Follow TV Tropes


Avoid the Dreaded G Rating

Go To

"I don't know why it's PG. We're getting in that stupid thing again where it's like, 'Oh, we gotta throw in a swear word or some kind of innuendo,' to be like, you know, 'Oh! We got the PG rating! So, see kids? You know, you don't have to think this is dorky or anything 'cause we have the PG, so we said something adult!'"

Movies may be art and intended by writers and directors to tell stories, but as far as the funders and distributors are concerned, films need to make money and get the biggest possible audience. Achieving this may involve lying about a movie's content, showing all the best parts, or (when it comes to family movies) changing the rating.


Perception means a lot — R ratings tend to indicate something for adults (but not always). G ratings often indicate something for kids. In between are PG and PG-13 movies. So with a lot of otherwise perfectly clean, family-friendly movies, the word "damn" and/or "hell" might be added to the script, just to drop that dreaded G rating. The phrase "brief mild language" appearing as a content warning is a giveaway. At PG, the movie has a better shot at avoiding the "kid stuff" stigma that keeps teen or adult viewers away.

Adding a little swearing makes the film easy to edit for TV or airplane viewings without it interrupting the story. Sometimes stronger profanity is unnecessarily added, or the characters pay an irrelevant and fleeting visit to a strip club, or scenes are made more violent. Content is sometimes added to get an intentional PG-13 rating, or removed from a potential R-rated movie for the same reason. It's all about trying to get a certain audience to watch the film.


Ironically, the average G-rated film makes more money than the average R-rated film, but maybe only because G-ratings are rarer. In the United Kingdom, the practice is sometimes known as "twelve-ing" or "fifteening" since many producers target the BBFC 12/12-A or 15 ratings instead of the PG rating, which has gained a similar reputation as the MPAA G.

Today in the United States, it's nearly impossible to get a G rating on any live-action or even All-CGI Cartoon movie without some serious negotiation. It apparently is to reinforce the Animation Age Ghetto; the MPAA is more than happy to rate something as PG for "nothing offensive" because it's live action. Almost no live-action or CG-animated movies make it to theaters with a G rating anymore.

It wasn't always this way. Since 1968, when modern MPAA ratings began, the G rating has shifted and been significantly devalued. Originally, G-ratings were for movies for a "General" audience, not for "Grandparents and Goo-goo-babies." Earlier G-rated films not only included violence, but sometimes even showed blood. Planet of the Apes (1968), released the same year the MPAA ratings started, was rated G, but you saw Charlton Heston's bare butt and heard "damned dirty ape" and "God damn you all to hell!" A few years later in 1971, Gone with the Wind was re-released with a G rating despite the racism, barely-off-screen sex, bloodshed, and a sea of dead bodies. The G-rated 1970 film Cromwell was a historical drama heavy on violence and death, including an on-screen beheading. As late as 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was rated G despite a couple of horrific deaths by Teleporter Accident, as well as references to sexuality.


The change happened in the early 1980s after complaints from Moral Guardians about movies like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins and Poltergeist, all of which received PG ratings, and thus were seen by many young children who really shouldn't have. After this, the MPAA introduced the PG-13 rating, so movies that would've been PG under the old standard became PG-13, with the more "mature" G movies now becoming PG. Thus, the demographic for films that remained G became very young.note 

Then in the late 1990s the MPAA became more lenient on what movies could show and still receive a PG or PG-13 rating, rather than an R-rating (a phenomenon referred to as "ratings creep"). However the requirements for the G-rating essentially remained the same. This created a crunch from both sides whereby movies were less likely to be rated either G or R.

Beginning in 2010 however, the MPAA reversed course and imposed stricter regulations over all its ratings after a decade of continued pressure from watchdog groups. This effectively killed the G-rating as a mainstream rating completely. Any offensive or aggressive language, any hint of sex or even romance, and anything violent was out. Characters experiencing anything perilous or potentially upsetting at all became enough to kick a movie up to PG. Finding Dory was rated PG for... well, basically no reason ("mild thematic elements"). My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) being rated PG for "mild action" was probably the nail in the coffin. The PG-rating is now solidly synonymous with animated films and Disney movies, with films that would previously have been rated PG now targeting the PG-13 rating.

Oscar Bait films often add some "stronger" content to get a PG-13 or R rating whereas their general tone would be that of a PG-rated film, as few films with this rating have won the Best Picture Award. (1968's Oliver! is the only G-rated film to win Best Picture, but it is also considered to be one of the award's weakest winners ever).

This also has applied to higher ratings, namely "R" and "X"/"NC-17": The latter rating was originally meant to be available to anyone that desired to avoid the scrutiny of the ratings process, but this ended up backfiring as the letter "X" soon became synonymous with pornography. In 1990, the "NC-17" rating was introduced after acclaimed films such as Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover and sex, lies, and videotape were either assigned "X" ratings or went unrated, but exhibitors and the media were leery over it, and after the failure of 1995's Showgirls it fell practically into disuse, with filmmakers preferring to eschew the ratings system for works with strong adult content. Meanwhile, theater owners began giving less and less space to R-rated films after 2010 (mostly to make room for tentpole blockbusters with PG or PG-13 ratings), which led many studios to release two versions of more "mature" films: a PG-13 one for theaters and an "R-rated" one for home video, an extension of the "unrated cuts" often used in the home releases of several R-rated comedies in the 2000s.

Later attempts to content-rate other media in the United States used the by-now-obvious shortcomings of the MPAA system as an object lesson. When U.S. television created its "parental guideline" ratings in the late 1990s, the "G is for Grandma" effect was mentioned specifically, and is almost certainly the motivation for the U.S. TV rating system having both a TV-Y rating and a TV-G rating: TV-Y is "specifically for kids", and TV-G means "nothing offensive."note  Similarly, the ESRB ratings for video games, needing to account for both content and playability, have both the "E for Everyone" rating and others for younger age groups (some lower-end E10+ games suffer as well, albeit to a lesser extent). Even though the video game industry is no stranger to edginess for marketing's sake, this trope is probably least common in video games. That said, "E for Everyone" changed from its original name, "K-A for Kids to Adults", specifically because games sold better among older gamers when the rating didn't have "kid" in it.

See Rated M for Money, and for more information on the rating systems, see Media Classifications.

This is NOT about movies that just happen to have a high rating. It is only about when something clearly unnecessary and unneeded is added to bump the rating higher, because without it the rating would be lower than what the company wants. Also note that it's not always certain what caused a movie to get (or not get) a certain rating, as outside a few guidelines, the MPAA ratings are a black box.


  • In the United Kingdom, 15 is the most common rating for any film not specifically marketed as family viewing and (according to the IMDB) the most common rating overall (same with R in the US).
    • This is true, of 100 films around 60% will get 15 and 12A rating, 10% will get 18, 10% will get a U and 20% will get PG. Even the word "cunt" alone doesn't justify an 18, as both Kick-Ass and Shaun of the Dead feature the word and only get a 15 (mentioned by Simon Pegg on the commentary who bemoaned "15 rating horror" and then got one).
    • American-made films do occasionally suffer due to the differences in ratings between the United Kingdom and United States. This is because the U.S. ratings go from 13 to 18, and the UK system goes 12 to 15 to 18. While some R- or NC-17–rated films fall naturally into the 15 range, others get cut to force them into it, as it is deemed more profitable than 18. For example, the subway fight between Smith and Neo in The Matrix originally had the headbutts cut out of it in the UK version; however, the uncut version with headbutts intact was passed with a '15' certificate in 2006.
    • In the United Kingdom, the movie Spider-Man has been mis-associated with an overhaul of the BBFC ratings system. A large number of parents thought its 12 rating (legally enforced) was too high, and they wanted their younger children to be able to see it, leading some local councils (who have the the final say on film certificates) to let the film be released as PG or PG-12. This coincided with the introduction of, and pretty much replacement in cinemas by, the 12A rating (still legally restricted to this age, and still labelled as just 12 for video, but adults may bring minors if they feel the film is appropriate). The first film to be rated 12A upon its original release was The Bourne Identity.
    • Also in the United Kingdom, the BBFC for a while offered a Uc rating for home video releases only, which indicated material particularly suitable for young children. It was abandoned in 2009 following reports that any child old enough to have any influence over what they watched was rejecting videos with that rating as obviously boring.
  • Inversion: In the late 1960s and early 1970s, many films that would certainly get a PG or PG-13 today were rated G. Examples include the gory Hammer Horror film Dracula Has Risen from the Gravenote , the first Airport movie, the 1969 True Grit movienote , the aforementioned Planet of the Apes (1968), The Italian Job (1969), and The Monkees' psychedelic Cult Classic Head. One of these films, The Andromeda Strain, even carried this content warning on the original poster: "Rated G but may be too intense for younger children." However, since the MPAA rating system had just been created, the G rating didn't have the "kids only" stigma yet; it still meant "for general audiences".
    • Even nudity wouldn't necessarily bar a movie from a G rating in the early years. The 1973 version of Tom Sawyer has a scene in which Tom and Huck go skinny-dipping, and their rears are briefly visible as they dive under the water.
    • Films made prior to the inception of the rating system (unless they were reissued later), tend to be rated G by default, partly because of oversight regarding the many changes on the system since 1968 and the perception that all pre-1960 films were family-friendly entertainment (an assumption not dissimilar to the Animation Age Ghetto). This even considering that several Code-era films contain content that would, at minimum, justify a PG and even, in some cases, PG-13. For example, biblical films like The Ten Commandments were actually quite violent, and crime films like The Maltese Falcon had their fair share of blood. Many movies from The Pre-Code Era have content that would guarantee an R rating—such as the first batch of Universal Horror films; various gangster movies like The Public Enemy and Scarface (1932); sexually provocative silent films like Metropolis and Pandora's Box; and the controversial M, Freaks, and The Mask of Fu Manchu. An attempt in the 2000s by anti-smoking lobbyists to have the R rating retroactively applied to any classic Hollywood film in which smoking is shown (with Casablanca often cited as the uber-example) was unsuccessful, however.
  • From 1991 to 2004, there existed a law where to make things easier for the BBFC, any relatively tame cinema ads would be rated U, while not all of them were that tame, and any material which would classify the ad as PG or up would instead give the ad a 15 rating. Any ad worthier of a different rating would be submitted as a regular film. For example, this advert for fashion magazine Don't Tell It depicts a man being repeatedly shot as he's about to reveal the publication's name. Its copious Gorn earned it an 18 rating without it ending up in the 'Film Advertisement' category.
    • A Crimestoppers ad earned both a U-rated release and an 18-rated release, which had teen cursing as opposed to the one which replaces such words with "mucking".
  • Related, a lot of independent movies seem to believe this. Kid-friendly independent movies are rather rare, causing the perception that a lot of indie flicks are either pretentious angst fests, homages to grindhouse movies, or overwrought dramas that have all the sex and violence that mainstream movies won't allow.

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Manga Entertainment became notorious during the 1990s for generously peppering their dubs with profanity in order to get "18" ratings in Britain, with the results being quite often hilarious.
  • The original North American licensor for Sgt. Frog, ADV Films, intended on getting the show on a children's network like Nickelodeon. Once Funimation got the license, it was clear that they had no intent to do so, and tried their best to sell it to a modern anime fan by making sure it at least got a PG rating - while some of the show is almost better for it (episode 18 with Natsumi's bleeped Cluster F-Bomb works better than a Kansai accent for an American audience), sometimes it just feels gratuitous (on one memorable occasion Keroro says "pain in the ass" and the voice actor feels like he's forcing it). This didn't even work in Nova Scotia, where FUNimation's version still got a G rating. This is somewhat justified as the original Sgt. Frog manga was much closer to a PG-13 rating, but the anime was toned down to be more child-friendly. FUNimation's take on it might be trying to restore its original age rating to appeal to the manga's more diehard fans.
  • Inverted by Pokémon: The First Movie: it was rated G despite its strong violence and its disturbing themes and images. Ironically, it was given a PG rating in Canada, which is generally more lenient about movie ratings.
  • Sentai Filmworks definitely wanted to give the Gintama movie a high rating: the word "fuck" is used three times in the dub, as well as profanities like "shit" and "asshole", along with a few crude sex jokes. The sub (and the actual Gintama show) do not have this kind of language.
  • Averted by Paprika. The majority of the film is made in a PG or PG-13 matter (and was rated as such in most countries) - even when touching upon adult subject matter it keeps things discreet. There's also not a bit of profanity anywhere in the film - not even a "damn" or "hell". However, the movie got an R rating simply due to a few moments of non-sexual nudity and an image of a bloody corpse.
  • For years, FUNimation avoided profanity almost entirely in their dub for Dragon Ball Z, even in the uncut home video releases. That changed when they went back redubbed the first 67 episodes in 2005 (originally dubbed with Saban and Ocean Studios in 1996 with heavy censorship), marketing them as "Ultimate Uncut," and taking advantage of the later timeslot. Beginning with around episode 27 (earlier episodes mostly recycled the Saban scripts), PG-13 level obscenities were suddenly peppered into the script, including uses of "damn," "bastard," "give them hell," etc, despite the later episodes still having much cleaner language.

    Fan Works 
  • Averted in Curse of the DualShock, rated PG. Although the pups are from the Y-rated series PAW Patrol, it crosses over with E 10+ video game Minecraft, which contains some mild cartoon and fantasy violence.
  • Despite the Sonic X fanfic Don't Keep Your Distance carrying a "T" rating on Fanfiction Dot Net, there's little non-kid-friendly content to speak of besides a few minor and forced sexual jokes, main character Paint bleeding mildly from injuries in one scene (with little apparent consequence), and a scene where two minor characters are apparently taking some type of unnamed depressant drug together. It's more than likely that this has to do with T ratings inherently attracting more visitors than the more modest "K+". In general, many fanfic writers will give their stories T ratings to attract more readers.
  • Diamond in the Rough, based on the film Aladdin, has two uses of "hell" and "prick" putting it slightly out of Disney territory.

    Films — Animation 
  • Averted with The Last Unicorn. Anyone watching the film these days is shocked to find the film has a G rating.
  • The sole content descriptor for the movie of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is "brief mild language". This was an attempt to nudge the movie towards an older audience.
  • While Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker wasn't rated, it's hard to imagine the solitary Precision F-Strike dropped by the main character being put in for any reason but the attitudes behind this trope. Besides one part with the main character's girlfriend in her skivvies, there's not a lot in the way of objectionable content.
  • The Powerpuff Girls Movie was originally going to get a G rating, but Craig McCracken wanted it to be PG-13. He and the studio compromised on a PG.
  • Allegedly Titan A.E. was originally given a G rating so the producers, not wanting to offend their target demographic, older kids and teens, added a brief shower scene to bump it up to PG. Not that it helped.
  • Inverted in the case of Rio. Early promotional material said it was rated PG. Fox responded by pushing the film's release back a week (with only three months to release, no less) and edited it down to G by reanimating a pivotal scene. Despite this though iTunes (to this day no less) mistakenly rates the film PG.
    • Blue Sky Studios actually deserves credit for averting this trope. They were specifically aiming for G's, not only on Rio and its sequel, but also on Horton Hears a Who! and The Peanuts Movie. Except for Rio at first, as well as Epic, they've been successful at earning G ratings without their box office performances being threatened.
    • Played straight(er) with their Cash Cow Franchise Ice Age. The first film was a comedy with lighthearted moments, but some dark and intense ones to balance it out. Many of the scary moments in the film would justify the PG rating it got. The second film was initially rated G, but was appealed and got a PG for mild language and innuendo, a rather unusual move for a kids' movie. By the time the next three films came out, PG became the default and all the other films were rated as such.
  • Despite some nudity, drug use, mild profanity and frightening images, and the fact that it is decidedly not a kids' movie, Rock & Rule managed to only get a PG rating when it was first released. This can be attributed to the PG-13 rating not existing at the time (it was first introduced in the following year).
  • In an inversion of this trope, Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island had to have about five minutes trimmed off in its UK release to avoid a 12.
  • Don Bluth wanted The Secret of NIMH to have a PG rating to appeal to a larger audience (and the fact that it has more frightening scenes than most of the Disney Animated Canon combined). Defying all logic (and one "damn"), the MPAA gave them a G. Then again though, there's another reason it was rated 'G'...
  • Paramount originally wanted South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut to be rated PG-13, but Trey Parker and Matt Stone said they wouldn't make it unless it was rated R. In an inversion of this trope, Terrance and Phillip were originally going to sing "Mother Fucker", which got the film an NC-17 rating. To make it rated R, the song was changed to "Uncle Fucker". Trey and Matt said the change made the song funnier. Matt and Trey also said that the ping-pong ball scene was edited too in order to avoid the NC-17 rating. Originally, Winona Ryder actually was shooting ping-pong balls out of her vagina instead of just looking like it until we finished.
    • Inverted again with Team America: World Police. The original cut received an NC-17 rating but a scene depicting graphic puppet sex was cut down to ensure an R.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie has one use of "damning" (not in a profane context, but the intent is obvious), one apparent use of "jackass", one use of "freaking", and jokes such as SpongeBob and Patrick getting drunk on ice cream in order to give the film a PG rating.
    • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water: No profanity this time, but some "mild rude humor" such as a scene with a woman in a bikini laying on the beach, SpongeBob accidentally mooning Patrick, a censored curse word, and some trippy, drug-induced sequences (including a direct 2001 reference) seem to have been added for the PG rating.
    • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run: "Crappy" is said twice and Squidward describes SpongeBob as being "freakin' annoying" to give the film a PG rating, with a content descriptor of "mild language" for the first time in the film franchise of the show, all with no dolphin chirps to censor it out.
  • The infamous line "Oh shit, what are we gonna do now?" from the 1986 The Transformers: The Movie was there to give it a PG rating (and "Open, damn it, open!" may have served that purpose too). This was reportedly in order to force parents to accompany their children to the theater, so they would know which toys to buy. Like Star Wars, this didn't work in the UK, where it got a U rating (though the line is missing from some DVD versions).
    • The Family Home Entertainment video release of 1986's The Transformers: The Movie included Ultra Magnus's "Open, dammit, open!", but lacked Spike's "Oh shit".
    • Oddly enough, despite the film including profanity to bump up the ratings, one of the songs in the soundtrack, NRG's "Instruments of Destruction," had some of the lines rerecorded to edit out comparatively mild words - "iron birds of foreplay" was changed to "iron birds of fortune," "violent seduction" to "violent eruption," and most bafflingly "iron tools of torture" to "iron tools of torment." Granted, the first two (particularly the first) could be argued to have been cut because they were of a sexual nature, but torture to torment is just... weird. The band later rerecorded the song again with all the lyrics replaced with a loop of Spike's infamous line, as a protest to the changes they were forced to make.
  • A good deal of modern Disney films are now getting a PG rating for something that would have gotten a G in the '90s, notably Tangled, Frozen (2013) and Big Hero 6.
    • Moana fits this as well, but to make it squarely in the PG range, a jarring Curse Cut Short, in this case, Moana herself uttering "son of a-" in frustration, is added in.
    • Home on the Range got a PG for this one line alone, right around the time the G-rating was falling out of fashion:
      Maggie: Yeah, they're real. Quit staring!
    • It's theorized that part of the reason the hand-drawn Disney films such as The Princess and the Frog and Winnie the Pooh (2011) didn't make as much money as the CGI Disney films like Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph is because the hand-drawn films were rated G, while the CGI films were rated PG, and thus audiences believed that the CGI films would have more adult appeal in them than their hand-drawn counterparts.
  • Averted with Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Aside from the main female protagonist doing a pole dance, the entire theme of the movie focuses on lust and sin, with the plot centering around an elderly, genocidal judge obsessed with a young woman. The ending has him trying to burn her alive for refusing to have sex with him. It got a G anyway.
  • The association between Disney and the "G" rating led Jeffrey Katzenberg to deliberately invoke this for the Dreamworks Animation films, either by including a bunch of dirty jokes or having a lion getting a low blow and a zebra nearly uttering a Precision MF-Strike, or featuring a shark being Killed Off for Real.
  • A weird aversion happened with two movies based on adult animation in Quebec: there, both Beavis and Butt-Head Do America and The Simpsons Movie carry a G rating, despite the source material not being for kids.
  • Pixar originally averted this trope, but began to play it straight by the late 2000s, beginning with Up for their original films and Finding Dory for sequels of G-rated films. Forbes discussed the latter's case. Before this, the only PG-rated Pixar film was The Incredibles, which featured heavy violence and adult themes to justify it. However, in 2011, Cars 2 got the G rating, despite having intense violence on par with The Incredibles. In 2017, Cars 3 was also rated G, despite having slightly more mature content than the first film. In 2019, Toy Story 4 also received a G rating, though it was a bit Lighter and Softer than the previous film, which was also rated G in 2010, just before the MPAA changed its rules. Inside Out was originally going to be given a G, but the producers decided to add several little things to bump it up, most notably a joke involving The Bear and a scene with a Sound-Effect Bleep.
  • The closest Illumination Entertainment had to get a G rating was The Lorax, and that's rated PG due to brief language (O'Hare sounding like he said the word "dammit") and a brief scene with a woman in a bikini.
    • The Grinch almost seems like a G-rated film, but a suggestive shot that appears when the Grinch is working out, as well as a joke involving Cindy's invention accidentally removing her friend's costume, might have been added to bump it up to PG.
    • Then came The Secret Life of Pets 2, where words like "pissed" and "turd" are briefly exclaimed by characters.
  • Inverted with Sausage Party. The movie came close to receiving an NC-17 rating, mainly because of a piece of Lavash's pubic hair being visible at the end of the food orgy. But after his scrotum was digitally shaved, it was reassigned with an R, which is what the filmmakers were aiming for in the first place. This, of course, is saying a lot considering what did make it into the final film unaltered.
  • Averted for the most part with the films of Laika. While they are all rated PG, they contain many scary moments and adult themes across all five, more in line with "traditional" PG films. Many reviewers are quick to note the films are "not for young children". The only times this was sort of played straight were with The Boxtrolls and Missing Link. While The Boxtrolls was rated PG for the predictable "action, some peril and mild rude humor", it is mostly benign, at least in comparison to their other work. Missing Link, with a similar PG for "action/peril and some mild rude humor," is arguably even more benign than that, with a lighter tone and fewer scares.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) is the first piece of the franchise to ever receive a PG rating in the U.S., for "mild action", keeping it in line with most children's animated films rather than risking a G rating. This is especially notable given that the source series has never been rated above "TV-Y", even at its most intense.
  • Teen Titans Go! To the Movies added uses of the words "darn", "damn" and "hell", as well as Raven mentioning Libyan terrorists as a nod to Back to the Future, to bump it up to PG. Though it's downplayed in that the show it's based on is rated TV-PG.
  • Watership Down added Kehaar saying "PISS OFF!" and "Damn", just to absolutely make sure that an animated film based off a novel by a part-time animal rights activist featuring adorable animals engaging in gory violence wasn't shown to small children. It didn't work in the UK, where it got a U rating, while the US passed it off with a much less lenient PG rating.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • According to a retirement interview with MPAA chairwoman Joan Graves, the defunct distributor Trimark Pictures (then known as Vidmark) aimed for an R rating for all their direct-to-video releases in the 1990s, and as such would often resubmit them to the MPAA with added F-bombs.
  • The video packaging and theatrical reshowings of 2001: A Space Odyssey are now labeled "Unrated", even though it was one of the films originally rated G in 1968. The scenes of Moonwatcher beating the enemy tribe's leader to death, and Frank Poole asphyxiating in space, would certainly give it a PG or even a PG-13 rating if it were submitted today. The film also features uses of "damn" and "hell," two words seldom, if ever, uttered in G-rated films today.
  • The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle has a few things scattered throughout, most notably an instance of "damn" and a brief shot of the antagonists in a hot tub, that seem to be in awareness of this trope.
  • Inverted and lampshaded in "Ali G, Innit". In one sketch, Ali G explains that he's determined to get an '18' rating, so he says the word 'cunt'. This initially worked, but since it came out the language restrictions have been loosened such that that word can appear in something rated 15. Since this was the only thing that warranted an 18 for Ali G, Innit, it was promptly re-rated 15.
  • The 1982 movie version of the musical Annie had Rooster say "You goddamned kid" to deliberately avoid being rated G. This is on top of the title character herself being put on a perilous situation not unlike the original comic strip it was (loosely) based on.
  • Arrival, as cerebral and even downright warped as its treatment of its First Contact theme is, is remarkably discreet in its intensity, especially when compared with other films like it. It would probably fit right at home alongside similarly cerebral sci-fi films rated PG, but a lone Precision F-Strike uttered by Jeremy Renner's character bumps it up to a PG-13 - not that it would appeal to most under that age to begin with.
  • The Artist included a character Flipping the Bird to bump it up to a PG-13.
  • The film The Astronaut's Wife got an 18 rating in Ireland and the UK. Y'know why? Johnny Depp says "cunt". Once. There are a few "fucks" too, but there is no major violence or nudity that would warrant an "adults-only" rating otherwise. However, the Irish iTunes Store labels it with a 15 rating, so maybe the IFCO have changed their minds since.
  • It is amusing sometimes to see the content warning next to a ranking to see how they justify it. For instance, Batman Begins is rated 12 in Britain and contains 'moderate horror and violence'. The Dark Knight was attacked by some for being rated 12 as well, thanks to it seeming more brutal than it is.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's original 3-hour cut unexpectedly received an R rating for its violent content, even though Zack Snyder was shooting for a PG-13. The shorter theatrical cut received such a rating, but when the original cut was released to home video (labeled the Ultimate Edition), the film could have easily been released unrated, but Warner Bros. chose to keep the R rating to drum up publicity, even though it just barely qualified.
  • The entire opening scene of Be Cool invokes and lampshades this phenomenon. While telling his friend about how stupid the MPAA system is, Chili says to him "Do you know that unless you're willing to use the R rating, you can only say the F-word once? You know what I say? Fuck that." That's the only time the word is uttered throughout the film - which received a solid PG-13.
  • Averted with Big. The movie got a PG rating despite one usage of the word "fuck".
  • The Borrowers could have been G if not for one clear use of the word "damned".
  • Inverted in the case of the 2011 film Bully. The producers wanted a PG-13 rating so the documentary could be shown in schools and so that kids could go see it without requiring a parent present, but due to a single scene with multiple F-bombs it got rated R. This caused a huge uproar and a ton of complaints directed at the MPAA. Eventually they were forced to lower the number of F-bombs in that one scene to get the PG-13 rating.
  • The 1995 Casper film had some gratuitous language ("Damn", two instances of "What the hell?" and "Bitch") inserted to give it a PG rating (though the premise of death and reincarnation alone probably would have done it).
  • The producers of Chariots of Fire felt that an utterance of the word "shit" in its dialogue would keep the film from a G rating.
  • Christopher Robin marks the first Winnie-the-Pooh project to ever get a PG rating despite the previous movies getting a G rating and the cartoons getting a TV-Y rating. This is due to some clips being shown of the titular character fighting in World War II, which are likely the most violent things to ever be shown in the Pooh franchise.
  • Played straight with all movies based on works by Dr. Seuss:
    • The live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas! movie got a PG by having a cleverly snuck-in use of the word "bitchin'".
    • The Cat in the Hat has several Curse Cut Short moments, hidden innuendos, sexually suggestive moments, a Fun with Acronyms moment where a vehicle's original name would spell out a curse word (but it's never said), and a moment in which the Cat calls a garden hoe "dirty", all of this which almost ended up making the film PG-13. The Seuss estate was not happy with this and put a kibosh on all future live-action adaptations of Dr. Seuss works.
  • Eddie (1996): Though Siskel & Ebert disagreed on the actual film, Gene Siskel cited the Whoopi Goldberg movie's only real reason for being PG-13 was an unexpected Precision F-Strike and that he didn't understand why they did that. Roger Ebert's answer was that the filmmakers believed people would either ignore it or not be interested if it was only PG.
  • Even in 1977, many regarded the "G" rating as a warning for schmaltz, being beautifully lampshaded in Close Encounters of the Third Kind when Brad responds to his dad's offer to take them all to see Pinocchio, "Who wants to see some dumb movie rated G for kids?" The film itself is rated PG, with a lone use of the word "shit" used to bump up the rating.
  • Inverted in the case of The Conjuring. James Wan shot the film with a PG-13 rating in mind, and it shows, with very little in the way of profanity (one "shit" and a few "damns"), sexual content (a mild reference or two), and even gore (a couple of bloody scenes, but fairly restrained in comparison to some other PG-13 rated horror). Yet, it was rated R, the official reason being "for sequences of disturbing violence and terror," but one of the film's producers said it was simply too scary for a PG-13. Didn't stop it from becoming a Sleeper Hit.
    • If anything it may have helped the movie's box office prospects. It's hard to imagine better free advertising for a horror movie than "The only reason it's rated R is because it's too scary to be PG-13."
  • The shot of Sacha Baron Cohen's penis late in the film seems to have been the only reason why The Dictator was given an R rating as most of the film was clearly shot with a PG-13 in mind. The trailer even appeared with some PG-rated films (such as The Three Stooges).
  • The original 1996 film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma added the word "bitch" (describing a female dog) to escape the G rating.
    • The 2020 adaptation has a brief scene where Mr. Knightley slips his trousers off, with the camera lingering on his bare butt for a few seconds. This did not work in the UK, where it got a U despite the presence of “brief natural nudity.”
  • Eighth Grade inverted this trope. It received an R rating because of a few F-bombs and a scene discussing about oral sex, which director Bo Burnham was disappointed about since he felt the film's message was important, and its target audience won't be allowed to watch it by themselves. Fortunately, distributor A24 offered a free, unrated screening in each U.S. state for a day.
  • The use of the insult "penis breath" (along with maybe the "Uranus" joke) in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, as well as one use of the word "shit", was Spielberg specifically gunning for the PG rating. Ironic, considering the first line was removed in the infamously Lighter and Softer re-release (the one best known for the walkie-talkie guns).
  • In an inversion, a minor controversy erupted over the religious-football movie Facing the Giants receiving a PG rating, as it was rumored that it was the result of the explicit Christian content (though more likely it was the football violence and themes concerning infertility).
  • Flubber had one instance of "damn" inserted just to earn the film a PG rating. Strangely enough, when the film aired on The Wonderful World Of Disney, it had the word seamlessly removed to bring it back down to TV-G.
  • The Live-Action Adaptation of Garfield has one use of "damned" in order to give the film a PG rating.
  • The movie Girls Just Want to Have Fun is almost squeaky clean, save for the moment when Drew tricks a lady into letting him touch her breasts.
  • For much the same reasons as The Queen (i.e., a total lack of appeal to persons under 18 years old), one of the characters in Gosford Park gratuitously uses cluster F bombs on the phone to drive the rating up to an "R". Director Robert Altman was known for doing stunts like this; he wanted R ratings for his films even though the content of some of them often didn't merit it, so he threw in some F-bombs.
  • John Waters thought any chance for Hairspray's success was ruined when it got a PG rating and didn't have time to modify it to target his usual adult audience. Instead, the lighter approach made it a major success, although he has had issues with people mistaking his other movies for family fare without looking at the rating.
  • The fact that The Happening was M. Night Shyamalan's first R-rated film was a huge marketing point. Despite there being very little gore (plenty of off-camera violence and Gory Discretion Shots here) no sex or nudity, and to memory, two swear words: "pussy" and "bitch".
  • In America, the 1997 biopic The Harmonists gained an R rating purely for some quick shots of nudity. Other than that and some intense scenes, the film otherwise contains no real objectionable content, and sex is neither shown nor discussed.
  • The sixth Harry Potter film was rated "PG" after the two previous installments had merited "PG-13". In the UK, contrary to the trend seen so far on this page, it retained the same 12/12A rating as the fourth and fifth films. Despite the rating, it was arguably the most violent and frightening of any of the movies up to that point. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was later released in ancillary markets as a PG-13. The Harry Potter series is an interesting case, because its ratings history is very messy. The first two films were still considered candidates for a PG-13 rating, and were rated accordingly in countries like Finland, Austria, New Zealand, Brazil, and Peru. Also, Goblet of Fire, Deathly Hallows Part 1, and Deathly Hallows Part 2 were reportedly all edited to an extent from an R/15 rating, Mike Newell and various other sources citing "some scenes of violence and emotional intensity" as reasons for the films' near R classification. Deathly Hallows Part 1 was even briefly and officially labeled as a 15. Prisoner of Azkaban also ended up receiving an M rating in New Zealand and Australia and the equivalent in many other countries.
    • It's likely the infamous scene of naked Harry and Hermione making out in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was added to further its PG-13 rating (though it was also likely added to keep the parents of the tween girls in the Potter fandom in the theaters). The same likely goes for Mrs. Weasely saying "Not my daughter you bitch!" in Deathly Hallows Part 2.
  • A racial slur briefly used in the movie of The Help is what mainly gives it a PG-13 rating, but like Stranger Than Fiction, the whole pie scene probably would've put it in between PG and PG-13, so the racial slur was probably added to push it over.
  • Hidden Figures was rated PG, despite the filmmakers likely aiming for a PG-13 with the occasional use of words like "shit." Because of this, schools felt more comfortable taking students to see the film on field trips.
  • Indiana Jones occasionally says swear words ("shit" several times across his movies, what may be a severely muffled "fuck" in Raiders of the Lost Ark) probably for this very reason, just to make absolutely sure that movies featuring people melting, people on fire, people getting stabbed by walls, beating hearts being ripped out of chests, rapid ageing, and exploding lightning Nazis would not be shown to small children. Considering most advertisements played up the film's connection to George Lucas, that didn't help much.
  • Invictus would probably be PG for sports-related violence and a few curse words. A Precision F-Strike, used by the team captain as motivation, got it a PG-13.
  • The King's Speech, a biopic about Prince Albert, the Duke of York; later King George VI, and his struggle with stuttering. It was rated R after two scenes that involved a Cluster F-Bomb. Other than that, there's no violence or sexual situations. Without the cluster F-bombs, or any of the other swear words briefly stated, this film could've been rated PG.
    • In the UK, it was originally classified as a 15 rating. The distributor appealed this - as is always their right. The BBFC reconsidered, taking into account the non-aggressive, non-directed and therapeutic use, and re-rated to a 12/12A with the warning "Contains strong language in a speech therapy context".
  • La La Land was rated PG-13 solely for "some language." It's believed that it would have actually gotten a PG-rating were it not for a single F-bomb uttered by Ryan Gosling's character.
  • The Little Rascals (1994) was given a PG rating for rude humor, most notably the "Finders keepers, losers suck!"/"Oh, bite me!" exchange.
  • According to director James Mangold allowing Logan to be R-rated was important, not so much for violent content, but for style: "For me, what was most interesting in getting the studio to okay an R-rating was something entirely different. They suddenly let go of the expectation that this film is going to play for children, and when they let go of that, you are free in a myriad of ways. The scenes can be longer. Ideas being explored in dialogue or otherwise can be more sophisticated. Storytelling pace can be more poetic, and less built like attention-span-deficit theater."
    • That being said, it actually got lower ratings in France (-12 with warnings) and French Canada (13+) in spite of all the violence and profanity.
      • To be fair, it's not too surprising to see R-rated movies receive a 13+ rating in Quebec/French Canada. Just like many PG-13 movies tend to be rated G "Not recommended for young children" there.
  • The found-footage horror movie Lucky Bastard earned an NC-17 because the plot took place on the set of a porn film. During a Q&A following the film's NYC premiere, co-writer Lukas Kendall recalled how the MPAA offered to suggest cuts to qualify for an R rating - many of which were contextually ridiculous. (One example: a sex scene at the four-minute mark that, despite showing no genitalia, much less penetration, featured "skin on skin contact." An incredulous Kendall retorted "But that's what happens during sex!") By the time the film got to the seven-minute mark, the MPAA notes had grown so long that Kendall and film-making partner Robert Nathan threw up their hands in disgust and accepted the NC-17. They went on to write a stinging indictment of the rating and why it needed to be abolished.
  • The film adaptation of Madeline had Lord Cucuface yelling "Damn!" and one of the girls playing with Helen the cook's bra to bump it to a PG rating.
  • Woody Allen's 2014 film Magic in the Moonlight is quite mild in content, especially for a Woody Allen film, with only some references to past affairs, occasional mild language and historically accurate racial stereotyping and smoking to worry about. It would have been PG, were it not for a throwaway line in the first few minutes where a character says he might be accused of sodomy.
  • Averted with Mission to Mars: Despite a sequence where an astronaut is literally ripped apart by a powerful dust storm vortex, in all its bloody stumpage, the film still somehow got slapped with a family-friendly PG (although the film itself does not share that demographic).
  • A brief Cluster F-Bomb in a tirade by Louis B. Mayer to Herman Mankiewicz towards the end of Mank bumps it to an R rating. Aside from that, there is nothing that could not be accommodated at PG-13 (and, indeed, it was rated at the equivalent in many other countries).
  • The Muppets was rated PG for "mild rude humor", which might have gotten it a G had it come out in The '80s.
  • My Dinner with Andre was not submitted to the MPAA at all, perhaps for this reason. There is very little in this movie that would place it past a PG rating, but at the same time it is a very philosophical, cerebral film only suitable for a mature audience.
  • Gramercy requested Tom Servo say "shit" a couple of times in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie to bump up to a PG-13. Some sexually suggestive and drug-related jokes helped get the rating, as well.
  • Inversion: the 1971 Elaine May / Walter Matthau film A New Leaf (which May co-wrote and has since disowned) was given a G rating, in spite of the fact that "damn" was used several times, "son of a bitch" twice, and there was a scene of one of Matthau's suitors about to take off her bikini top.
  • Nomadland has a brief scene with the lead character Fern (played by Frances McDormand) relaxing in a river fully nude to earn the film its R rating. Aside from that one moment, there's practically nothing risqué about the film.
  • Ocean's Eleven has two noticeably gratuitous F-bombs, (though one is clearly Played for Laughs being used by Yen, who doesn't speak English) contrasting the rest of the movie, which is squeaky-clean. Apparently it was added to secure a PG-13.
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles has Steve Martin drop a Cluster F-Bomb to give the movie its R rating. John Hughes specifically wrote it in because he feared audiences would mistake the movie for another of his teen-oriented comedies.
  • The Australian movie Playing Beatie Bow bears the PG label on the DVD cover. The reason? Abigail says "Oh, shit" towards the end. It even feels forced, as otherwise the movie is clean (and based on a YA novel to boot)
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu is the first film in the Pokémon universe to receive a PG ratingnote , and it shows. The violence is much more realistic than what we're used to, characters die on-screen, there are moments of profanity (a first for Western adaptations of the franchise), and Pokémon are seen directly attacking humans or cities, the last of which is not seen explicitly in the games. Believe it or not, this actually makes the movie closer to the original generation than the current ones.
  • The 2008 remake of Prom Night was given a PG-13 rating to attract a younger teen audience, and thus, was almost completely devoid of any and all blood and gore, in contrast to the original Prom Night, which retains its R-rating to this day. In Australia, the remake oddly got the same M (advisory 15+) rating that the original did. The original still carries an M rating as it was last submitted in 1985, which was before the stronger MA 15+ was introduced (1993), which it would most likely earn if it was submitted today.
  • Psycho was originally rated M for its first reissue in 1968, which was a rough equivalent to an early PG rating. When the film was reissued again in 1984, there was an uproar over the content in PG-rated films, and the film was given an R-rating, which stands today. Later that year, the MPAA introduced the PG-13 rating, and many believe that the film would have received that rating were it available.
  • The Queen is a dialogue and mood driven character study, and got a PG-13 rating. No sex, no violence. But there's a lone f-word buried in the dialog so deeply it's easy to not even notice. Not that the movie really appeals to anyone under the age of 13. Similarly and for the same reason, it was rated 12 in the UK.
  • The Santa Clause achieved a PG through some sprinkled profanities and thinly-veiled jokes about LSD and phone-sex hotlines by Tim Allen. When such dialogue is censored on TV airings in the United States (the phone sex hotline joke was removed entirely as a result of Executive Meddling), it gets a TV-G. Averted by the sequels which all have G-ratings.
  • Inversion: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was originally going to have Envy's line "Shut the fuck up, Julie" uncensored, and have Stephen saying "You know how I feel about girls cock-blocking the rock", but if they did have this, it would have landed the movie an R rating (plus, the movie had mentioning of gay sex, an orgasm scene, and one use of "cock" already, so the movie was close to getting an R rating as it was), thus the F-bomb was censored, and Stephen's line was censored by amp feedback.
  • The live-action Scooby-Doo movie was originally planned to have a PG-13, and be more of a teen-oriented parody relying on humor fit for college students, such as jokes about Shaggy and Scooby-Doo being stoners and Velma possibly being a lesbian. The original cut even received an R rating at first because of a single joke that referenced oral sex. However, Warner Bros. felt that in order for a Scooby-Doo film to make money, it must be marketed to kids, and the film was heavily edited down to get a PG. The film is still the tribute/parody it set out to be, just with cleaner humor. On Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network airings, the allegedly cleaner moments were toned down further, mostly via cutting a few scattered instances of mild language, to make it TV-G.
  • Scream was originally given an NC-17 by the MPAA, and Wes Craven was forced to make many cuts to bring it down to an R. For Scream 2, Craven expected to be given another NC-17, so he put far more blood and gore than he wanted to have more options when it came time to cut it down. To his surprise, the film was still given an R.
  • The film of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility was sneaky with this trope; the filmmakers there avoided the G rating by inserting some profanities into the background din of a ballroom scene.
  • Snakes on a Plane: The movie originally was to be rated PG-13, so a scene where a couple have sex was added in to bump it up to R.
  • Sneakers is not a kids' movie, nor is it exactly "light, family-friendly fare", but it has very little violence and no sex. In order to prevent the movie from getting a G (or even a PG) rating, which would have been disastrous on several levels, the directors added foul language and some references to sexuality to bump it to PG-13, including a Precision MF-Strike from none other than Sidney Poitier.
  • Spaceballs subverts it, Big-style, by containing the line "'Out of order?!' Fuck! Even in the future, nothing works!", which by all accounts should have earned it a PG-13. It squeaked by with a PG anyway.
  • In the 1986 film SpaceCamp, "shit" is uttered twice, one by one of the teenagers. "Goddamn" is also said at least once. It was ultimately rated PG.
  • Space Jam had the usage of the words "hell", "sucks" and "screwed" to bump up the film to a PG.
  • Possibly gunning for a PG-13, the Wachowski's Speed Racer film uses the word "shit" twice, notably by Speed himself in shouting "Get that weak shit off my track!", as well as a character giving the middle finger. The film still only got a PG rating.
  • Star Trek: Generations. Commander Data says "Oh shit" as the Enterprise started its dive into a planet's atmosphere so it would avoid a G rating. It ended up rated PG.
  • In the 2001 director's cut of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the rating was deliberately pushed up to PG. The new cut is still just barely PG (even taking into account on-screen references to sexuality and oaths of celibacy). Paramount ignored this trope entirely with the Blu-Ray of the theatrical version, opting to place a "Not Rated" tag on the packaging. In the UK it was rated U.
  • According to Hollywood legend, Star Wars: A New Hope came back from the ratings board with a notice that it had fallen squarely between G and PG (this despite the fact the film has a scene of dismemberment and the camera focusing on the severed limb, blood and all). The producers requested it be given the PG rating.
  • Street Fighter was aiming at PG-13, but its first pass got an R rating due to the violence. After some desperate re-editing, the violence had been scaled so far back that it got a dreaded G, so the filmmakers added a scene where Guile says, "four years of ROTC for this shit" to nudge it into the sweet spot of PG-13.
  • The movie of Stuart Little got a PG rating by having the villains occasionally say "damn" or "hell."
  • Related to this trope, and Rated M for Money, the horror movie parody, Student Bodies, had this scene in the middle of the film, in which an announcer appears and explains, "Ladies and gentlemen, in order to achieve an "R" rating today, a motion picture must contain full frontal nudity, graphic violence, or an explicit reference to the sex act. Since this film has none of those, and since research has proven that R-rated films are by far the most popular with the moviegoing public, the producers of this motion picture have asked me to take this opportunity to say "Fuck you."note 
  • Inverted with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974; Director Tobe Hooper tried to put as little bloodshed into the film as possible to secure a PG rating, only to initially get an X rating based on the strong menace throughout and disturbing subject matter. Several minutes had to be cut just for the director to get an R rating.
  • Averted for Top Gun. Despite a fairly obvious sex scene, the film was rated PG in its original release. It was eventually reclassified PG-13.
  • Topsy-Turvy would bore kids, but if you want to make it G, all you have to do is cut an optional scene with topless (and fleetingly bottomless) prostitutes. Also, one character uses the word "fucking" which was not in general use as a swear word at the time. He immediately lampshades it by saying "Pardon my Anglo-Saxon."
  • We Bought a Zoo had three uses of "shit", two uses of "asshole" and one use of "dick" (that last word is said by a 7-year-old) in order to try and push the movie up to PG-13 for language, as other than grieving over the death of a mom, the movie is pretty clean. However, their efforts did not work and the movie still got a PG.
  • The Wings of the Dove takes place during the Edwardian Era and the film's tone matches its reserved and repressed setting for most of the running time. Thus, its content would likely merit no worse than a PG-13 or even PG rating. However, this abruptly changes near the end when a graphic sex scene involving two of the main characters pushes the movie firmly into R-rated territory.
  • In 1970, The Wizard of Oz was reissued with a G rating. In 2013, the 3D reissue was slapped with a PG "for some scary moments," though the unaltered version retains its G. The author of this article worries that this might signal the end of the G rating.
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?, a documentary about Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, got a PG-13 on the account of a particularly salty crew member who is interviewed here.
  • There was an aborted attempt in the 2000s by Moral Guardians to get classic Hollywood films like Casablanca re-rated from G or PG to R due to the fact characters are shown smoking in them.

  • Life, the Universe and Everything features the "Award for the Most Gratuitous Use of the Word 'Fuck' in a Serious Screenplay", a reference to this trope. It's also arguably an example, as the word "fuck" is rarely used in the books otherwise. As the radio adaptation was broadcast at 6.30pm, there was always a convenient starship engine roar whenever the award in question was discussed.
    • The American edition of the book uses the word "Belgium" instead. It is still a reference to this trope, since the text explains that "Belgium" is the vilest swear word imaginable on every planet in the galaxy...except Earth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The tendency of rap music to do something similar was lampshaded in one episode of Bones, where Booth offers to charge a rapper with a crime—that would be dismissed in short order—to increase his record sales, as long as he cooperates.
  • Just like Peter Morgan's aforementioned The Queen, the Netflix series The Crown (2016) fits this trope. The series is a character study about Queen Elizabeth II, but with some edgier content (namely, some medical gore and occasional nudity) - no worse than most TV-14 rated cable dramas, though. A crude limerick in the first episode that uses a certain swear word, and a Precision F-Strike in the fifth, take the series as a whole into TV-MA territory despite its benign nature - certainly compared to other original series with TV-MA ratings on the service.
    • Season 2 is very much the same, except for Episode 7, which contains several scenes of the Queen’s photographer brother-in-law, Tony Armstrong-Jones, cheating on his wife, including a fairly lurid threesome with a married couple. It’s telling that this episode, Episode 1 of Season 1 (the one with the limerick), and Episodes 4 and 7 of Season 4 are the only episodes of The Crown rated 15 by the BBFC; all of the other episodes are either rated PG or 12.
    • Season 3 was rated TV-MA for almost no reason. The only possible bits of offensive material are the overall tense opening of the "Aberfan" episode, and one use of "shit" in the final episode.
    • Season 4 is much the same, with only a Cluster F-Bomb in "Fagan" and another use of "cunt" in the final episode veering towards TV-MA territory.
  • Parodied on the Saturday Night Live movie trailer parody The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders, a home invasion horror movie as done by Wes Anderson. Despite all the scenes of violence and gore, it's still rated "G".
  • "Children of the Gods", the pilot episode of Stargate SG-1, has a scene that features several minutes of full-frontal female nudity. This comes as a shocker to the audience, as another character was previously shown in similar circumstances, but the audience only sees her back above the waist. Apparently, this was done solely to appease Showtime, the network the show originally aired on, because "premium cable channels have to have nudity." The explicit nudity was cut when the series went to syndication and in its Channel Hop to the Sci-Fi Channel, as well as when the pilot episode was recut into a feature-length Direct-to-DVD film, but is retained on the DVD collection of the series.
  • Ratings used for home video releases of TV series in Canada tend to be far more permissive than those used in the US, sometimes to the chagrin of viewers. Girls, Shameless (US) and Outlander are examples of extremely sexually explicit series that air in the US with the TV-MA rating, yet in Canada get only a 14A (and in Quebec a 13) rating. It's not uncommon to even come across TV-MA shows with a PG rating.
  • Canadian network TV broadcasts often pump up the ratings based upon the time an episode airs. For example, most episodes of Supergirl (2015) and Once Upon a Time, because they tend to air (depending on time zone) around the 9 PM mark carry 14+ (the Canadian equivalent of TV-14) despite these shows usually never including content stronger than PG; in particular, Supergirl (which is usually rated TV-14 in the US) is promoted as family-friendly.
  • Subverted by Ellen. When Ellen DeGeneres and her character Ellen Morgan came out in 1997, ABC rated every subsequent episode TV-14 and aired a disclaimer before every episode warning for "adult content" as well, regardless of any actual subject matter. This certainly did not help the show's ratings and it was canceled after one more season. Within a few years, syndicated repeats of the series were rated TV-G.

    Video Games 
Despite the forbidden-fruit appeal of M-rated games, this trope is rare in gaming — the "E" rating just doesn't carry the kiddie stigma that "G" does. This is mainly because, despite the rise of T and M-rated offerings at the Turn of the Millennium, Nintendo has remained a major player in the industry. Most of its franchises are E-rated, with their most popular (namely Super Mario Bros. and Pokémon) being among the most well-known and successful video game franchises of all-time. As such, most examples happen for somewhat obtuse reasons:
  • Custom Robo for the Game Cube: aside from some periodic flirting by the resident womanizer character, and some robot-on-robot violence, there is absolutely nothing in the game that warrants a T rating. There IS, however, a massive amount of reading/text involved in the story, and several of the battles can get quite challenging, so presumably it would be frustrating for younger gamers to get through. Custom Robo Arena for the DS, however, only got an E10+ despite similar a setup (though in fairness, the E10+ rating didn't yet exist when the Game Cube Custom Robo was first released).
  • Aside from the occasional innuendo or heavy theme that kids wouldn't understand, the Updated Rereleases of Final Fantasies I through VI have almost entirely clean translations. Presumably for reasons pertaining to this trope, these translations also have several (very) occasional PG-level swear words - enough for the ESRB to complain about, but used sparingly enough to market the games towards general audiences.
  • Basically nothing in Knytt Underground would warrant anything higher than an E rating. It owes its M rating to the entire existence of the character Cilia, whose apparent first - and only - language is Cluster F-Bomb.
  • Bionic Commando Rearmed could've been a T-rated game if it didn't show not-Hitler's head graphically exploding into bits just like in the NES original, but the developers insisted on being faithful.
  • Psychonauts features a few tiny uses of red blood (most noticeable example is when you step on the lungfish in Lungfishopolis, who will be laying in a big puddle of blood) and a few awkward curse words, presumably to bump the game up to a T rating. Without them, there's very little in terms of objectionable content in the game to justify a rating higher than an E or E10+, but the themes it deals with are heavy and/or creepy enough that marketing the game to kids wouldn't have really worked. They just needed to add things the ESRB would actually object to.
  • Inversion: Shadow the Hedgehog was going to get a Teen rating because of blood and a depiction of Maria being shot on-screen. This was on top of the Darker and Edgier story, swearing, and gun use, as the game was intended for older fans. The recent introduction of the E10+ rating gave SEGA an easy out after a backlash to the reveal. The blood color of the alien enemies were changed to green and human enemies merely get incapacitated without bleeding. The game ends the flashback of Maria being shot as soon as we hear the gunshot, the intro cut out a scene where a soldier was shot, and the swearing was cut to down to a load of forced "damns."
  • The Wonderful 101 would've easily gotten an E or E10+ rating if it weren't for Pink, Vijounne, and Immorta's boob/butt/crotch close-ups, a penis innuendo ("Compensating for something, Baby Blue?"), and swearing ("hell" uncensored, and a couple of stronger ones bleeped out). But due to how hard the game is, and due to the mature themes the game deals with, the developers had to add in content that would keep the ESRB from rating it E or E10+.
  • Appears to be the case with Splatoon, similar to the Disney examples above. The main draw of the game, the multiplayer campaign, consists entirely of two groups of cute squid-people trying to paint more of an area than the other. (The single-player campaign is slightly darker, but still relatively child-friendly.) There is hardly any morally objectionable content beyond the use of cartoony, unrealistic weapons. It was rated E10+ for "Cartoon Violence".
  • Inverted by an Ikki Tousen game originally set to be released in the US entitled Shining Dragon. The distributor was gunning for a lower rating, and ended up ultimately canceling the release out of fear the M rating would impact sales.
  • After the first two SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters games got E ratings, the third one was given a T thanks to some highly sexualized costumes seen on the cards.
  • Furi probably would have gotten a T or even an E10+ rating if it wasn't for a single F-bomb dropped in the game. The fact that early trailers stated it was rated T means they probably added it to the game to invoke this trope.
  • Little Dragons Café is a cute, brightly colored game where you're a kid running a cafe because your mother is ill. Despite being no worse than Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon, it has a "E10+" rating for Mild Fantasy Violence and Language. This "language" refers to a few "Damn it"'s by Maurice.
  • The Forza Horizon series actually went increasingly Lighter and Softer with its content over time, likely to bring in a wider audience, yet each subsequent entry has garnered higher and higher praise. The first Forza Horizon was released with a T rating for drug reference, language, and suggestive themes, mostly in its radio dialogue and soundtrack, despite that what is there in the game is pretty tame compared to other T-rated games. Horizon 2 brought it down to E10+ for mild lyrics, mild suggestive themes, and mild violence. Horizon 3 was the first entry to get an E rating, only being hit with descriptors for mild lyrics and mild violence, and Horizon 4 shook off the descriptors altogether, although it led to Playground Games having to release an update that censored lyrics from several songs and even removed one song entirely.

    Web Comics 
  • Tailsteak wrote a comic on the stinger to his hypothetical movie; said stinger consists of him in person saying a wall of swear words to boost the movie's rating up from PG to PG-13.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

Alternative Title(s): Rated C For Cash


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: