PG-13: shorthand for ‘a bit of violence but don’t expect boobs or F-words’.
Even so, there’s quite a bit more to this classic US cinema rating than you might expect.
Introduced back in the contentious summer of 1984, when Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (monkey brains) and Gremlins (microwaving) came under fire from family audiences keen to see these bumped up to a more adult-appropriate rating, the PG-13 rating filled the void between PG and R.
This marvellous animation from The Dissolve provides us with much of the history behind the rating. From how the outwardly violent but relatively swear-free Red Dawn pretty much set the precedent for the format, to how, more recently, the Irish indie flick Once could be bumped up to an R-rating for dropping the F-bomb more than, ahem, some of it may surprise you.
The video makers don't hold back in their damning assessment of the PG-13 rating's current effect on Hollywood, either, pointing out that both filmmakers and studios will continue to water down adult themes in order to achieve a rating which secures the biggest possible box office gross possible.
We're still getting over the terrible sequel that was Taken 2 (the cleaners). Just not enough Liam Neeson throat-punching for our liking.