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This Film is Not Yet Rated- Melissa Green

I have always been struck by the nonsensical way in which films have been rated. I remember watching "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" for the first time and being amazed at the fact that it had a PG rating, despite the near-constant violence. However, because there was no bad language or sex, I guess it's okay for children to witness the killing of dozens of people on screen. At least that's what the MPAA would have us believe. They definitely would consider sex and sexuality to be more subversive than violence, which is not surprising considering the conservative "family values" make-up of the board. Violence has become standard in film, and in a sense an essential part of the American film. Think for a moment about the most popular and successful movies of all time: The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Jaws, Harry Potter, etc. They all have violence that is central to the plot of the film. I believe this "need" for violence in film is part due to the patriotic war films of the 1940s. Having the violence of war be glorified on the screen made violence in film a patriotic duty. Sex in film is rated much harsher. Part of this may be because of a belief that sex in film will unite the Hollywood film industries and the porn industries. More likely however, is the puritanical attitude that the board and other conservative groups have towards sex. I just find it horribly ironic that it is more acceptable to show violence and death on screen than sex, an act that brings life.