Does PG Mean Anything Anymore?

How is Frozen the same rating as Raiders of the Lost Ark? Is it time for the ratings system to be updated?

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. In France we have
    Unfit for
    “warning” (can be added to anything)
    10 (not much violence, comedy, kids, normal movies)
    12+ (violent)
    16+ (horror)
    18+ (porn)
    18+(non porn)
    It’s better like this

    • Here’s an interesting fact: Sausage Party is actually rated 15+ in the UK even though it’s R-rated in the US, so basically any person over 15 could watch the movie without their parents.

      • ESRB is infamous from its vogue and over-prudonisty nature. PEGi is better, but still for my taste have too many not clearly explained stuff.

        People gain mental maturity in age of 15’en and that is where they can watch mature movies (violence, sex references and other mature topic) because they would understand them. I acknowledge 18+ but it should be reserved only for clear porn and extreme gore. But still most of PEGI18/AO/R is far from being real for adult and watching those as a kid din’t impact my in any way.

      • There are tons of similar examples. Just look at the “Certification” section at IMDB for Jackass The Movie. It ranges all the way from 18 (eg. UK, Brazil and Germany), to 16 (eg. Netherlands and Switzerland), to 15 (eg. Norway and Finland), to 14 (Chile), to 12 (Portugal), and even to 11 (Sweden).

    • And we’re pretty tolerant about swear words or nudity. Our rating is mostly for violence or a lot of sex. Swear words, natural nudity (even frontal) and soft sex scenes will almost NEVER increase the rating.

      HOWEVER, only the “can be inappropriate for child under 10” a child under 10 still can see the movie (even alone). 12+ and more means = Forbidden if you’re under age, period. Even with an adult.

    • I bought a bunch of DVDs from France on or any website and they are all labeled as “Tous Publics”.

    • In most of Europe the South Park movie was considered a kids film suited for all ages. It certainly was in Denmark.

      This is a mainly a US problem (though I hear Australia is pretty nutty too).

    • Here in Brazil, we have almost the same system:

      T for Todos, meaning Everyone
      P for Porno, meaning porn.

      Additionally, if you want to watch a movie that’s one rating above your age, you need an adult with you and you can’t watch a movie that’s two ratings above your age with or without an adult.
      Also, I agree it’s better like this.

  2. Does anyone even care about what a movie is rated anymore? What happened to doing that Rocky and Bullwinkle review?

    • It’s been delayed due to the death of Doug and Rob’s mother.

    • Doug was met with unforeseen circumstances. First, his getting a bacterial infection for three weeks, and then his mother unexpectedly passing. Peoples’ lives come first. You’ll just have to be patient.

      • ThatManWithTheHeadband12

        The death of Sandy Walker only affected it not being released for early access. It’s being released exactly when he said it would: The review spot after what was coming next (ie two weeks after the public release of the Tentacolino review)

    • Studios do. Because Teens do.

      As Doug implies, but doesn’t get fully into: for quite some time, a “G” rating was viewed as a hindrance to a movie’s marketability, because of the stigma of “a children’s movie” meaning no one wanted to see it. And by “no one”, what it often comes to is teenagers.

      Because Teens are the most likely demographic to have the time/funds to go see theatrical releases, and are often a deciding vote in either their friend group, or their family; Also, Teens are the most influenced by the idea of something being “kid’s stuff” meaning its “bad”.

      But, by the same coin, it meant that R movies were difficult to sell, because more parents would not let their teenagers see it, and they were unable to get in on their own. So the sweet spot for studios was PG or PG-13, so they could ensure ticket sales.

      Here’s an example using movies in theaters today with a fairly typical American nuclear family. Dad, Mom, a 15 year old boy, and a 7 year old girl. They decide they want to go see a movie. Dad’s interested in Sully, because it’s Tom Hanks. Mom wants to see Bridget Jone’s Baby, the 7 year old wants to see the Wild Life. The Teen thinks Sully sounds boring, he wants to see Suicide Squad. Mom and Dad aren’t comfortable with that, so Dad pitches Ben-Hur or Star Trek Beyond instead. Action, shouting, and you know it’s not kid stuff because they’re both PG-13. Teen agrees to one of them.

      So now Dad and the Teen are going to see one of those, and the Mom will end up taking the 7 year old to see Wild Life or Secret Life of Pets. OR, the family decides to all go see Kubo. Sure, it might be a LITTLE kiddy, but it looks pretty cool. Samurai, witches, stop-motion animation (which is a novelty to the 15 year old, born after 9/11). So the odds are a PG and PG-13 movie split the family, or the whole family sees a PG movie.

      If Mom and Dad want to see an R movie, they’ll have to wait to rent it, or for when their kids are out of the house. Any G movie they’ll likely rent or buy, depending on how much the 7 year old likes it.

      There’s been a recent surge in R-rated film success, specifically in the Superhero genre. We’ll see how that pans out.

  3. TheSuicidalTeddybear

    The goriest Hammer Dracula movie is rated G while Matrix Reloaded is rated R… Let that sink in for a second

  4. “How is Frozen the same rating as Raiders of the Lost Ark?” I already knew the answer to this before I clicked on PLAY.

    I remember in the early to mid 90s seeing commercials for the Aliens line of action figures, and funny enough, that’s when I became aware of both the Alien and Predator franchises, and I didn’t see those movies until I was in high school. Oh, and I first saw the Terminator and RoboCop movies while I was in the 8th grade, and those were some of the first R-rated movies I’ve ever watched.


    What I find annoying is when the rating affects the distribution of the DVD/Blu-ray. Especially when it comes to films with extended cuts.

  6. I found it weird that America gave Finding Dory a PG rating while most other countries gave it a G (or G equivalent).

  7. Blaze The Movie Fan

    Yeah, the rating system means nothing anymore.

    But there is one important thing you forgot to mention, it’s how things were before the R rating existed. Before the R rating existed you couldn’t make sexual references or swear once, except for one damn. How come you didn’t mention that?

  8. Well Doug, very good video.

    But about the nipples, maybe it’s ironic you make fun of this when you censored nudity in your videos ?

  9. Those Pixar movies you showed don’t suck. I like all of them and I’m not alone. YOU just don’t like them, and simply saying “they suck” is insulting to the people who like them. So stop doing that, it’s not funny.

    • Yeah, Doug doesn’t like some movies that you like. So what? That’s just his opinion and his opinion isn’t hurting anyone, so why is it an issue for you?

      The purpose of the internet is the exchange of *different* opinions. If everybody felt the same way about everything there’d be no need for commentaries like this, because we’d all have a hive mind consciousness with all of the same opinions. People disagree with other people all of the time. If you’re not mature enough to handle a different opinion, then maybe you shouldn’t be watching these editorials.

    • Just because you like them doesn’t mean they don’t suck. And just because Doug dislikes them doesn’t mean they do suck either. You can fully like something that is objectively bad. Like The Room or Birdemic. No one would say those movies are anything but completely awful, but you can enjoy them for just how awful they are.

    • That’s not quite what it means. From a critic’s point of view, those movies were very poorly produced or have sub-par stories, etc. That doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoyable to watch for some people. This is why judging a movie by a critic’s score isn’t the only way you should gauge if a movie is worth watching. I too have seen cases where the NC said a movie was terrible and it was one I enjoyed very much, but as I watched the review, I realized the flaws pointed out were actually legitimate issues. Did that stop me from enjoying the movie? Not one bit. If anything, I gave me a chance to see more of the movie and in some cases learn to like it even more, specifically for the flaws.

    • I liked those movies too but I wouldn’t let Doug’s negative opinion of them get under your skin, if I were you. It’s all just opinions. At the end of the day, Doug is just a person with his own opinions like you or I. Heck, Doug made a whole video about this a month or so ago about the purpose of critics. Enjoy what you enjoy and dislike whatever you dislike. I’ve disagreed with Doug on many things before and I’m sure I disagree with him on more stuff in the future. I’ll agree on the stuff we agree about and respectfully disagree when our opinions diverge. I’m not going to let his hatred of the Cars films or Monsters University ruin my enjoyment of those films. We’re all people with our own opinions and tastes and, at the end of the day, everything in entertainment is subjective. So sit back, relax, and enjoy what you enjoy. Someone else’s opinions shouldn’t affect your enjoyment of something.

    • You’re welcome to like them and think that they don’t suck because its a subjective thing, but that is obviously not the common consensus.

    • Well aren’t you a fragile one?

  10. My thoughts on this: I saw Marley And Me in theaters and was shocked at the content. Should have been a PG-13. To this day, I have negative connotations about that movie.

  11. Actually, to the PG’s credit, it at least allows parents to watch animated movies with their kids because as adults they believe that they shouldn’t watch things they enjoyed as a child anymore, like cartoons. Disney actually sticks the PG-rating to their animated movies because they wanted children not to just enjoy it by themselves, but with their families.

  12. To be honest, I was hoping he would at least mention The Peanuts Movie, Rio, Rio 2, and Horton Hears a Who (All Blue Sky Films mind you) ALL rightfully had the G rating.

    I was also hoping he would bring up that Pixar’s use of the PG rating got so bad that it’s making Blue Sky Studios (the same studio that won’t stop making Ice Age Movies even though we don’t want them) know what they’re doing with the rating system! And they should feel ashamed of themselves for it.

  13. To be fair, raiders came out several yrs before pg13 even existed

    • But it helped bring in the question of the rating system as well did Gremlins. It was several years later where they put the system in place. But yes, Raiders and Gremlins helped put it into question

  14. The past few NC videos have some serious audio problems (fluctuating left and right speakers) that is highly noticeable on headphones (less so on speakers). It is extremely annoying hearing doug’s voice constantly jumping from left to right headphone, it makes the video impossible to watch for more than a few minutes.

  15. Ratings are stupid. How many people even care about <13 kids watching PG13?

  16. Why is Finding Nemo rated G, but Finding Dory is rated PG?

  17. So… if the Nostalgia Critic had a rating…

  18. Insightful editorial. Two thumbs up.

  19. The first time I noticed the PG rating was a joke was not with movies, but with TV shows (Australia uses the same rating system for movies, TV shows, and video games), more specifically, Cartoon Network shows. It was fair enough that Regular Show would be rated PG as that has its fair share of adult humour, but why on Earth is Adventure Time rated PG? Because sometimes there are fights? Pokemon had it’s fair share of fighting and even revolved around that concept and got away with a G-rating! At least in the 90’s. Despite the franchise being just as violent as it was back in the day, whereas the video games and anime used to be rated G, now they’re rated PG!

  20. The flip side of this is I have seen people on reddit declaring that they won’t watch a movie (ie Suicide Squad) unless it is rated R because anything else is for kids and not *hardcore* enough. That’s even worse.

    Also Doug I recommend watching a film from New Zealand called Boy. It’s a whimsical family movie that includes a twelve year old getting stoned and contemplating suicide:
    The director is doing the next Thor movie.

  21. I love this video, but as a lover of film history I need to nitpick a little over how it’s not mentioned that the MPAA ratings system was only just installed in 1968. I have a DVD of the 1959 Ben-Hur and it’s labeled G. I think all films before then are labelled G, like Disney’s Snow White.

    • Ben Hur was rated when it got a re-release, as were other films like Snow White. It’s also why Spartacus is rated PG-13 now and why Citizen Kane is a PG. Any pre-’68 movie that gets released would likely simply stick to being not rated when they put out a DVD unless the studio for whatever reason submits it to the MPAA to be rated (which costs money so they usually don’t bother unless they’re trying to get them a theatrical wide release).

  22. It’s funny. In Germany “Love is Strange” is rated FSK 0, what is the lowest of all ratings and “Drag Me to Hell” is FSK 16, which is the second highest rating.
    The ratings in Germany are:

    FSK 0 (Released without age restriction.) e.g.: “The Lego Movie”, “Inside Out”
    FSK 6 (Released to age 6 or older.) e.g.: “Lost in Translation”
    FSK 12 (Released to age 12 or older and to age 6 to 11 with parental guidance.) e.g.: “The Lord of The Rings” – Trilogy
    FSK 16 (Released only to age 16 or older.) e.g.: “Scream”
    FSK 18 (No release to youths (released only to age 18 or older.)) e.g.: “Fight Club”

  23. My favorite rating insanity are the x-men movies.Each one gets more brutal than the previous one,but because the brutality is all cg,and shows no blood,its ok for kids to watch.Slowly burning off someones face,tearing someone limb from limb,crushing someone into a compact cube,thats fine for kids.But god forbid someone pricks their finger and let some blood!

  24. For parents who really do want to make informed decisions, the Friday edition of our local paper features paragraph-long synopses of all movies currently in local theaters, including indications of kind and context of nudity, level of profanity, violence being graphic or cartoony, and so on. Much more useful. There are also internet forums that provide this service.

  25. God, our rating system in this country is complete bullshit. I remember when The King’s Speech was rated R for the scene where Bertie swears, but I was hearing way worse on my college campus at the time. I thought that an R rating was insane. And why are we still so squeamish about sex in movies and shows? God forbid we see two consenting people of age enjoying a healthy, sexual relationship. I wish the ratings system would go away. Leave it up to the audiences to use their best judgment and I wish the ratings system would stop treating thinking adults like children.

  26. Does PG Mean Anything Anymore?
    Did it ever?

    It’s not an indicator of if the movie is good. It’s not an indicator of who would enjoy watching it. The rotten tomatoes score is far more useful than the rating ever was.

    Maybe at one point it gave a vague notion of what level of writing to expect from the story. Kids movies being more directs and the adult movies requiring a literary doctorate to fully appreciate. But in the late 90s that got switched with meaningful narratives in kids movies and mature movies tending to be little more than a shallow spectacle.

    So what information are you suppose to take away from the rating? And if that information proves to be unreliable, did the rating ever mean anything?

  27. I have a confession…

    I…I actually find the ‘dirty hoe’ line…kinda funny. 😛

    Don’t get me wrong though, it had no business being in that movie. It’s the kind of stupid joke you make to your friends when you’re teenagers. (Although I’m almost 32 now…screw it, it’s still funny!)

  28. Raiders of the Lost Ark was made before the creation of PG-13.

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