Growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s I was privy to plenty of violent, scary, horrifying and plain old gross out movies. While I of course was watching rated R-Movies without the consent of my parents, the vast majority of movies that I was watching were rated PG and there were plenty of scenes within these movies to terrify kids.
It was with the release of Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom in 1984 which was a PG rated movie that parents thought safe to bring kids to the theater to see. The movie and it’s human sacrifice and dark tones was upsetting to parents who thought it was too much for kids to handle (and frankly they’re not wrong) and believed it should have a different rating. With nothing between PG and R though, a new rating was developed and that rating is the now famous PG-13.
Up until this point, movies not deemed R worthy would be given a PG rating and some of the material shown during those PG movies would probably pass for an R rating now. The original Poltergeist received a PG rating despite the subject matter and scares within, Gremlins while considered a kid movie had some gross out moments, Jaws contained some shocking moments including a shark eating people and all of these and others didn’t fit in with a higher R rating and as such received the lesser, more family friendly rating of PG.
I watched all of these movies as a kid and honestly now, thinking back, I won’t let my kids watch these movies yet. They just aren’t ready and won’t be for few years. I’m not even sure why I was allowed to. Maybe it was the time and kids had more freedoms or maybe parents just cared less. Now though, as a parent of three kids, I’m glad we have the rating system we do as it helps me narrow down the choices in movies we watch and with the internet I can make even better choices.
Now, I assume that just as I did, my kids will eventually be watching rater R movies without my permission, it is after all a rite of passage, but at least when they’re at home we can watch movies that aren’t going to have them up screaming with nightmares.
What do you think about the movie rating system? Are PG rated movies of the past worthy of a PG-13 rating? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Video Source: ScreenCrush