Movie Ratings for Australia

In 1988, the Australian Classification, formerly known as the Classification Board of the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), embarked on the journey of identifying media products that should be restricted from children. However, its roots trace back to 1917 when a 3-member board in Melbourne laid the foundation for what would become a comprehensive system of categorizing films, videos, and literature.

The current Australian Classification Board comprises approximately 13 members, excluding support staff. These members, chosen to be broadly representative of the Australian community, bring diverse perspectives to the classification process. It’s interesting to note that parenting experience is not a prerequisite for board membership.

With a team of 3 to 5 members responsible for classifying each film, the Australian film and video ratings employ a straightforward system with clear indicators:

MPAA Movie Ratings for Australia

  • G (General Exhibition): Suitable for all viewers. Importantly, a “G” rating does not imply that the movie is intended for children; rather, it assures that the content is not disturbing or harmful to children.
  • PG (Parental Guidance): Recommended for children under 15 years of age, with parental guidance suggested.
  • M (Mature): Recommended for audiences aged 15 and over. While not legally restricted, movies in this category are not recommended for those under 15.
  • MA (Mature Accompanied): Legally restricted, children under 15 cannot view or rent “MA” films unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.
  • R (Restricted): Legally restricted to adults. No one under 18 may view these movies in a cinema or rent them on videocassette.
  • X (Restricted): Applies to sexually explicit material, restricted to viewers 18 years of age and over.

It’s worth noting that when a movie is released on DVD with additional features, it is considered a unique title, separate from its theatrical release. This distinction can lead to a more restrictive DVD rating due to increased violence, sex, or language in the additional features.

While Australian movie ratings are widely accepted, some states retain the authority to classify movies independently or to overrule the OFLC rating. This dynamic adds an extra layer of complexity to the classification landscape, ensuring that the system remains flexible and responsive to the needs and values of different regions within the country.