Regulations and Rating in Film and Television

In the United States, movies and television are such a large part of our culture. We see advertisements for them everywhere and we look forward to watching them. For me personally, movies are a big deal. I drop movie quotes several times a day, and look forward to watching different films in my downtime. As a film student, much of my time is spent looking for new and different styles of filmmaking. Often times, people seem to forget that film production is in fact a form of artistic expression. However in 1934, with the birth of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the film industry has been subject to regulations and censorship. Ever since, there has been huge controversy as to whether film and television belong under the constitutional right of “free speech”.

The television program, Family Guy Pushes the Limit of what they can and cannot do on television. Here is a satirical video in which the producers of the highly popular show address the FCC on a  warning they received:

Over the years, regulations in film and television have been pushed by the industry. To the filmmaker, they are simply creating art, but the FCC often sees this “artistic expression” as lewd and lascivious to the American people. Some things that are shown on television and in movies are definitely not appropriate for some viewers. For example, if a film features nudity or racy content, a child should not be able to access or view it. But the inappropriateness of a film doesn’t only apply to children. Often times a film will produce moral issues or ideas, which may not agree with someone’s personal ideologies. The rating system we have today is an insufficient way to tell people how a movie is represented. It should not only have a simple rating and a short description why, but there should be more categories to place the films. Rather than the G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 system, there should be categories like; political content, religious content, dark humor, etc.

In my personal opinion, the FCC is a necessary organization, but they overstep their bounds. Some content is definitely inappropriate for many viewers, however in the consideration of free speech and artistic expression, they should be viewed on their own terms and rated accordingly. In a perfect world, those who have worked in the film and television industry should make the ratings and offer regulations. If judgments are to be made, than people with the experience in the industry should be the ones making the decisions.


One thought on “Regulations and Rating in Film and Television”

  1. I like your idea to add more categories to the rating system. I have never previously considered how the current system is lacking but you bring up several good points, including how movies are rated for things like idealogical ideas in addition to racy content. I also agree that more rating levels would actually provide more freedom to the industry because they are not so harshly restricted to G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17.

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