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Movie Ratings Voluntary

Dear Dr. Dave & Dr. Dee,

How many cuss words can a movie have before the rating changes from PG-13 to R? We recently watched a movie with our 10 year old that I found offensive, and it was rated PG-13, but should have been R.


Rating rant

Dear Rating rant,

The criteria for receiving a PG-13 or R rating are not solely based on the number of curse words in the movie. Although, obviously, extreme cursing would result in the movie getting an "R" rating. The rating system provides an indication of the film�s language (profanity), violence, and sexual content or nudity.

The movie rating system is a voluntary system sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America.

In brief, the five rating categories by the MPAA:

1. G, General Audiences: All Ages Admitted.

Some snippets of language may go beyond polite conversation but they are common everyday expressions. No stronger words are present in G-rated motion pictures. Depictions of violence are minimal. No nudity, sex scenes or drug use are present in the motion picture.

2. PG, Parental Guidance Suggested: Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children.

There may be some profanity and some depictions of violence or brief nudity. But these elements are not deemed so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated motion picture.

3. PG-13, Parents Strongly Cautioned: Some Material May Be Inappropriate for Children Under 13.

A PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category.

4. R, Restricted: Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian.

An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously.

5. NC-17, No One 17 and Under Admitted.

An NC-17 rating can be based on violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other element that most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children.

For more information about movie ratings, go to