MPAA Rating System

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In 1968 Jack Valenti, the president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), established the Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA) in an effort to reduce the amount of objectionable material in film. Before 1968, the MPAA required that all films follow the guidelines of the Production Code. The Production Code stipulated what was and was not appropriate to appear in films. In 1966, the MPAA elected Jack Valenti president and he changed the code to a rating system based on the amount of objectionable content in a film. The rating system went through several amendments until the current rating system. A controversy arose when The Weinstein Co. film Blue Valentine received an NC-17 rating for a sexually explicit scene involving the main characters in the film. The controversy over the rating of the film stirred up the question of the effectiveness of the MPAA rating system. Critics were already questioning the effectiveness of the MPAA, but the recent controversy helped to stimulate those questions. The rating system that the MPAA enforces on films is ineffective. The MPAA rating system is outdated. The recent advances in technology allow children to see movies regardless of the rating. The rating system worked well for the early years, but recently “kids slip into the movies they want to see. . . . They also see them at home on widely available DVDs, on cable, and via popular streaming services like Netflix and Amazon” (Ebert 2). Even when kids go to the theater to see movies they can “theater hop” or buy a ticket to a low rated movie and slip into the R rated film of their choice. DVDs and the Internet both provide ways for kids to watch movies that contain objectionable material. Websites that offer the o... ... middle of paper ... ...not restrict violence in movies as much as it restricts sexual content, it allows children of young ages to be exposed to violent content, which could have serious consequences in the child’s future. The MPAA rating system was once a good source for people to find out whether a movie would contain immoral or violent images; currently the system has grown to become ineffective in today’s society. Society changes as well as movies; content and subject matter has changed for movies of this generation. If the system is not changed it will not help parents to know what movies will be appropriate for their children to watch. Because of the influence and prevalence of movies in our society and culture today a rating system is important, if that system fails to do its duty the negative influence that the movies can have on the children and youth of tomorrow will be great.
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