Who decides if a movie is rated R or NC-17? What kind of financial impact can a movie rating have on the movie? Do directors ever censor themselves so they can get a particular rating? How does a filmmaker contest the rating they receive? What effect does a rating have on the distribution of a film?
In this documentary Kirby Dick takes a look at the secretive Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) review board that decides what elements of a movie make it rated G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, or X.
You can check this documentary out of the library. Search for movies in the online catalog by restricting your search to DVDs in the Quick Limit pull-down menu (or, click on the image to go directly to the record). For any DVD you want to check out, write down the call number and ask someone at the Circulation Desk to get the DVD for you. You can check it out using your student ID as your library card.
You can read Roger Ebert’s 2006 review here.
“Since 1968, the MPAA Code and Ratings Administration has been an anonymous group enforcing secret guidelines on almost all movies seeking release in America. The difference between its R and NC-17 ratings can mean life or death for a movie. A rating can be appealed — to another anonymous group, also with guidelines that are never made clear. The board’s founder and great defender, Jack Valenti, explained for years that the movie raters were “ordinary parents” with young children, trying to advise other parents on how appropriate movies might be for younger viewers.”