Imposition of Hollywood film restrictions: The production code


The essay is an in-depth argument on whether or not Hollywood films should be imposed with restrictions and censorship. It is worth to note that fierce debate has been elicited by the calls to censor films produced by Hollywood. The issues of moral as well as artistic freedom have been the main contention for several years. For me to have an opinion, I need to analyze both side of the coin; arguments in support of imposition of film restriction as well as against it.

Historically, the issue of imposing restriction as well as censorship of films in United States of America data back in late 1920s (Miller, 1994). The Motion Picture Production Code adopted between 1938 and 1968 had guideline governing movie production. From 1968, Motion Picture Association of America film rating system that was responsible for spelling out what was acceptable and what was not for the America citizens.

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It is worth mentioning that MPAA a body that rates the motion pictures focus particularly on the films’ thematic as well as content suitability to the audiences. These guidelines are what help parent decide what their children should be watching. The body that administers the rating is known to be Classification and Rating Administration not a governed agency. The five major rating are NC-17 rating, R-restricted, PG-1 parents strongly cautioned, PG parental guidance suggested and G-general audience (Green & Karolides, 2005).

Arguments supporting imposition of film restrictions

It is import to remember from the onset that majority of the argument in favor of imposition of restriction and censorship stem purely from a moral point of view. However, the proponents are of the view that this is not true.

One major argument brought forth in support of imposing restriction as well as censorship in films is that there are some films that are influential to individuals especially the younger population not only in America but across the world. Thing have been made even complicated with advent of technology that makes it possible for films to be shared in various geographical location within a shorter period of time.

It has been argued that the recent violence in American public school is linked to some influential films. Films that depict contents of violence and pornography have been shown to negatively influence some young individuals. The issue of holding others hostage or even engaging in open firing of other students as well as school support staffs and teachers has been attributed to the fact of some influential movies.

Additionally, as suggested by Green & Karolides, 2005 in the past, younger individuals did engage in sexual activities much late in their teenage ages, however, there are studies that link young individual engaging in sexual activities when they are in their early teens. This is dangerous and makes them vulnerable in contracting sexual transmitted disease and pure loss of moral.

On the same line of thinking, there are certain languages used in films that are contrary to the norms of a given societal settings (Brasell, 1999). Without checking such wordings in the films, there are higher chances of such words being adopted and applied in day to day life that may prove to be disturbing to other individuals. For instance there are terms that can be used ironically to foster prejudice towards certain race.

Additionally, the argument brought forth in adopting the Motion Picture Production Code was to address how those in authority were being portrayed. There were some films that aimed at depicting those in authority such as law enforcers, clergymen among other in a caricature manner; this lowered their dignity and at the same times their command. Loosing respect from their subject, they had no authority to command.

Morally, there was need to consider the ability of certain individuals in the society who can not stand seeing certain things especially originating from war time. Seeing a law enforcer dying in the arm of criminals usually makes it possible for the society to engage in violent activities.

Additionally censorship in war time is necessary in helping conceal the location of troop in a given war zone. Lastly and more importantly, it is worth noting what initiated the 1930 restrictions; the issue of representing others in a manner that it will elicit sympathy was not allowed. This kind of influence was thought of as instilling a notion that certain groups were underprivileged or vice versa which could lead to outrage animosity (Miller, 1994).

Arguments against imposition of film restrictions

On the other hand, according to Jon, 2000 there are strong arguments that restriction and censorship of Hollywood films is not necessary. To successfully bring these issues out more clearly it would be rational to examine what censorship and restrictions imposed in film damages or rather threaten.

The American constitution via the forth amendment provides for freedom of speech and expression. It has been argued that although not all speeches are to be expressed freely, imposition of restrictions as well as censorship will negatively impact on the provision of freely expressing once views.

It has been brought forth that with freedom of expression; there will be a chance for individuals in the field of films to utilize their ideas to bring about marketplace ideas to others. This usually goes an extra mile in ensuring that issues of concern within a given societal setting are brought to light although at the same time audiences feeling entertained. For instance the movie by Algore clearly brought the issue of global warming in an educative as well as entertaining manner.

Additionally through such activities of pursuing truth, the citizen have been able to understand why the country before instance when into war with countries such as Iraqi. On the same line of reasoning, films usually help in making the audience understand the plight of a certain group of individuals such as those sidelined due to their race, religion, gender among other attributes (Brasell, 1999).

Although the proponents of censorship of Hollywood films argue that violence, sexual content tend to influence young individuals, there are studies on the other hand that has not found any correlation between the said attributes. For that matter, there is no need of censoring as well as imposing restrictions on Hollywood film based on these grounds since they are baseless.

Lastly, it has been argued that imposition of restriction as well and application of censorship will work against creativity with regards to expression of producers as well as artist (Jon, 2000). This will eventually kill the entertaining part of films which have in the recent past gained popularity


In conclusion, censorship and imposition of restriction of Hollywood films, brings a number of negative consequences that will destroy the whole industry.

It is worth noting that the ability to first infringe on human rights enshrined in the Forth Amendment of our constitution that warrants us freedom of speech and expression, killing of creativity of expression, revealing the truth among others makes the whole idea unpopular which aims in taking us back to dark ages.

The rating of films in my view will help solve the problem if parents and guardians are strict and help their children understand what they are supposed to watch.


Brasell, B. (1999). “Film Censorship in Mobile during the Twentieth Century” Retrieved on 3 May 2011 from

Green, J. & Karolides, N. (2005). Encyclopedia of Censorship. New York: Sage.

Jon, L. (2000). Hollywood v. Hard Core: How the Struggle Over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry. New York: New York University Press.

Miller, F. (1994). Censored Hollywood. Atlanta: Turner Publishing.


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