This article was written by Anthony Valdez, an interested reader of PEPS. His explanation of his discovery of the Code is the December 2020 entry in our guest series, What the Code Means to Me. Since he doesn’t have a blog, we are publishing the article here. Anthony, thank you for contributing the tenth article to our series exploring other writers’ opinions on the Code!
What does the Motion Picture Production Code mean to me? Speaking in the past tense, it actually meant nothing to me until I was made aware of its past existence.
Movies have always been a primary source of entertainment for me. Without really understanding how the system came about, the movies that I saw throughout my life were rated using the Classification and Rating Administration’s system: G, PG-13, PG, and R.
Recently, what I came to realize, after reading one of Tiffany Brannan’s movie articles in The Epoch Times, is that there existed a different system before the Classification and Rating Administration system; a code, called the Motion Picture Production Code.
Some background on my own experience with old black and white movies. In the 1990s, I encountered a television station called American Movie Classics (AMC). I started watching countless old black and white movies on AMC for years. Throughout those years, I grew to have a love for those old black and white movies that were made before my time, and I vaguely observed that the content of these movies was always very tame and decent compared to modern movies. I did not really think too much of it other than to conclude that those old movies were made in a different time and made by people who had different morals and standards – which I believe they did.
Moving forward in time to 2020 and to my being made aware that the reason that those old black and white movies were so tame and decent was because those movies were produced according to a standard of that time, the Motion Picture Production Code – this was a significant understanding for me. Suddenly it all made sense.
The Motion Picture Production Code ensured that movies of that period of time could be attended and enjoyed by anyone of any age because a rating system was not necessary. A rating system was not necessary because, by way of the Code, the kind of violent or vulgar or indecent or inappropriate content in modern movies was not allowed into movies then.
The replacement of the Motion Picture Production Code with the Classification and Rating Administration system, I believe, eventually, over time, destroyed decency in movies across the board – with the possible exception of movies that are/were Rated G.
This destruction of decency in movies is very important because in the modern world I believe that very young minds are being adversely affected when they are allowed to attend, at the extreme, R-rated movies. What I have noticed in recent years is that people bring their very young children into movies that I consider inappropriate for their age. I see parents, who don’t seem to have a clue about what impact seeing, for example, R-rated horror movies might be doing to their children’s very young minds. When I was a child, I remember my mother preventing my siblings and me from watching television content that she would deem inappropriate for children. These days, the theaters do not enforce that rating system at all and are seemingly more concerned with selling tickets than with movie content and how that content might be affecting the minds of children admitted into movies that are inappropriate for their age.
When movies were made with the Code in mind, parents did not have to worry about bringing their very young children to the movies because all movies were produced and guided by the Motion Picture Production Code. Parents now have to evaluate movies based upon the Classification and Rating Administration system and make a decision about whether or not a particular movie is appropriate for any particular aged individual. And some parents pay virtually no attention to the ratings.
So what does the Code mean to me? If the Code were to be brought back or reimplemented, it would mean a return to movies that anyone of any age can go to, without worrying about themselves or their children being exposed to inappropriate content. And maybe, just maybe, a return to dialogue about God and prayer and patriotism.
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