Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom and Gremlins revolutionized how the MPAA rates movies and led to the birth of the PG-13 rating.
Two films released in the summer of 1984, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom and Wisps, revolutionized the way the MPA (formerly known as the MPAA) rated movies and led to the birth of the PG-13 rating. The voluntary MPA rating system was introduced in the United States in 1968, following the collapse of the Hays Code, the set of guidelines responsible for mass censorship of films for more than 30 years. The MPA originally had four ratings, giving movies a relevant audience: G (suitable for all ages), M (parental guidance recommended and soon replaced by PG in 1972), R (meaning minors must be Accompanied Adult) ) and X (for adult audiences only, later superseded by the infamous NC-17 rating).
When they were released in the summer of 1984, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom and Gremlins both received PG ratings from the MPA. The ratings of the two films caused a lot of controversy among parents and moral guardians due to the supposedly extreme levels of violence in the films. The outrage surrounding the two films led to a new film The age rating, PG-13, would allow for more mature content, such as increased levels of violence and stronger profanity in the film. PG-13 ratings are currently the sweet spot for movie studios because it allows a larger audience than R-rated movies, so most of the highest-grossing movies are released with PG-13 ratings, such as 2022's Biggest A commercially successful film, Top Gun: Maverick.
Why Temple Of Doom & Gremlins Needed A New Rating
Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom and Gremlins pushed the PG ratings to the limit in terms of the level of violence depicted on screen. Highlights include a man's heart being ripped out of his chest in the Temple of Doom, and a gremlin exploding in a microwave into a bloody mess. While violent, these films didn't technically have content that would have pushed them into an R rating, so they all received PG from the MPAA at the time.
However, this does not mean that Temple of Doom and Gremlins were released without issue. Many parents reportedly walked out of screenings with their children, complaining that they were not given enough warning about the level of violence in these films, given their supposed MPAA ratings for age requirements. Controversy Surrounding Two Temples Doom and Gremlins means a change to the MPAA rating is necessary.
How The PG-13 Rating Came To Be
Influential filmmaker Steven Spielberg worked on Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom and Wisps. He directed the former and served as executive producer of the latter. After both films were controversial, Spielberg suggested to his friend Jack Valenti, then head of the Motion Picture Association of America, a new age rating that would bridge the gap between PG and R. A PG-13 rating was announced shortly after, with Patrick Swayze-led war movie Red Dawn the first film to be released with that rating. Since then, most major blockbusters have been released with a PG-13 rating because it allows for more mature content without sacrificing mass audiences. The entire modern film landscape might be completely different without the violence in Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.