The History Behind Movie Ratings:Why do we have them?
Movies have always been a form of entertainment that has the power to influence and impact our society. As such, it is important to ensure that the content of movies is suitable for different audiences, and this is where the history of movie ratings comes in. Movie ratings have come a long way since their inception, and in this blog, we’ll explore the exciting history behind them.
The early days of movie ratings
Movie ratings were first introduced in the United States in 1930, as a response to the increasing concerns about the content of movies. The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA), also known as the Hays Office, was responsible for developing a set of guidelines to ensure that the content of movies was appropriate for different audiences.
Initially, these guidelines were voluntary, and movies were simply labeled as either “suitable for all” or “not suitable for children.” However, this system was not effective in controlling the content of movies, and there were still concerns about the inappropriate content that was being shown.
The introduction of the Production Code
In 1934, the MPPDA introduced the Production Code, also known as the Hays Code, which was a set of guidelines that all movie studios had to follow if they wanted their films to be released. The Production Code was much stricter than the previous guidelines, and it prohibited the depiction of certain topics, such as nudity, drug use, and interracial relationships.
The Production Code also established the Motion Picture Production Code Administration (MPPCA), which was responsible for enforcing the code and ensuring that movies complied with its guidelines. Movies that did not comply with the Production Code were not allowed to be released in theaters.
The introduction of the rating system
Despite the efforts of the Production Code, there were still concerns about the content of movies, and there was a growing sense that the code was outdated and too restrictive. In the 1960s, there were calls for a new rating system that would provide more information to audiences about the content of movies.
In 1968, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) introduced the current rating system, which is still in use today. The system consists of five ratings: G (general audiences), PG (parental guidance suggested), PG-13 (parents strongly cautioned), R (restricted), and NC-17 (no one under 17 admitted).
The rating system was designed to provide more information to audiences about the content of movies, and to give filmmakers more freedom to explore sensitive topics without running afoul of the law. The rating system also allowed for more nuanced distinctions between different types of content, and it gave audiences more choice in deciding what movies they wanted to see.
The impact of movie ratings
The impact of movie ratings has been significant. They have helped to shape the content of movies, and they have provided audiences with more information about the content of movies, allowing them to make more informed choices about what they watch.
Movie ratings have also been the subject of controversy, with some critics arguing that they are too restrictive and others arguing that they are not strict enough. Some filmmakers have pushed the boundaries of the rating system, producing movies that are deliberately provocative and pushing the limits of what is considered acceptable.
The history of movie ratings is a fascinating one, and it reflects the changing attitudes of society towards movies and their impact on our culture. From the early days of voluntary guidelines to the strict Production Code, and finally to the current rating system, movie ratings have evolved to meet the changing needs of audiences and filmmakers. While there are still debates about the appropriateness of certain content in movies, the rating system has undoubtedly played an important role in ensuring that movies are appropriate for different audiences and in providing audiences with more information about the content of movies.