Sunday, April 6, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis - Research

Culturally, the U.S. came late to rating its movies, as most all other countries already had been rating their cinema for decades. The MPAA's film-ratings were instituted on 1 November 1968, in response to religiously-motivated complaints about the sexual, violent, and profane content of American cinema, after the MPAA's 1966 revision of the Production Code of America.

Before July 1, 1984a minor trend of cinema straddling the PG and R ratings (per MPAA records of appeals to its decisions in the early 1980s), suggesting a needed middle ground. In summer of 1982, Poltergeist (1982) was re-rated PG on appeal, although originally rated R for strong supernatural violence and marijuana-smoking parents. Disney's PG-rated Dragonslayer (1982) alarmed parents with explicit fantasy violence and blood-letting.

Because of such successful appeals, based upon artistic intent, many mild, mainstream movies were rated PG instead of R because of some thematically necessary strong cursing, e.g. Tootsie, Terms of Endearment, Sixteen Candles, and Footloose. These censorship reversals were consequence, in large measure, of the 1970s precedent established by All the President’s Men. Had these movies been released after 1984, they likely would have been rated PG-13 because of their content.

In 1984, explicit violence in the PG-rated films Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins were "the straws that broke the parents' backs". Their complaints led Hollywood figure Spielberg, director of Temple of Doom, to suggest a new rating, PG-14, to MPAA president Mr. Valetini. Instead, on conferring with cinema owners, Mr Valenti and the MPAA on,
July 1, 1984 introduced the PG-13 rating, allowing in children older than 13 years of age without a parent or an adult guardian, but warning parents about potentially shocking violence, cursing, and mature subject matter; though weaker than an R rating, PG-13 is the strongest unrestricted rating. The first widely-distributed PG-13 movie was Red Dawn followed by Dreamscape (1984), and The Flamingo Kid (1984), although The Flamingo Kid was the first film so rated by the board.

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