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[Overview] Movie ratings (international)

I’ll start by summarizing the US and German film ratings classifications, feel free to add a summary of those of your country. Please add an offcial link to your country’s ratings board


In Germany, the FSK (~voluntary self-control of the film industry) rates the movies into the following categories:

  • Freigegeben ohne Altersbeschraenkung (~all audiences)
  • FSK ab 6 ( you have to be at least 6 years old)
  • FSK ab 12
  • FSK ab 16
  • Keine Jugendfreigabe ( ab 18) (you have to be an adult, that is at least 18 years old. these films may not be sold publicly)

    Movies that have not been rated sometimes just get a “spio/jk” classification that is just a stamp that sais that the film is not violating the laws. Films can also be confiscated or “indexed” in Germany, those are usually films that are overly violent (the key term here is: “violence-glorifying films”), nazi propaganda, slasher films or whatever.


    In the USA, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) issues the ratings of films

  • G (General Audiences) All audiences
  • PG (Parental Guidance suggested)
  • PG 13 (Parental Guidance suggested, material inappropriate for childeren under age of 13)
  • R (Restricted, under 17 requires guardian or accompanying parent)
  • NC-17 (noone under 17 allowed)
  • X (this doesnt officially exist, this is usually the rating for ultra-violent films or most usually porno)
  • unrated (films not rated by the MPAA)

    Unlike Germany, R rated and unrated films can be publicly sold (for example while in Germany, the “FSK 18” films can not be sold on the internet without passport controls, you will not find FSK 18 films on



Criteria for ratings:

S (General audiences): Violence: Mild (many cartoons, many Charlie Chaplin films)

S (General audiences): Sex: Mild sexual references, nudity (even full frontal) (In the Mood for Love, Tin Cup)

K-7: Violence: Mild violence (Princess Mononoke, The Mask of Zorro)

K-7: Sex: Not much diffecence to S rating (Just Married)

K-11: Violence: Many action comedies, adventure films, close to pg-13 (The Day After Tomorrow, Hellboy)

K-11: Sex: Soft erotic(The End of the Affair, 2046, American Pie (US unrated version))

K-15:Violence: Lots of violence, but not too explicit. Most action and war movies. (Goodfellas, The Terminator, Bad Taste (because of humour))

K-15: Sex: Pretty much everything that’s not hard core. (Dreamers, Monsters Ball (both US unrated versions))

K-18:Violence: Extreme violence (Ichi the Killer, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Braindead)

K-18: Sex: Hard core (Ken Park, Caligula)

KK(Banned): Earlier we had tight censorship and films like The Texas Chainchaw Massacre got banned. Today no normal movies get banned (I don’t know a single movie that would get banned today). Only stuff that is illegal (for exaple real violence as an entertainment (stuff like jackass (K-15) doesn’t count). I can’t come up with any example) The law is about the same as the law in US.

If you are 2 years or less younger that the rating you need to have a full age guarding with you. Otherwise you won’t get in. K-18 is an exception, only those who are 18 or older can get in.

No restriction for selling movies (except KK). Movies are never cut (by us) for lower rating.


U Suitable for general audiences of all ages.

PG Younger children may require parental guidance.

12A No-one younger than 12 may see a ‘12A’ film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult.

15 No-one younger than 15 may see a ‘15’ film in a cinema.

18 No-one younger than 18 may see an ‘18’ film in a cinema.

TBC To Be Classified.



movie will contain sex




coarse language

and you have,

AL (all ages)

6 (not suitable for under 6)

12 (not suitable for under 12)

16 (not suitable for under 16)


The official site:


E Exempt from Classification. (Used for rating documentaries and educational content.)

G For General Exhibition.

PG Parental Guidance Recommended.

M Recommended for Mature Audiences (PG and M are recommended ratings only and carry no legal weight.)

MA15+ Restricted to Mature Audiences 15 years and over. (Audiences must be 15 years and over or accompanied by a person 18 years and over.)

R18+ Restricted to audiences over the age of 18 years.

X18+ Restricted to audience over the age of 18 years. (Only used in rating pornographic content. Such content cannot be violent. Films rated X18+ can only be sold in stores in Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory; films can be ordered interstate through mail order. In other states, the R rating is used to pass non-hardcore pornography or edited/censored works.*)

RC Refused Classification. (Film is effectively banned.)

When it comes to rating films, Australia’s rating board (the OFLC) are a decidedly liberal organisation. The organisation does not cut films of its own accord. Rather than censorship, there is a focus on “informing choices”. As such, Australia has a ridiculous amount of ways to say what seems to be the same thing. Cartoon violence, Sci-fi violence, realistic violence, mild violence, strong violence, graphic violence, high level violence, fantasy violence, etc. And often uses warnings such as “abortion themes” or “paedophile themes” or “scary themes” to inform the viewer of possibly objectionable content. These warnings are according to the rating level and amount of content. A small amount of focus on abortion in an R rated film may not be touched upon in the rating, but the same amount of focus in an M rated film may warrant the warning because of the lower target audience.

*Hardcore sex is not unheard of in the R rating, provided it can be proved the film has artistic merit. The recent film 9 Songs was passed with an R rating as is, following debate over whether it should be passed with an X rating (effectively labelling it porn).