A restricted rating, as opposed to an advisory or unrestricted rating, is one that restricts its audience to a particular group of people, usually to prevent underage children from seeing large amounts of violence, strong language, or sexual content.

Restricted ratings are legally enforceable in most (if not all) jurisdictions, which makes it an offense to allow underage audiences in the exhibition (if applicable) without accompaniment. For video releases with restricted ratings, it makes it an offense to supply the age-restricted material to anyone below the age stated in the rating given by the video.

Partially restricted

A partially restricted rating prevents anyone underage from viewing the content in the cinema unless when accompanied by a parent or guardian for the duration of the film. In the MPA rating system, R is partially restricted as it states that people under 17 can see an R-rated picture in a cinema, if they're accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.

Fully restricted

A fully restricted rating prevents anyone underage from viewing the content regardless of accompaniment. In the MPA rating system, NC-17 is a fully restricted rating, and nobody under 18 may see a picture with this rating, even if accompanied by an adult.

Adult ratings may be restricted to make sure that underage children aren't exposed to pornography or gratuitous violence, as well as coarse or sexually explicit language and drug (mis)use.


Underage audiences are not admitted at all, and anyone between the two stipulated ages must be accompanied by an adult. For example, 18A in the Maritimes and Manitoba, where children below 14 years of age are not admitted at all, and children between 14 and 17 must be accompanied by an adult.

Adult ratings

Works which receive adult ratings can only be shown in licensed premises such as sex shops. For example, the BBFC's R18 classification.

Special restrictions may also apply for these ratings. For example, Australia's X 18+ classification, in which the sale or hire of all X 18+ classified material is prohibited anywhere in the six States, making it available legally for sale or hire only in the ACT and the NT.

One unusual case of non-pornographic material receiving such rating is Saw VI by the ICAA in Spain because of extreme violence, which resulted in the release of the film in the country being delayed for nearly one year.

Table of restricted ratings from various boards

Board Partially restricted Hybrid Fully restricted Adult Not to be sold (or shown anywhere)
MPAA R (17) none NC-17 (18) none none
BBFC (UK) 12A none 12, 15, 18 R18 Rejected
IFCO (Ireland) 12A, 15A none 16, 18 none none
ACB (Australia) MA15+ none R18+ X18+ RC
FSK (Germany) none 12 (under 6s not admitted) 6, 16, 18, Unrated (18+) none none
RCQ (Régie; Quebec) 13+ none 16+, 18+ 18+ (Explicit Sexuality) Refused classification
Kijkwijzer (Netherlands) 12 none 16 none none
Canada (outside Quebec) 14A, 18A 18A (14+ in Maritimes and Manitoba) R A Prohibited
Eirin (Japan) none none R15+, R18+ none none
BAMID (Taiwan) none 6+ (under 6s not admitted, parental guide is required for 6-11s) 12+, 15+, 18+ none none
KMRB (South Korea) 12, 15 none 18 19 none
OFNAA (Hong Kong) none none III (18) none none
MTRCB (Philippines) PG (13) none R-13, R-16, R-18 none X
MDA (Singapore) none none NC-16, M18, R21 none Refused classification
FPB (South Africa) none 7-9 PG, 10-12 PG
(under the lower age limits not admitted at all)
13, 16, 18 X18 XX
OFLC (New Zealand) RP labels none R labels none Objectionable
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