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Motion picture rating systems


Motion picture rating systems


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A motion picture rating system is a method of giving moviegoers an idea of the suitability of a movie for children and/or adults in terms of issues such as sex, violence and profanity. A particular issued rating is called a certification. In some jurisdictions, they may impose legal obligations of refusing the entrance of children or minors to certain movies; in others, while there is no legal obligation to do so strictly speaking, movie theaters enforce the restrictions. Ratings are often given in lieu of censorship. Some people think that the ratings should be stronger. There is much debate in major countries as to whether ratings actually serve a valid function, or whether they simply entice young children to watch movies deemed inappropriate for them. This concept is known as the forbidden fruit phenomenon.

In some countries (e.g. Australia), an official government body decides on ratings; in other countries (e.g. the US), it is done by industry bodies with no official government status. However, in most countries, movies that are considered morally offensive have been banned or restricted.



The Institute of Film and Audiovisual Arts (Instituto de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales) through the Advisory Commission of Cinematographic Exhibition (Comisión Asesora de Exhibición Cinematográfica) uses the following system:

  • Suitable for children
  • ATP: Suitable for all ages
  • 13: Suitable for 13-year-olds and over
  • 16: Suitable for 16-year-olds and over
  • 18: Suitable for 18-year-olds and over
  • X: Sexually explicit


Australian Ratings Australian Ratings

The Office of Film and Literature Classification Generally controls all ratings used on motion pictures. The OFLC is government run and funded. Australian States have the power to reclassify or ban movies if they wish to. Television advertising for Films over the MA15+ Rating is restricted to certain times of the day. The OFLC will also not "cut" or edit a movie, and films are rarely banned.

The ratings board is comprised of mostly liberal members, therefore the OFLC has a strong influence on "Informing your Choices", rather than "censoring." Thus very detailed content descriptions are used. Film Advertising is accompanied by a Colour Coding and a Specific Shape for each classification level. This is accompanied by information such as Low, Medium or Strong Coarse Language, Nudity, Sexual References, Horror and so on. However this is generally unstandardised and very detailed information such as "Suicide Themes" or "Racist Themes" and so forth can be included. The E Rating is used on films to do with things such as gardening, hobbies and other things which do not have a need to be classified. The MA15+ rating is usually quite strictly upheld by cinemas (with ID needed for entry), however MA15+ movies can often be rented out or sold to under 15's from video stores. Movies holding an R rating or higher are very strictly controlled in who is allowed to view, buy or hire them.


  • E - Exempt From Classification
  • G - Suitable for All Ages.
  • PG - Parental Guidance is Recommended for Young Viewers.
  • M - Suitable for Mature Audiences


  • MA15+ - Suitable for Mature Audiences Only - Persons Under 15 Must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • R18+ - Restricted to Adults 18 Years and Over
  • X18+ - Restricted to Adults 18 Years and Over (ACT and NT Only) - Very Strong & Graphic Sex Scenes


  • RC - Refused Classification - Illegal to be Shown in Australia and its Territories.

It is illegal to exhibit, sell or import RC films. It is not however in general illegal to have them in one's possession without intent to sell. (Although some RC films, i.e. child pornography, are illegal to possess as well.)


  • KT - Kinderen Toegelaten (Kids allowed) - Suitable for all
  • KNT - Kinderen Niet Toegelaten (Kids not allowed) - Unsuitable for children


Movies are rated in Brazil by the DJCTQ, or Department of Justice, Rating, Titles and Qualification (Departamento de Justiça, Classificação, Títulos e Qualificação in Portuguese). No "parental guidance" ratings are used.

The DJCTQ uses the following system:

  • Livre (General): This rating means that the film can be watched by anyone, and doesn't have any inappropriate content.
  • 12 anos (12 years): This film is recommended for persons with or over 12 years of age. May contain little inappropriate language, sex insinuations, or mild violence.
  • 14 anos (14 years): This film is recommended for persons with or over 14 years of age. May contain inappropriate language, sex insinuations and/or mild sex with no nudity or the act being explicit shown, violence, mention to drug use.
  • 16 anos (16 years): This film is recommended for persons with or over 16 years of age. May contain strong language, sex insinuations and/or mild sex with or without mild nudity, strong violence, drug use.
  • 18 anos (18 years): This film is forbidden for people under 18 years of age. It may contain strong language, intense sex, strong nudity, strong violence, intense drug use. It is also used to rate porn films.

People under the minimum age intended by the rating can watch the movie accompanied by their parents, except for porn films. The films are rated by trained raters and more recently, the DJCTQ makes surveys to see if the people agree or not with the rating intended for a specific film.


Movie ratings in Canada are mostly a provincial responsibility, and each province will have its own legislation regarding exhibition and admission. There are currently six film classification offices rating movies in Canada, each an agency of a provincial government:

British Columbia Film Classification Office - also provides ratings for Saskatchewan
Alberta Film Ratings
Manitoba Film Classification Board
Ontario Film Review Board
Régie du cinéma Québec
Maritime Film Classification Board - run by the Nova Scotia Alcohol & Gaming Authority, it provides ratings for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island

The province of Saskatchewan has a Film and Video Classification Board, but it uses ratings provided by British Columbia. Newfoundland has no classification office or system. A source notes that "Newfoundland theatres and video store operators are not required by legislation to use ratings, many theatres in Newfoundland use the classifications assigned by the Maritime Film Board in Nova Scotia". Of the three Canadian territories, Yukon uses the BC ratings, while Nunavut and the Northwest Territories use Alberta ratings.

Canadian ratings outside Quebec

General Canadian Ratings. General Canadian Ratings.

In the past there were a wide range of rating categories and practices in the various provinces. However, the five rating systems outside Quebec now all use categories and logos derived from the Canadian Home Video Rating System. In general, the categories are:

  • G - General - Suitable for viewing by all ages.
  • PG - Parental Guidance
  • 14A - Suitable for viewing by persons 14 years of age or older. Persons under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • 18A - Suitable for viewing by persons 18 years of age or older. Persons under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • R - Restricted - Admittance restricted to persons 18 years of age or older.
  • A - Adult - Admittance restricted to persons 18 years of age or older. Contains predominantly sexually explicit activity.

Alberta and British Columbia adopted this system in 1997. Manitoba and Ontario adopted it in 2003. Nova Scotia adopted it in April 2005.

There is also a common stock of Information Pieces ("Frightening Scenes", "Coarse Language", etc), although boards may have additional qualifiers.

Each board is responsible for assigning a rating to films, and while most movies will likely obtain the same rating, there can be differences. For instance, Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers was rated R in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario but only 18A in British Columbia and 16+ in Quebec (it was NC-17 in the USA). Blade: Trinity received a 14A in British Columbia and an 18A in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. Also, the NC-17 rated Bad Education received the relatively mild 13+ in Quebec and 14 in Nova Scotia (with the rest of Canada rating it 18A and R).

Since Canada receives much American advertising concerning film ratings, it should be noted that the American MPAA "R" rating is similar to the Canadian "18A" category (under-18s admitted with adult accompaniment). The Canadian "R" category would be similar to the American NC-17 rating.

For home video purposes, a single Canadian Home Video Rating System rating consisting of an average of the participating provincial ratings is displayed on retail packages, although various provinces may have rules on display and sale, especially for the R and A categories.

Quebec system

Quebec Ratings. Quebec Ratings.

In Quebec the Régie du Cinéma rates films and videos.

  • G. (Visa général) -- May be viewed, rented or purchased by persons of all ages. A classification of "Visa général" means that the film so classified is unlikely to disturb an average viewer. It in no way indicates that the film is considered to be "suitable" for children. Only a "for children" notice would indicate that such a film would be appropriate for younger viewers.
  • 13+. (13 ans+) -- May be viewed, rented or purchased by persons 13 years of age or over. Children 12 years of age and under may be admitted to a public showing of the film, but only if accompanied by an adult aged 16 or older. When rating a film as 13+, the examiners consider: certain scenes of violence (senseless destruction, physical harm, graphic violence, etc.); the representation of sexuality (extremely detailed intimate scenes, sexual relationships promoting dominance or disturbing situations, etc.); certain themes (suicide, family break-ups, mental instability, marginal behaviour, etc.).
  • 16+. (16 ans+) -- May be viewed, rented or purchased by persons 16 years of age or over. These films may contain complex sequences, including violent or erotic elements, as well as certain problematic situations encountered by adults. However, the examiners are required to conduct a rigorous evaluation when considering the following; detailed and complacent images of unwarranted or sustained violence; particularly troubling images; the manner in which sexuality is depicted.
  • 18+. (18 ans+) -- May be viewed, rented or purchased by persons 18 years of age or over. Films reserved for adults most often deal primarily with the representation of explicit sexual encounters. They may also be extremely violent, showing scenes of hyperrealistic cruelty, torture and horror.

The ratings are sometimes accompanied by indications which specify the dominant characteristic of the film. These may prove quite useful when the classification alone does not provide sufficient information.

For children, Associated with a "Visa général" rating, this indication means that the film is particularly suitable for young children.

Not suitable for young children, Associated with a "Visa général" rating, this indication warns that the film may be disturbing to children under eight years of age.

Coarse language, Accompanies a rating of "13 years and over," "16 years and over", or "18 years and over." This indication means that the film contains coarse or obscene language.

Eroticism, Accompanies a rating of "13 years and over", "16 years and over", or "18 years and over." This indication specifies that the film contains enough visual elements pertaining to sexuality to make this one of its dominant characteristics.

Violence, Accompanies a rating of "13 years and over", "16 years and over", or "18 years and over." This indication means that violence is one of the dominant aspects of the film.

Horror, Accompanies a rating of "13 years and over", "16 years and over", or "18 years and over." This indication warns that the film is strongly characterized by scenes aimed at provoking disgust, repulsion or fear, such as those showing mutilated bodies.

Explicit sexuality, Only accompanies the classification of "18 years and over." This indication signifies that the film essentially contains scenes of real and explicit sexual activity. In the retail video industry, the presence of this indication requires the storeowner to place the film in a separate adults only room or the entire store must be off limits to minors e.g. a sex shop.


The Council of Cinematographic Classification (Consejo de Calificación Cinematográfica) uses the following system:

  • TE - All audiences
  • 7 - Inappropriate for children under 7
  • 14 - Inappropriate for children under 14
  • 18 - Suitable for people aged 18 and over


  • 18/S - Suitable for people aged 18 and over with sexually explicit content. This indication signifies that the film essentially contains scenes of real and explicit sexual activity. Replaces the old X rating.
  • 18/V - Suitable for people aged 18 and over with extreme violence


As of June 22, 2005, the Ministry of Culture issued its new rating system. The classifications are:

  • T: for general audiences.
  • 7: for movies suitable for people aged 7 and above.
  • 12: for movies suitable for people aged 12 and above.
  • 15: for movies suitable for people aged 15 and above.
  • 18: for movies suitable for people aged 18 and above.
  • X: for pornographic movies.


The Media Council for Children and Young People uses the following classifications.

  • A Approval of the film for general admittance.
  • 7 Approval of the film for general admittance, but not recommended for children under the age of 7.
  • 11 Approval of the film for admittance of children from the age of 11.
  • 15 Approval of the film for admittance of children from the age of 15.

Children who have turned 7 are allowed admission to all films if accompanied by an adult (a person turned 18). Consequently it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their children do not watch violent and hard-core pornographic films.

Films accessible to the public do not have to be classified by the Media Council but consequently must be labeled as 15 -Approval of the film for admittance of children from the age of 15 – no matter the harmlessness of the film.


The Finnish Board of Film Classification has a film classification system under which films are classified into one of the following categories:

  • S - for everyone
  • K-7 - for people aged 7 years and above
  • K-11 - for people aged 11 years and above
  • K-15 - for people aged 15 years and above
  • K-18 - for people aged 18 years and above
  • KK - Banned due to criminal content such as child pornography or authentic violence as entertainment.

A person two years younger than the given rating is permitted to see a film in a movie theater when accompanied by an adult. This rule does not apply to the K-18 rating.

Only material intended to be accessible to minors (those below 18 years of age) is subject to mandatory inspection. A proper notification is sufficient for adult material. However, the board has the right to inspect material suspected of violating laws or material which was not properly notified.


Prior to showing in theaters, a license must be obtained from the Ministry of Culture. Upon the advice of the commission pertaining to cinema movies, the minister decides either not to grant the license (a very rare occurrence), or to grant a license among the 6 following:

  • U valid for all audiences;
  • -12 unsuitable for minors under 12 or forbidden in cinemas for under 12s;
  • -16 unsuitable for minors under 16 or forbidden in cinemas for under 16s;
  • -18 unsuitable for minors under 18 or forbidden in cinemas for under 18s.

In practice, the ministry always follows the decision of the commission.

In addition, the movie may be considered "pornographic or inciting to violence" (colloquially referred to as "X-rated"). In this case, it bears high taxation and may only be shown in specific theaters, which are now few in France. This classification is not used for merely violent movies, or movies containing mere erotic scenes.

Classifications, as all administrative decisions, may be appealed before the courts (Conseil d'État at litigation). A highly publicized example of this is the movie Baise-moi, containing scenes of graphic sex and violence; it was initially not rated "pornographic or inciting to violence", but associations sued and obtained the "X classification".

Related link: movie classifications (in French)


The Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft (Voluntary Self-Control of the Film Business, FSK) has a film classification system under which films are classified into one of the following categories -

  • Freigegeben ohne Altersbeschränkung (FSK o.A.): for all ages
  • FSK 6: no one under 6 years admitted
  • FSK 12: people 12 or older admitted, children between 6 and 11 only when accompanied by parent or legal guardian
  • FSK 16: people 16 or older admitted
  • FSK 18: only adults (18 or older) admitted. Replaced by Keine Jugendfreigabe.
  • Keine Jugendfreigabe: "no youth admitted", only adults.
  • SPIO/JK: checked for possible violation against applicable law. Not rated by the FSK. It's legal to sell such a title to a person which is 18 or older.

All movies not submitted to the FSK including movies classified SPIO/JK may additionally be put on the German "list of youth-endangering media" if considered endangering to youth by the federal institute in charge of such listing. This means a ban on all advertising, import, export, or mailing of such material; anything that could make the mere existence of such a movie known to a minor is basically illegal.

Child pornography is altogether illegal to trade or to own. Approximately 300 extremely violent films, such as the first and the second part of Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead, have been confiscated from dealers and distributors. However, all copies of such confiscated versions owned for personal use are legal to possess for adults. As with ratings in other countries, movies may be re-edited to achieve lower ratings, if a lower rating is preferred by the distributor. Sometimes the FSK refuses to rate movies even in the highest rating Keine Jugendfreigabe, mostly due to excessive violence. This means that even no youth admitted rated movies may be cut as compared to foreign releases. FSK rated movies are exempt from all blacklisting measures of the government. Since foreign versions of movies are always considered unrated, even if the German release of the same movie has been rated no age limit, mail-ordering DVDs from outside the European Union will frequently get them confiscated by customs officials, no matter how harmless the content.

Hong Kong

The Film Censorship Authority in Hong Kong has a film classification system under which films are classified into one of the following categories -

  • I suitable for all ages
  • IIA not suitable for children
  • IIB not suitable for young persons and children
  • III for persons aged 18 or above only

While Categories I, IIA and IIB are advisory in nature, the age restriction (18 or above) for Category III films is strictly enforced.

Apart from films, packaging of Category III videotapes and laser discs and advertising materials of Category III films must be approved by the Film Censorship Authority (FCA) before they can be published or publicly displayed. Category III films generally contain sexually explicit or pornographic content.


Icelandic movie rating labels

Kvikmyndaskoðun Íslands was started in 1932. Since 1997 the board does not edit movies. Movies are classified with the following ratings

  • L: Suitable for all
  • LH: Not suitable for very young viewers (video only)
  • 10: Passed only for persons 10 and over (theatrical only)
  • 12: Passed only for persons 12 and over
  • 14: Passed only for persons 14 and over (theatrical only)
  • 16: Passed only for persons 16 and over
  • AB: Banned


In India, the Indian Film Censor Board classifies films into three categories:

  • U — Universal: Suitable for all ages
  • U/A — Universal with adult/parent guidance. Unsuitable for those under 12.
  • A — Adult: Can be viewed only by those above 18


Motion pictures shown in Indonesia must undergo reviewing by the Indonesian Film Censor Board (Lembaga Sensor Film). (Lembaga Sensor Film). Other than issuing certificates, the LSF also reviews and issues permits for film-related advertising, such as movie trailers and posters. LSF has the authority to cut scenes from films. Certificates are issued based on the following categories:

  • SU - 'Semua Umur' - All/General
  • BO - 'Bimbingan Orangtua' - Parental Guidance
  • R - 'Remaja' - Teen
  • D - 'Dewasa' - Mature


The Irish Film Censor's Office (IFCO) under which theatrical films are placed into one of the following categories:

  • G - 'General' - Suitable for viewing by anyone.
  • PG - 'Parental Guidance' - Parental guidance is recommended for children under the age of 12.
  • 12A - 'Parent supervision required for children under 12' - A person over 18 years of age must accompany a child under the age of 12 when seeing a film theatrically. This is very similar to the 12A certificate that the BBFC introduced in August 2002.
  • 15A - 'Parent supervision required for children under 15' - A much stronger warning that, although the film may be unsuitable for a child under the age of 15 watching alone, a child with an adult may be admitted to the film's screening.
  • 16 - Films classified in this category are considered to be suitable for persons of sixteen or over. Children under this age cannot be admitted to screenings. Violent content and depiction of violence may be stronger than in films designated 15A.
  • 18 - 'Adults only' - The film is suitable only for adults. A person under this age will not be admitted. 9 Songs in October 2004 became the first film featuring explicit sex scenes to receive a certificate.

Films without certification are not ipso facto banned and have been shown at film festivals and arthouse clubs such as the Irish Film Institute.

For video releases (VHS and DVD), categories G, PG and 18 share the same meanings as above, however, there is no 16, and categories 12 and 15 are mandatory, not advisory.


  • T - all admitted (equivalent to the MPAA G or BBFC U)
  • VM14 - no one under the age of 14 admitted
  • VM18 - no one under the age of 18 admitted


Eirin has a film classification system under which films are classified into one of the following categories:

  • General: General audience, all ages admitted. Applied to The Castle of Cagliostro in 2000 and Plot of the Fuma Clan in 2003, both Lupin III movies or OVAs themselves.
  • PG-12: Some material may be inappropriate for children under the age of 12. Parental or adult accompaniment recommended. This has been applied to the majority of Lupin III movies.
  • R-15: No one under 15 admitted. The film contains adult themes, strong language, violence, and/or sex, etc. which is inappropriate for people under 15. Applied to all movies in the Dollars Trilogy by Sergio Leone.
  • R-18: No one under 18 admitted. The film contains adult themes, detailed violence, explicit sex, sexual violence, and/or drug use, etc. which are unsuitable for people under 18.


In Malaysia, the Ministry of Information (Kementerian Penerangan Malaysia) ruled out movie ratings either for all persons or for persons above 18. The rating system specifies movies restricted for persons below 18. However, in movies with excessive scenes, the excessive scenes will be cut off the film, or the motion picture itself (eg. 'Daredevil') will be banned in Malaysia.

  • U (Umum) (General in Malay Language) - General viewing for all ages.
  • 18SG - Movies for persons above 18 with non-excessive violent/horrifying scenes.
  • 18SX - Movies for persons above 18 with non-excessive sex scenes or drug use.
  • 18PA - Movies for persons above 18 with religious/political/counter-culture/mature thematic elements.
  • 18PL - Movies for persons above 18 with the combination of two or more elements (18SG, 18SX or 18PA).


The General Directorate of Radio, Television and Cinematography (in Spanish, Dirección General de Radio, Televisión y Cinematografía, or RTC[1]) is the issuer of ratings for television programs (although only one channel in Mexico explicitly shows the classification on each program, channel 22 Cultural Television) and motion pictures. The RTC is a dependency of the Department of State (Secretaría de Gobernación[2]. It has its own classification system, as follows:

  • AA Informative-only rating: Specially suited for the interests of children under 7. No (or minimum) violence, no drug nor sexual content (may include affective and friendly scenes) under this rating. (e.g., cartoons).
  • A Informative-only rating: General Audience. Suited for all audience, but not in the special interest of children under 7. Minimum or no violence, sexual or drug use content. Suited for children under 12.
  • B Informative-only rating: For teenagers 12 or over. Parental guidance suggested. Minimum and specifically motivated non extreme violence, may contain suggestive sexual conducts, but non-explicit content. Nudity might be present, but not in an erotic or degrading way. Drug use is present, but not during consumption. And drugs are treated with negative consequences. Dirty language might be present, but not extreme verbal violence.
  • B-15 Informative-only rating: For teenagers 15 or over. More explicit content than B rating, but no extreme violence, explicit sexual and drug conducts, and non extreme verbal violence. Drug use must not be propitiated.
  • C Restrictive rating: For adults over 18. High degree of violence (including cruelty), explicit sex, drug use and addictive content. Language is needed for the narrative purposes.
  • D Restrictive rating: Adult-only movies. Commonly known as X-rated. Most or unique content is: explicit sex, profanity or high degree of violence.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the Kijkwijzer system is used.


  • AL Suitable for all ages.
  • 6 Not recommended for viewers younger than 6 years. Replaced the older MG6, where parental guidance was recommended for viewers younger than 6 years.
  • 9 Special rating, first used for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Not recommended for viewers younger than 9 years, because of very frightening elements.
  • 12 Not recommended for viewers younger than 12 years.


  • 16 Movie shops/cinemas aren't allowed to show these movies to people younger than 16 years.

Mostly, these icons are used along with other symbols, displaying if a movie contains violence, sexual content, frightening scenes, discriminating language, drug use, or coarse language.

New Zealand

The Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 Act gives the Office of Film and Literature Classification (New Zealand) the power to classify publications into three categories: unrestricted, restricted, and "objectionable" or banned. Unrestricted films are assigned a green or yellow rating label. Restricted films are assigned a red classification label. The common labels in each category are as follows:

Unrestricted films:

  • G Suitable for all.
  • PG Parental guidance recommended for younger viewers.
  • M Mature; Suitable for people 16 years or older. Parental decision whether to let children watch a particular film

Restricted films:

  • R13 Restricted to 13 year-olds and older
  • R15 Restricted to 15 year-olds and older
  • R16 Restricted to 16 year-olds and older
  • R18 Restricted to 18 year-olds and older
  • R A special restriction (details of the restriction noted to the right of the label). Equivalent to the old 'RP' classification.

All films, videos, DVDs, and computer games with restricted content, must carry a label before being offered for supply or exhibited to the public.

Some films like Irreversible are banned on video but not banned for cinema or film festivals.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification's homepage:


In Norway all movies have to be approved by Medietilsynet (The Norwegian Media Authority) (formerly Filmtilsynet), a government agency, to be exhibited commercially.

Movies are rated using the following classifications:

  • Alle (all ages)
  • 7
  • 11
  • 15
  • 18

Films rated 7, 11 or 15 may also be seen by children accompanied by a parent or adult guardian if the child has turned 4, 8 or 12 years, respectively. In addition to the ratings, the board indicates if a movie is suitable for children, families, youths or adults. A film may be given a rating even though it is intended for an older age group, e.g. an "A" film might be intended for adults if it does not contain material unsuitable for young children.

The board also indicates if a rating is "hard". A "hard" 11/15 rating is usually indicated by the text "not advised for children/youths under 11/15" ("frarådes barn/ungdom under 11/15 år"), however this does not affect if children under the given age are allowed to see the film if accompanied. In 2000 a Board of Appeal was established. Prior to this the ratings board could choose to reclassify a film.

Movie ratings database:


  • G(P) - General patronage
  • PG-13 - Parental guidance for children under 13
  • R-13 - Restricted to persons 13 years of age and older
  • R-18 - Restricted to persons 18 years of age and older
  • X - Not for public viewing


Movies are rated in Portugal by the Comissão de Classificação de Espectáculos of the Ministry of Culture. This organization also rates Theater, other types of shows like circus, music concerts, Opera and Dance shows. It is also responsible for the rating of Video Releases.

Movies are rated using the following classifications:

  • M/4 For persons of age 4 and above. Content with this rating should be of short duration and easy understandment and it should not provoke fear and/or collide with the sense of fantasy of this age.
  • M/6 For persons of age 6 and above.
  • M/12 For persons of age 12 and above. This rating is for content that due to its length and complexity, can provoke in younger viewers fatigue and psychiatric trauma. Younger viewers must be accompanied by an adult.
  • M/16 For persons of age 16 and above. This rating is for content that explores, in excessive terms, aspects of sexuality, physical and psychic violence. Younger viewers must be accompanied by an adult.
  • M/18 For persons of age 18 and above. This rating is for content of pornographic nature and/or that explores pathological forms of physical and psychic violence. Younger viewers must be accompanied by an adult, although if they are too young, the person responsible for admission into movie theaters can deny entrance.

Special classifications

These classifications can be added to the previous ones:

  • Pornographic (M/18-P) Generic characteristics: content is considered pornographic if it contains: a) exploitation of situations to try to arouse the spectator; b) low aesthetic quality. Specific characteristics: the first level (hardcore: content that presents a very thorough demonstration of real sexual acts being perpetrated, with the exhibition of genitalia); the second level (softcore: content that presents a very insistent and thorough demonstration of simulated sexual acts).
  • Quality (M/4-Q, M/6-Q, M/12-Q, M/16-Q, M/18-Q) Content that, due to its artistic, thematic, educational and technical aspects deserve this attribute.


The Media Development Authority revised the film ratings in Singapore on March 29, 2004. The new film ratings are below.

  • G General
  • PG Parental Guidance
  • NC16 No Children under 16, for persons 16 years and above
  • M18 Mature 18, for persons 18 years and above
  • R21 Restricted 21, for persons 21 years and above

G and PG generally has no restrictions on age and most audiences are admitted. Regulation on the presence of adults for PG rated shows are advised but not strictly enforced. (The NC16 rating was issued with the release of Saving Private Ryan, which couldn't be passed as a PG film due to the violence present in the film, but lacked an adult theme to be rated R(A). Ratings from 1998 are different than those above. See below.)

NC16, M18 and R21 groups are restricted to only persons of the specified age or above of the particular group. No persons under the specified age would be admitted as the identity cards have to be checked before the person is allowed to enter the cinema. Once a movie is rated R21, the movie will be banned from DVD or VCD sales.

Before 29 March 2004, these were the film ratings for all movies.

  • G General
  • PG Parental Guidance
  • NC16 No Children under 16 years old
  • R(A) Restricted (Artistic), restricted to persons 21 years and above.

South Africa

  • A : Suitable for all
  • G : Parental guidance
  • 10 : Not suitable for children under the age of 10 years
  • 13 : Not suitable for children under the age of 13 years
  • 16 : Not suitable for children under the age of 16 years
  • 18 : Not suitable for persons under the age of 18 years

South Korea

  • All - Suitable for all audiences
  • 7 - Suitable for audiences 7 and over
  • 12 - Suitable for audiences 12 and over
  • 15 - Suitable for audiences 15 and over
  • 18 - Suitable for audiences 18 and over


The Ministry of Culture (Ministerio de Cultura) troughout the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales) rates the films and video releases.

  • TP - Suitable for all ages
  • 7 - Suitable for those aged 7 and over
  • 13 - Suitable for those aged 13 and over
  • 15 - Suitable for those aged 15 and over (available only in some autonomous communities)
  • 16 - Suitable for those aged 16 and over (available only in some autonomous communities)
  • 18 - Suitable for those aged 18 and over
  • X - Pornography

Spain is subdivided in 17 autonomous communities, each with their own ratings.


Statens biografbyrå (SBB) (the Swedish National Board of Film Censors) reviews the content of all films or pre-recorded video recordings (videograms) prior to showing at a public gathering or entertainment (subject to some exceptions), in accordance with law SFS 1990:886. It is a criminal offense to hire or sell videos containing unlawful depictions of violence, and to hire out or sell videos depicting realistic violence to children below the age of 15.

The following categories are used by the SBB:

  • Suitable for all ages
  • 7 years Suitable for children of at least 7 years of age. Younger children are not admitted unless accompanied by an adult 18 or older.
  • 11 years Suitable for children of at least 11 years of age. Children of at least 7 years of age are admitted if accompanied by an adult 18 or older.
  • 15 years No one under 15 years of age admitted.

The Board's home page:


  • Btl - Universal. Suitable for all
  • 7 - No one under the age of 7 admitted
  • 12 - No one under the age of 12 admitted
  • 16 - No one under the age of 16 admitted
  • 18 - No one under the age of 18 admitted

Switzerland is split into 23 cantons, each with their own ratings. The entries above are for the cantons of Vaud and Geneva. The cantons of Switzerland are as follows:

Aargau, Appenzell, Basel, Bern, Fribourg, Genève, Glarus, Grischun, Jura, Luzern, Neuchâtel, Sangt-Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Unterwalden, Uri, Valais, Vaud, Zug and Zürich.


The Government Information Office of the Republic of China administering Taiwan divides licensed films into one of the following four categories pursuant to its issued Regulations Governing the Classification of Motion Pictures of the Republic of China (電影片分級處理辦法 in traditional Chinese):

  • General audiences category abbreviated as "G" (普遍級(普)) - General audiences may all view.
  • Protected category abbreviated as "P" (保護級(護)) - Children under 6 years old must not view. Children aged at least 6 but less than 12 require guidance of accompanying parents, teachers, or adult relatives to view.
  • Parental guidance category abbreviated as "PG" (輔導級(輔)) - Children under 12 years old must not view. People aged at least 12 but less than 18 require attentive guidance of parents or teachers to view.
  • Restricted category abbreviated as "R" (限制級(限)) - People under 18 years old must not view.

An advertisement of a film uses a single Chinese character surrounded by a square to show what category it is. English abbreviations used here are for information only as they are not used in Taiwan.

Related and official link: Classifications of movies (in traditional Chinese)

United Kingdom

UK movie rating certificates. UK movie rating certificates.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) rates both motion pictures and videos. Local authorities are responsible for accepting and enforcing the BBFC's recommended ratings for cinema showings, whereas those for videos are legally binding.

The current BBFC system is:

  • Uc (Universal Children) Suitable for all but especially for young children (video only).
  • U (Universal) Suitable for all.
  • PG All ages admitted, but Parental Guidance is recommended. It is the board's policy that movies rated "PG" should not disturb a child of about 8 years of age or older; however, "parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset young or more sensitive children."
  • 12A/12 No one under 12 years of age may see a "12A" film (unless accompanied by an adult) in a cinema or rent or buy a "12" video. "12A" was introduced in 2002, and was first used for Spiderman.
  • 15 No one under 15 years of age may see a "15" film or rent or buy a "15" video.
  • 18 Suitable only for adults. No one under 18 years of age may see an "18" film or rent or buy an "18" video.
  • R18 To be supplied only in licensed sex shops or cinemas to adults of not less than 18 years of age.

Videos deemed by their distributors to be exempt under the Video Recordings Act 1984 (typically specialist content such as sporting highlights, fitness videos, nature films, etc.) may bear the mark E (for exempt), though this is not a rating and the BBFC does not maintain a symbol.

United States

U.S. movie rating labels U.S. movie rating labels

In the United States, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), through the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) issues ratings for movies. The system was instituted in 1968 and is voluntary; however, most movie theater chains will not show unrated domestic films.

The ratings as they exist in 2006 are:

  • G - General Audience - All ages admitted.
  • PG - Parental guidance suggested - Some material may not be suitable for young children.
  • PG-13 - Parents strongly cautioned - Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
  • R - Restricted - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
  • NC-17 - No one 17 and under admitted (18 and older ONLY)
  • NR or Not Rated - Not an MPAA rating. Used for independent or foreign films that are in limited release and have not been submitted to the MPAA for a rating classification. Also used by a film that is soon to be released and has trailers out for promotional purposes, but has not yet received a final rating. Advertisements for films with a pending rating contain the notice "This film is not yet rated". Most films released before 1968 carry this policy.

For history and more details, see MPAA film rating system.

CARA uses a demographically-balanced board of parents, who determine what the rating of a film should be.

External links

  • List of certificates recorded in the IMDb database. Note that while extensive, this list is not exhaustive, and that it mixes current and old rating systems and does not specify which is which, thus making it difficult to use.
  • IMDb's information about rating systems from all over the world.
  • Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification
  • Denmark Medieraadet for Born og Unge (The Media Council for Children and Young People).
  • Finland Valtion Elokuvatarkastamo.
  • France Centre Nationale de la Cinematographie.
  • Germany Spitzenorganisation der Filmwirtschaft e.V (SPIO).
  • Iceland Kvikmyndaskodun.
  • Irish Film Censor's Office.
  • Japan Administration Commission of Motion Picture Code of Ethics.
  • USA Motion Picture Association of America.
  • Netherlands Kijkwijzer (and Nicam).
  • New Zealand Office of Film & Literature Classification.
  • Norwweigian Media Authority.
  • Sweden Statens Biografbyra (SBB).
  • South African Film and Publications Board.

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Movies, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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