What Does Rated-R Mean? – Here’s Everything About Movie Ratings

Last Updated on July 22, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

Rated-R is a film rating classification used by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in the United States. It indicates that the movie is intended for adult audiences, and children under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The film may contain strong language, violence, sexual content, or other mature themes.

What are Rated-R Movies?

Rated-R movies are films that have been assigned the “R” rating by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in the United States. The “R” rating means that the movie is restricted and intended for adult audiences. Children under 17 are not permitted to watch these movies without a parent or guardian accompanying them due to the presence of strong language, violence, sexual content, or other mature themes. The rating is a way to inform audiences about the content of the film and to guide parents and guardians in making appropriate viewing decisions for young audiences.

What Is The Aim Of Film Rating?

What Is The Aim Of Film Rating

Movie rating helps parents know in advance the content of a film and decide what is suitable for children of different ages. Since parents understand their individual kids’ sensibilities and sensitivities, the rating will help them pick movies. A board of parents assigns the ratings according to the content of the performances. 

Since film ratings do not censor, approve, or disapprove movies, the critics and audiences do. The board looks at the factors that other parents would consider when judging whether a movie is appropriate for their kids. These factors include violence, nudity, language, sex, and abusing drugs.

What Are The Different Guides To Movie Ratings?

There are different ratings for movies and their meanings. The table below is a summary of these ratings.


G (General Audiences)

Suitable for all ages since it does not contain sex, nudity, strong language, or violence

PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

The movie may contain content unsuitable for children. Parents should check the movie before allowing their kids to watch it. 

PG – 13 (Parents Cautioned Strongly)

The movie may contain some materials that are not suitable for children below 13 years. It may include nudity, theme, sensuality, violence, or adult activity.

R (Restricted for Children Under 17 years)

Children under 17 years of age need to be in the company of an adult guardian or parent. The movie contains adult material, nudity, violence, sex, or drug abuse. 

NC – 17 (No One Under 17 Can be Admitted)

No child below 17 should be allowed into the movie theater. Although it is not ‘pornographic’ or ‘obscene,’ the content is only suitable for an adult audience. 

How Would You Know The Type Of Materials In A Movie?

Apart from G-rated movies (they are deemed suitable for every age group), a film rating will give brief explanatory phrases specific to the movie and its ranking. Parents get information from these descriptions on what is contained in the movie. They can then decide on the suitability of the content according to their children’s sensitivity and maturity level. 

To determine the type of materials used in a movie, there are several ways to gather this information. Here are some methods to help identify the materials in movie production:

Researching production notes and interviews:

  • Filmmakers often discuss the materials and techniques used in their films during interviews or in production notes. These sources can provide valuable insights into the materials chosen for specific props, costumes, and set designs.
  • Look for interviews or articles with the production designer, costume designer, or prop master, as they are typically involved in selecting and sourcing materials for the movie.

Analyzing behind-the-scenes footage and documentaries:

  • Behind-the-scenes footage and documentaries often showcase the creation and construction of sets, props, and costumes. Pay attention to the materials visible in these videos to get a better understanding of the choices made by the production team.
  • Look for close-ups of props, detailed shots of costumes, or shots of the set construction process to identify the materials used.

Examining the visual aesthetic of the movie:

  • Carefully observe the visual style of the movie, including the texture, color, and overall appearance of props and costumes. This can provide clues about the materials used.
  • Look for distinct characteristics such as the glossy finish of plastic, the matte appearance of wood, or the metallic shine of metal. These visual cues can help determine the type of materials employed.

Consulting production credits and industry resources:

  • Reviewing the credits at the end of the movie can provide information about the professionals involved in different departments. Pay attention to the costume and production design credits, as they often list specific materials used.
  • Additionally, industry resources like trade publications or online databases may provide information on the materials commonly used in film production. These sources can offer insights into trends and techniques employed by filmmakers.

Reaching out to the movie’s production team:

  • If you have specific questions about the materials used in a movie, consider reaching out to the production team directly. This can be done through social media platforms or by contacting the production company.
  • While not every inquiry may receive a response, some filmmakers and crew members may be willing to share information about the materials and techniques used in their work.

What Are The Effects Of Watching R-Rated Movies?

According to some counselors, children who watch R-rated performances are likely to try alcohol early. These movies can glorify alcohol use, and the kids may want to take it to experience its effect. 

If a child experiences abuse or violence at home, watching such movies may perpetuate and reinforce what they see in their everyday life. These children will tend to fight, kick, and hit others since they think it is the order of life. While some parents may have no problem taking their children with them to see the performances, others may feel concerned. 

Parents who approve of their children watching R-rated movies need to help them filter adult and violent content. They should tell their kids how to react to some materials in the movie and explain why the actors had to do what they did. The parents need to monitor what the kids are watching and discuss it with them to process the content. 

What Are Some Symptoms Of Watching Violent Content?

What Are Some Symptoms Of Watching Violent Content

Children react differently after watching performances containing violence. But, the most common symptoms include;

  • Bedtime fears
  • Lack of concentration in their study
  • Viewing the world as a violent place
  • Feeling frightened and having flashbacks during the day
  • Nightmares that keep recurring 
  • Being insensitive to people’s suffering
  • Some children may copy what they see in the movies and become violent toward others

How Can You Protect Your Kids From Movie Violence?

Protecting your children from movie violence is very important to safeguard their future. As a parent, there are several ways of doing this, including;

Try To Understand The Rating System

Before you can accompany your children into a movie theater, it is necessary to know why the film has an R-rating. Some are due to profanity, nudity, violence, and language. While nudity may be harmless depending on the material, violence will disturb the children. You must check the degree of violence since it could be rape or graphic violence, which affects most kids significantly. 

Do Not Permit Children Below 13 Years To Watch R-Rated Movies.

Young children below the age of 13 years may not differentiate between the characters they see in movies and reality. No matter how liberal you consider yourself to be; never allow these children to see profanity and nudity in movies. For children between 13 years and 16 years of age, a parent needs to consider their sensitivity and maturity before allowing them to see the movies. 

Since R-rated movies contain sexual or graphic violence, they should not in any way be watched by kids below 17 years of age. 

Choose Movies For Your Children. 

Before allowing your kid to watch a film, it is important to read its review and know its contents. If you feel that a movie will cause potential harm to the young one, forbid them from seeing it no matter the pressure. You can check other parents’ reviews and keep a list of movies they approve. 

Choose Movies For Your Children. 

Keep Watch On What Your Child Sees.

It is advisable to check what your child sees on rented videos, network TV, or cable TV. Unless you permit your child to watch a particular program, do not let them switch on the cable or network movie channel. These channels contain a lot of violent movies that are too scary for young children. 

If you have kids of different ages, you can separate what they watch. For example, young children should not see what you have approved for their older siblings, even if it is news. Young children may feel unsafe after watching news of earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, terrorism, or war. 

Discourage Your Children From Watching Violent Movies Away From Home

Make sure that you warn your child not to be influenced to watch violent movies at Halloween or sleep parties. You should advise your kid always to call you if their nanny or a family member is watching scary movies in their presence. You can also teach them to walk away from scary movies or any that upset them. It is also vital to teach them the importance of not sneaking into R-rated movies and obeying theater policies. 

Please Encourage Your Child To Discuss Movies That Upset Them

It is always important to allow your child to express themselves about their experiences. Respect their feelings without making fun of them, and let them discuss with you their fears. Be sure to advise them and help them overcome the fears they get from watching the movies. 

How Do You Decide If Your Teen Is Ready For An R-Rated Movie?

Every parent fears that their teens may engage in actions that could impact their minds negatively. Parents desire their children to know the difference between right and wrong, especially when choosing the movies to watch. The following guideline can help you know when your kid is mature enough to see an R-rated movie;

Your Family Values

Each family has its culture and values that help distinguish right from wrong. These values can help a child know what to watch at the appropriate age. But, a thumb rule is, no child below the age of 12 needs to be exposed to vulgar or violent content. It is necessary to protect your young children from movie violence as this can interfere with their mental growth or progress. 

If your family values consider strong language, violence, and nudity as social evil, then advise your teen against such. You may also decide to abstain from R-rated movies as a family to help discourage your teens from getting attracted to them.

Your Teen’s Maturity

Children mature and grow differently, and as a parent, you should decide when the best time is to discuss real-life experiences. Since teens will be exposed to different materials at some point in life, it is your responsibility as a parent to prepare them. Please make your judgment after such discussion and decide when it is appropriate, but don’t allow them to watch R-rated movies on their own before turning 17. 

How Teens Deal With Changing Times

In today’s world, teens can get exposed to foul language and inappropriate displays of affection in schools. How your child handles such exposures will tell a lot about their maturity. Parents need to help their kids filter what they watch before allowing them into movie theaters. 


Movie rating helps parents decide what content is appropriate for their children to watch. Therefore, one must be aware of the rating system not to expose their children to violence or adult material that may harm their minds and negatively impact their future.