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What is G rated?

A G rating is the lowest and most restrictive rating given by the Motion Picture Association film rating system which rates films based on suitability for certain audiences. G rated films are generally considered appropriate for all ages and do not contain inappropriate content. Some key things to know about G rated films:

What does G stand for?

The G rating stands for “General Audiences.” This signifies that the film is suitable for all viewers.

What type of content can be in G rated films?

G rated films may contain minimal violence, only of a cartoon nature, no strong language or swearing, no nudity, no drug use or references, and no sexual content. They have little to no adult content or themes. These films are made specifically for young audiences.

What are some examples of G rated films?

Some examples of well-known G rated films include:

– Animated Disney and Pixar films like Finding Nemo, Toy Story, The Lion King
– The Wizard of Oz
– Mary Poppins
– The Sound of Music
– Home Alone
– Charlotte’s Web
– Frozen
– Moana
– Inside Out
– The Peanuts Movies
– The Lego Movies

Many animated children’s films receive a G rating. It is the most common rating for animated feature films and films aimed at young children.

History of the G Rating

The G rating has been used since the inception of the MPAA film rating system in 1968. Here is some background:

Creation of the MPAA rating system

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating system was created in 1968 to provide guidance to parents about film content and age-appropriateness. It replaced the earlier Hays Code system which had enforced moral guidelines on films from 1930-1968.

Original ratings

The original MPAA ratings were:

Rating Meaning
G Suggested for General Audiences
M Suggested for Mature Audiences
R Restricted – children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult
X Persons under 16 not admitted

Addition of PG rating

In 1970, the MPAA adjusted the ratings slightly, changing the M rating to GP, and then later to PG. The ratings became:

Rating Meaning
G General Audiences
PG Parental Guidance Suggested
R Restricted
X No one under 17 admitted

The G rating has remained largely the same since its introduction. It continues to signify content appropriate for all ages.

How Films Receive a G Rating

For a film to receive a G rating from the MPAA, it must meet strict guidelines about language, violence, and mature content:


– No strong language or swearing
– Words like “hell” and “damn” may be used sparingly
– No nudity or references to sexuality


– Minimal comedic violence like cartoon pratfalls is allowed
– No blood, gore, or scenes of intense violence

Drugs and alcohol

– No drug use or references
– Alcohol use may be referenced but not consumed

Overall tone

– Must be appropriate for young children
– No frightening or emotionally distressing scenes

The MPAA ratings board watches films and assigns ratings based on the above criteria. Filmmakers can re-edit content to try to achieve a G rating.

Impact of G Rating on Films

The G rating has advantages and disadvantages for films:


– Wider audience – both children and adults can view
– Greater revenue potential
– Can be marketed heavily to children


– Artistic restrictions on content for filmmakers
– Limits complex or more mature storytelling
– G rated films sometimes perceived as less sophisticated

Examples of Borderline G and PG Content

Some films contain content that pushes the boundaries of the G rating and could be considered borderline G or PG. For example:

Fantasy violence

Films like The Lord of the Rings trilogy contain fantasy violence which is deemed suitable for a PG rating rather than G.

Mild language

Films with language like “damn” or “hell” more than once, like Free Willy, can prompt a PG.

Mild adult humor

Films with subtle adult jokes may get a PG rating, even without strong language, like Shrek 2.

Scary sequences

Films with scary scenes that might be too intense for young kids can be given a PG rather than G, like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

The MPAA takes many factors into account when evaluating where a film falls between G and PG. Generally, PG pushes the limits of G while still being suitable for kids.

Significance of G Rating Over Time

The G rating has become less common over time, as standards and attitudes have changed about what content is acceptable for children:

Golden Age of G films

In the 1930s-1960s, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, G-equivalent films under the Hays Code were the norm. Family films were a major part of studio output.

Decline since the 1970s

As audience tastes changed, studios made fewer general audience films. By the 2000s, G rated films were rare outside of animation. PG became the norm for wider family appeal.

Present day

Today, live-action G-rated films are infrequent. Animated films dominate the rating. The G rating represents innocuous content lacking adult themes and nuance. Societal views have shifted on what merits a G.

Parents’ Perspectives on G Rated Movies

Many parents appreciate G rated films as wholesome entertainment for children. But some drawbacks parents note are:

Lack of complexity

G rated films are often formulaic and predictable, lacking complex characters and storylines. The content is restricted compared to PG films.

Stigma against G rated films

Some parents feel G films are seen as “just for kids” while PG films have wider appeal. They think G films lack sophistication.

Too much leniency

Some parents think violence in G films should be further restricted. Cartoon action can still unsettle some kids.

Appeal wears off

As kids grow up, many lose interest in G rated films earlier than PG films. The content doesn’t mature with the child.

Overall, most parents find G movies serve a role in family entertainment but have limitations compared to PG fare. They represent the most conservative end of the MPAA ratings spectrum.


The G rating designates films suitable for general audiences of all ages. G rated films contain only mild, innocuous content without disturbing or adult elements. The rating allows both children and adults to enjoy family-friendly fare. But the strict limits on content mean G rated films are typically less complex, nuanced and artistically challenging than films with PG or higher ratings. The G rating represents the MPAA’s seal of approval for films with content completely appropriate for young viewers.