind of language around your mother, you’ll be sorry.”

Yeah, that’s exactly what we we want, parents sitting next to us in the theater talking to their kids about boobs and cuss words during the movie.

Well, it’s entirely possible to have that discussion after the movie.

When the MPAA ratings were introduced in 1968, the letters were G, M (for Mature), R and X. M did carry the description “Suggested for mature audiences; parental discretion advised.” In 1970 M was changed to GP, with the official tagline “All ages admitted, parental guidance suggested.” (I suppose placing the G first was a way of associating the rating more with G than with R, but I don’t have any evidence to verify that.) PG was adopted in 1972.

The idea behind “parental guidance” was probably that parents would read newspaper and magazine reviews of a film to get an idea of its content, or perhaps use the recommendations of religious periodicals that reviewed films. GP/PG, at this point, was still given much more frequently to critically respected movies that weren’t just intended for families/kids–for example, Cabaret, The Sting and Young Frankenstein were all PG. Admittedly, some PGs back then had content more equivalent to a PG-13 today, since that rating didn’t come about until 1984. And the grey area between G and R was perhaps more amenable to parental guidance before PG-13.