Classifications help you decide which films to choose. Classifications tell you about the impact of the content and the most suitable audience for a film.
||G is an advisory classification The content is very mild in impact. G films are for general viewing. While many G films are for children, not all will be of interest to them.
PG is an advisory classification The content is mild in impact. PG films contain material that a parent or carer might need to explain to younger children.
M is an advisory classification The content is moderate in impact. M films are not recommended for people aged under 15 as a level of maturity is required.
||The content is strong in impact. MA 15+ classified material contains strong content and is legally restricted to persons 15 years and over. It may contain classifiable elements such as sex scenes and drug use that are strong in impact.
A person may be asked to show proof of their age before hiring or purchasing an MA 15+ film or computer game. Cinema staff may also request that the person show proof of their age before allowing them to watch an MA 15+ film. Children under the age of 15 may not legally watch, buy or hire MA 15+ classified material unless they are in the company of a parent or adult guardian. Children under 15 who go to the cinema to see an MA 15+ film must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian for the duration of the film. An older sibling or friend would not generally satisfy this requirement, whereas a grandparent, aunt or uncle may. The parent or adult guardian must also purchase the movie ticket for the child.
The guardian must be an adult exercising parental control over the person under 15 years of age. The guardian needs to be 18 years or older.
R 18+ is a legally restricted classification The content is high in impact. R 18+ films are not suitable for people aged under 18. People aged under 18 cannot be admitted to an R 18+ film.
Who decides the classification?
Generally, all films that are publicly exhibited in Australia must be classified by the Classification Board, which is broadly representative of the Australian community.
Who qualifies as a ‘guardian’ for a person under 15?
The ‘guardian’ must be an adult exercising ‘parental control’ over the person under 15 years of age. The guardian needs to be 18 years or older. An older sibling or friend would not generally satisfy this requirement, it needs to be a parent or court appointed guardian.
What is the difference between M and MA 15+?
There is no legal restriction on who can see an M film. The content for M films is moderate and a mature perspective is required. M films are recommended for people aged 15 or older. A person needs to be 15 or older to see an MA 15+ film. The content is strong and unsuitable for people aged under 15. However people under 15 can see an MA 15+ film if accompanied by their parent or an adult guardian.
Proof of age at the cinema
Cinemas may verify a person’s age before they provide access to an MA 15+ or R 18+ film. Proof of age (preferably in the form of photo identification) may be requested of the person claiming to be 15 or 18, or of the parent or guardian.
When can a cinema refuse entry to an MA 15+ or R 18+ film?
Cinemas are required to abide by the MA 15+ and R 18+ restrictions. This means refusing entry to an MA 15+ film to any person who reasonably appears to be under 15 and who is not accompanied by his or her parent or a guardian. Entry to an R 18+ film can be refused to any person who reasonably appears to be under 18.
Additional information about the film, called ‘consumer advice’ gives you an indication of specific content of a film (examples are violence, language, sex). Generally the strongest content is indicated in the consumer advice.
Copyright and piracy
Film theft has an enormous impact on filmmakers, cinema staff and consumers everywhere. You should be alert to the unauthorised use of camcorders and mobile phones in cinemas. Selling or distributing pirated product is a criminal offence.
You can obtain further information about the National Classification Scheme at www.classification.gov.au
Or contact: Classification Operations Branch Locked Bag 3 HAYMARKET NSW 1240
Phone: 02 9289 7100 Fax: 02 9289 7101 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright and Classification Policy Branch Phone: 02 6141 3416 www.ag.gov.au