The 1980's
How Do You Rate?

How Do You Rate?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7

     challenging words:    unacceptable, theaters, ratings, producer, sexual, circumstance, society, rating, fairly, delete, knowing, behavior, review, interfere, brutality, general
     content words:    Motion Picture Association, Will H., United States, Hays Code, Hays Production Code, Motion Pictures Association

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How Do You Rate?
By Jane Runyon

1     Have you ever wanted to see a movie but your parents said you couldn't go because of the rating? Maybe it was PG-13 and you were only 12. Maybe your parents will only allow you to see G movies. Why are there such ratings, anyway?
2     The Motion Picture Association of America began rating movies many years ago. This group was led by Will H. Hays. They formed because it was feared that motion pictures were going to interfere with the morality of the American people. During the 1930's, the United States was more of a rural nation. The average American was not familiar with the loose living done in the big cities. Motion pictures would bring these new ways of living right into the local movie houses. Many parents did not want their children exposed to what they considered "immoral" ways of life.
3     In 1930, the Hays Code of Production was created. It stated the "do's and don'ts" of movie behavior. Movies were not to depict behavior thought to be unacceptable in society. The rules were fairly broad. There were no penalties or ways to enforce the rules. In 1934, the rules were amended slightly. From that time on, any movie produced in America had to be submitted for screening before being released. The board would give the movie a certificate allowing it to be shown. Or, it could keep the movie from being shown.
4     Things went fairly smoothly for the next several years. Films containing any kind of nudity were to be changed to delete the objectionable scenes. Extreme violence or brutality was kept from the screen. The average American still had no way of knowing which movies were fit for viewing by young children. All of that changed in 1968.
5     A movie rating system was created in 1968 to replace the Hays Production Code. This rating code was created to help parents tell at a glance whether a movie was something children should see. The 1968 code contained four general categories. The first category was G. Movies in the G category are for general audiences of all ages. Movies in the G category contain no nudity, no content that is sexual in nature, no drug use, no strong language, and very little violence. Children of all ages should be able to enjoy a movie with a G rating.

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