Dan Glickman cheers as ratings turn 40

MPAA chief points to 80% approval among parents

NEW YORK -- MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman on Wednesday lauded the movie ratings system in the U.S., which turns 40 on Nov. 1, as "synonymous with the First Amendment ... with political, artistic and creative expression in this country."

Addressing the Media Institute in Washington, he also defended the system against critics who have suggested it should make more policy and moral judgments.

"It is the world's only voluntary, nongovernmental film rating system" and must give parents clear information about a movie's content to let them decide for themselves if it's OK for their children, Glickman said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.

"Ratings do not exist to cast judgment on whether a movie is 'good' or 'bad,' " he said. "The system is not a gatekeeper of society's morality and values. It does not require artists to promote behavior and beliefs deemed socially or morally upright."

He pointed to a near 80% approval ratings among parents of young children as a sign of the system's success.

Glickman also recounted the various updates the ratings system has gone through over the decades, such as the addition of PG-13 in 1984 and the recent introduction of information on smoking.

And he lauded his legendary predecessor Jack Valenti for launching the system. "He left us and me many legacies," Glickman said. "But perhaps his greatest is the rating system."

"Do I occasionally find a film offensive? You bet," the MPAA boss said. "I'm a moviegoer with my own political, social and moral views like anyone else. But that's beside the point of the rating system. It's about information, truth in labeling, allowing diverse voices and visions to be heard and seen, protecting freedom of expression ... all while respecting parents' desire for the information they need to raise their kids according to their beliefs, not those of whoever happens to be in charge at the time in either Washington or Hollywood."