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Motion picture rating systems

Motion picture rating systems are issued to give moviegoers an idea of the suitability of a movie for children and/or adults in terms of sex and violence. Ratings are often given in lieu of censorship.

Table of contents
1 United States
2 Canada
3 United Kingdom
4 Australia
5 New Zealand
6 Hong Kong
7 External links

United States

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

The ratings as they exist in 2003 are:

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


Movie ratings in Canada are mostly a provincial responsibility.

The Ontario Film Review Board uses the following system:

The British Columbia system is: The Canadian Home Video Rating System uses the following system for television:

United Kingdom

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:

For a history of the BBFC's classification system, see History of British Film Certificates.


The Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) uses the following system:

New Zealand

The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFCS) first divides films into two categories ; unrestricted and restricted. Unrestricted films are assigned a rating label. Restricted films are assigned a classification label. The common labels in each category are as follows:

Unrestricted films:

Restricted films:

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 -

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, packagings of Category III videotapes and laserdiscs and advertising materials of Category III films must be approved by the Film Censorship Authority (FCA) before they can be published or publicly displayed.

External links