Everything you need to know about movie ratings

There are three main categories of classification:

Unrestricted films are given a rating by the Films and Video Labelling Body.

The symbols for unrestricted ratings are:

G – suitable for general audience

Classification label G

PG – parental guidance recommended for younger viewers

Classification label PG

M – suitable for mature audiences 16 years of age and over

Classification label M

The Film and Video Labelling Body will forward any material which may require restriction or be objectionable to the Office of Film and Literature Classification.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification is responsible for deciding if a publication is to be classified as restricted or banned as objectionable.

If the publication receives a restricted classification the Office may restrict the publication to certain classes of people (e.g. on the basis of age), or for a specified purpose (e.g for scientific or artistic purposes).

Examples of the symbols for restricted classifications are:

18 – restricted to persons 18 years and over


16 – restricted to persons 16 years and over


R – specified restrictions

Objectionable‘ is defined under the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993 as:

“a publication…(that) describes, depicts or expresses, or otherwise deals with matters such as sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence in such a manner that the availability of the publication is likely to be injurious to the public good.”

More Information about New Zealand’s film and video labelling system is available on the Office of Film and Literature website: www.censorship.govt.nz