How different film genres can be rated

Common examples of ratings applied in Alberta for different film genres.

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Film classification process

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Overview

While every film is unique, films within the same genre have similar kinds of content. To gain a better understanding of how Alberta’s film rating system works, it can be useful to compare how different ratings can be applied to common film genres.

What to expect in films rated G

Films rated G:

  • include content that is deemed to be of little or no harm to people of all ages
  • do not receive any advisories
  • are suitable viewing for children but this rating does not guarantee that the films will be of interest to children

Films are usually placed in a higher ratings category when they feature strong and/or crude coarse language, or when violence is the main feature.

G-rated animated films

  • Conflict and tension are allowed but it is generally understood that things will work out in the end.
  • Violence is mild and is often in a slapstick context.
  • Limited frightening scenes are allowed, provided they are brief and exciting as opposed to menacing.

Examples of animated films rated G in Alberta:

G-rated family films

  • Humour is often the goal of these films and they tend to contain some mild coarse language and crude content (such as fart jokes).
  • These films often feature suggestive jokes that adults understand but that go “over the heads” of children.

Examples of family films rated G in Alberta:

G-rated documentaries

  • These films are non-fiction and may cover a wide range of subject matter such as music and concerts, animals and nature, or visual arts and museums.
  • Some limited and mild coarse language is allowed.
  • Nudity is allowed as long as it is in a non-sexual context, such as in art or cultural contexts.

Examples of documentaries rated G in Alberta:

What to expect in films rated PG

Depending on the tone, frequency, and detail of these elements, films rated PG can include:

  • coarse language
  • violence
  • sexually suggestive scenes
  • nudity
  • substance abuse

Coarse language included in these films tends to be mild. Some use of strong coarse language, including the f-word, can be allowed.

With the exception of documentary films, scenes of violence, sexual activity or substance abuse are understood as dramatizations and not considered real.

  • Films that feature bloody and brutal violence are usually placed in a higher category.

PG-rated action films

Common advisories can include:

  • Violence
  • Frightening Scenes
  • Not Recommended For Young Children

Adventure or excitement is the main purpose and violence and frightening scenes are frequently featured in these films.

  • Considerable violence is permitted, provided it contains limited blood and detail.
  • Frightening scenes are allowed, provided they are more thrilling than terrifying and in a context such as fantasy or science fiction.

Examples of action films rated PG in Alberta:

PG-rated comedies

Common advisories can include:

  • Coarse Language
  • Nudity
  • Crude Content

Humour is the goal of these films and they tend to contain coarse language and some crude content.

  • These films often feature suggestive jokes that adults understand but are generally not comprehended by children.

Sexual innuendo, gestures and scenes alluding to sexual activity can be permitted, as long as they:

  • are not overly detailed
  • include little to no nudity

These films may contain brief breast or buttock nudity, but it generally won't be in sexually-focused scenes.

Examples of comedies rated PG in Alberta:

  • Central Intelligence movie poster
    Central Intelligence

    Certification rationale:

  • Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie poster.
    The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

    Certification rationale:

  • Dumb and Dumber To poster
    Dumb And Dumber To

    Certification rationale:

PG-rated dramas

Common advisories can include:

  • Coarse Language
  • Mature Subject Matter
  • Sexual Content
  • Not Recommended For Young Children

Content in these films can vary widely and is evaluated in relation to the context of the film.

  • For example, brief breast and buttock nudity can be allowed in locker rooms, bathing, modelling and dance contexts.
  • Sexually suggestive scenes tend to contain little to no nudity and little detail.
  • Substance use is restrained and is usually in recreational or historical contexts.

Examples of dramas rated PG in Alberta:

PG-rated documentaries

Common advisories can include:

  • Coarse Language
  • Disturbing Content
  • Mature Subject Matter
  • Not Recommended For Young Children

Documentaries are non-fiction and can often highlight serious societal issues and feature mature subject matter.

  • A wider range of language is permitted in documentaries rated PG provided it is not overly crude, aggressive or sexual.
  • Nudity is allowed depending on context:
    • For example, in bathing, modelling, dance or cultural contexts

Examples of documentaries rated PG in Alberta:

  • Scientology film poster
    Going Clear: Scientology & The Prison Of Belief

    Classification rationale:

  • Where To Invade Next
    Where To Invade Next

    Classification rationale:

  • I Am Not Your Negro movie poster
    I Am Not Your Negro

    Classification rationale:

What to expect in films rated 14A

Films rated 14A are typically considered appropriate for high-school aged audiences and up. Generally, they can include:

  • strong coarse language
  • violence
  • frightening scenes
  • sexual activity
  • nudity
  • substance abuse

Frequent coarse language can be expected in films rated 14A, including:

  • the f-word
  • slurs
  • aggressive or sexual language

Violence can be bloody, detailed and can include scenes of brutality and torture, but violence is not lingered on and torture is brief.

Scenes of sexual activity with breast and buttock nudity are permitted, but sexual activity is not usually prolonged.

Films with glorified or gratuitous violence or drug use, as well as those that feature prolonged sexual activity, are usually placed in a higher ratings category.

With the exception of documentary films, scenes of violence, sexual activity or substance abuse are understood as dramatizations and not considered real.

14A-rated action films

Common advisories can include:

  • Brutal Violence
  • Coarse Language
  • Not Recommended For Children
  • Nudity

Violence is the main feature and frequent, often bloody, violence is expected.

Some sexual violence can be permitted if it is brief and lacks detail.

  • Films that feature detailed sexual violence or human suffering are usually placed in a higher ratings category.

Examples of action films rated 14A in Alberta:

  • Deadpool
    Deadpool

    Classification rationale:

  • Kingsman movie poster
    Kingsman: The Secret Service

    Classification rationale:

  • Bahubali movie poster
    Baahubali: The Beginning

    Classification rationale:

14A-rated comedies

Common advisories can include:

  • Coarse Language
  • Crude Content
  • Not Recommended For Children
  • Nudity
  • Sexual Content
  • Substance Abuse

These films usually include crude, raunchy sexual language and scenes.

  • Sexual activity and nudity is comedic in tone, and occasionally male genitalia or female frontal nudity is shown.

Infrequent and recreational drug use included for comedic effect can be permitted.

  • Glorified or glamourized drug use is generally not permitted in films rated 14A

Examples of comedies rated 14A in Alberta:

14A-rated dramas

Common advisories can include:

  • (Gory) Brutal Violence
  • Coarse Language
  • Disturbing Content
  • Mature Subject Matter
  • Not Recommended for Children
  • Sexual Content

Dramas usually have a serious theme or tone and can feature a wide range of content, including violence, sexual content, nudity and substance abuse.

  • Violence that is brutal, detailed and even gory can be permitted provided it is portrayed in context, such as war or historical contexts.
  • Sexual content may include breast and buttock nudity.
  • Male and female frontal and genital nudity can be permitted, depending on context:
    • for example, in locker rooms, bathing, modelling or dance contexts
  • Illegal substance abuse is often portrayed in a trafficking or addiction context and not glamourized.

Examples of dramas rated 14A in Alberta:

14A-rated horror films

Common advisories can include:

  • Frightening Scenes
  • Disturbing Content
  • (Gory) Violence

Fear or suspense is the purpose and frequent frightening scenes, including nightmarish imagery, and some disturbing content are expected.

Violence can be bloody and some detail can be  allowed, as long as the film doesn’t include:

  • detailed sexual violence or human suffering
  • gore as the main feature

Examples of horror films rated 14A in Alberta:

14A-rated documentaries

Common advisories can include:

  • Coarse Language
  • Disturbing Content
  • Mature Subject Matter
  • Not Recommended For Children
  • Sexual Violence

Documentaries are non-fiction and 14A-rated documentaries can show or discuss a wide range of mature subject matter, including:

  • violence
  • torture
  • genocide
  • sexual violence
  • suicide
  • addiction

It is expected that audiences understand that documentaries about difficult subject matter will contain detailed references to the subject matter.

The detail and intensity of these references can be greater than what would normally be permitted in a fictional 14A-rated film.

Examples of documentaries rated 14A in Alberta:

What to expect in films rated 18A

Films rated 18A generally include:

  • strong violence
  • frightening scenes
  • sexual content
  • nudity
  • substance abuse

While some films may include portrayals of torture or sexual violence, those that focus on graphic or detailed portrayals are usually placed in a higher ratings category.

Films that feature unsimulated sexual content, as in adult films, are not permitted in films rated 18A.

18A-rated action films

Common advisories can include:

  • (Gory) Brutal Violence

These films focus on violence and generally contain gory and brutal violence.

Scenes of torture and human suffering, as well as limited sexual violence are permitted.

Examples of action films rated 18A in Alberta:

18A-rated comedies

Common advisories can include:

  • Coarse Language
  • Crude Sexual Content
  • Nudity
  • Substance Abuse

Comedies at this level frequently include detailed crude, raunchy and sexual language and content, including scenes of sexual activity.

  • Frequent female frontal and male genital nudity is allowed, including nudity in a sexual context.

Drug use can be frequent and detailed.

Examples of comedies rated 18A in Alberta:

  • Sausage Party movie poster
    Sausage Party

    Classification rationale:

  • The Brothers Grimsby
    The Brothers Grimsby

    Classification rationale:

  • Trailer Park Boys movie poster
    Trailer Park Boys: Don't Legalize It

    Classification rationale:

18A-rated dramas

Common advisories can include:

  • Disturbing Content
  • Sexual Content
  • Nudity
  • Violence
  • Substance Abuse

These films can contain a wide variety of content and difficult subject matter.

Frequent and detailed scenes of sexual activity, including those that feature male or female frontal nudity, are permitted.

  • Films that include explicit and unsimulated sex are placed in a higher ratings category.

Detailed and even glamourized drug use is allowed.

Examples of dramas rated 18A in Alberta:

18A-rated horror films

Common advisories can include:

  • Disturbing Content
  • (Gory) Brutal Violence

At this level, horror films often focus on bloody and gory violence.

Torture is permitted, provided it does not dwell on human suffering, and limited sexual violence is allowed.

  • Films that feature detailed and prolonged scenes of torture or sexual violence are usually placed in a higher ratings category.

Examples of horror films rated 18A in Alberta:

What to expect in films rated R

Films rated R can contain an array of content that many adults would find disturbing, including:

  • detailed violence
  • sexual violence
  • unsimulated sexual activity

R-rated dramas

Common advisories can include:

  • Explicit Sexual Content
  • Disturbing Content
  • Sexual Violence

Dramas rated R can include a wide range of graphic, disturbing content.

  • Films containing detailed and prolonged violence, including torture and sexual violence with prolonged human suffering, are placed here.
  • Prolonged, detailed and/or explicit sexual content is placed here, including unsimulated sexual activity that features genital contact as in adult films.

Examples of dramas rated R in Alberta:

R-rated horror films

Common advisories can include:

  • Disturbing Content
  • (Gory) Brutal Violence
  • Sexual Violence

Horror films rated R often feature graphic and disturbing violence

  • Films featuring prolonged and detailed scenes of torture and human suffering, as well as sexual violence are placed here

Examples of horror films rated R in Alberta: