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Top PG-13 Movies Have More Gun Violence Than R Rated Films

When the first “Die Hard” and “Terminator” movies landed in theaters in the 1980s, both were rated R. But their sequels arrived with PG-13 marks — even though the level of violence had actually escalated.


‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ (1985) | ‘The Hunger Games’ (2012)  (Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures, Lionsgate)

Critics have blasted Hollywood’s movie ratings for years, claiming that the Motion Picture Assn. of America takes a prudish view of sex and foul language but a very liberal one when it comes to mayhem and bloodshed.

A new report provides strong evidence for that critique, concluding that gunplay has tripled within PG-13 films since 1985, the first full year the rating was used. Last year, PG-13 films were actually more violent than films rated R.

“We were absolutely stunned,” said Brad Bushman of Ohio State University, co-author of the report published Monday in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “The MPAA website clearly says that R-rated films contain more violence. But PG-13 films now contain significantly more violence than R-rated films.”

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