Everything you need to know about movie ratings
What is a classification label?
All labels have a classification symbol and usually a descriptive note indicating the type of content in a film or game that may be of concern to viewer – for example, whether the film contains violence or sex.
You will find the labels displayed:
- In cinemas
- On video and DVD cases
- As part of film trailers and on advertising material such as posters and online listings
- Sometimes magazines, books or music CDs may also have classification labels
Film labels are colour coded like a traffic light:
- GREEN means anyone can view a film.
- YELLOW means that anyone can view the film, but guidance from a parent or guardian is recommended, and some films may be more suitable for mature audiences.
- RED means restricted. It is illegal to show or give the movie or game to anyone under the age stated on the label.
What do the labels mean?
Please note that most unrestricted films are not classified by the Classification Office before release, but if you disagree with a film’s G, PG or M rating you should definitely let the Classification Office know. For more information, see Inquiries and complaints about classification on the Classification Office website.
Anyone can be shown or sold this. G films should have very low levels of things like frightening scenes. However, not all G level films are intended for family audiences and it is always a good idea to look at reviews and plot information before taking children to any film.
Films and games with a PG label can be sold, hired, or shown to anyone. The PG label means guidance from a parent or guardian is recommended for younger viewers. It is important to remember that PG films can be aimed at an adult audience and to be aware of the content of a film if you are taking children to it.
Films and games with an M label can be sold, hired, or shown to anyone. Films with an M label are more suitable for mature audiences. When considering whether to let a child see an M-rated film, it’s a good idea to find out what the film is about – and to always remember to check the descriptive note. The meaning of the M label on the Classification Office website.
Red means restricted: it is illegal to sell, hire, show or give a restricted (red labelled) film or game to anyone under the age shown on the label (unless an exception is stated on the label).
Restrictions apply in cinemas, at home and at school. Adults cannot give children permission to watch restricted films, or play restricted games. Various online platforms and services also use official classifications and these may be accompanied by parental controls or locks.
All films and games with red restricted labels have been classified by the Classification Office before release. If you disagree with a classification, please contact the Classification Office and let them know. For more information, see Inquiries and complaints about classification on the Classification Office Website.
Red means restricted
R13, R15, R16, R18
It is illegal to sell, hire, show or give a film or game with an age restricted label to anyone under the age specified. If something has one of these labels it can only be supplied to people of and over the age shown on the label. A parent, shop or cinema is breaking the law if they supply an age-restricted item to someone who is not legally allowed to access it. You will see these labels on films, games, DVDs and a few music recordings, magazines and books.
What does R13 mean? [External Link]
RP13, RP16, RP18
The RP label means that the film or DVD can only be watched by someone under the age on the label if they are supervised by a parent or guardian (an adult over 18). You will see these labels on films and DVDs. A parent, shop or cinema is breaking the law if they allow children to access these films without adult supervision.
What does RP mean? [External Link]
R means that there is a special restriction. Refer to the words on the right of the label for the full conditions.
What does the descriptive note on the label mean?
Descriptive notes are designed to help people when they are deciding whether to watch a film. The notes indicate whether there is content in a film such as offensive language, sex scenes, violence, cruelty or other potentially disturbing or offensive material. Please be aware that violence or offensive language, for example, will generally be stronger in a restricted film than an unrestricted film.
For more information about classification labels contact the Classification Office Information Unit.