Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Multimedia Communication (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Melanie Stone


This thesis analyzes the content within PG-13 and R-rated films from 1984, 1994, 2004, and 2014 to determine if there is any indication of ratings creep. Ratings creep is a term used to describe the increase of adult content in movies; especially in movies aimed at a younger audience. The film industry since the beginning has had to adapt to an ever-changing society. From small silent pictures to big-budget digital productions the film industry has evolved into what it is today, a statement of freedom of expression. It is this freedom of expression, however, that has placed the industry in difficult situations, as society every now and again demands the censorship of Hollywood. After the Production Code of 1930 and the Legion of Decency passed, the MPAA adopted a more ideal form of self-regulation by establishing a prototype of today’s modern movie rating system. CARA, a committee consisting of parents aimed at informing other parents of each film’s content, today determines the rating each movie receives prior to any public screening. This thesis analyzes four categories in each film: profanity, sexuality/nudity, drug/alcohol use, and violence. Although there has been a slight increase in few of the categories the overall results of this content analysis show no hard evidence of ratings creep or an increase in adult content over the past 40 years.

title page.docx (17 kB)
title page and acknowledgments