Brow Beat

Happy Birthday to the PG-13 Rating! To Celebrate, Here Are Some PG-Rated Scenes

A gremlin makes the unwise decision to poke his head into a blender.
Parental guidance in action.
Amblin

Sunday is the 34th birthday of the PG-13 rating, which was officially announced by then-MPAA president Jack Valenti on July 1, 1984. Although today it is primarily used to indicate the number of swears in superhero movies, at the time, the idea was to shield young children from gore and violence. Debates over the PG-13 rating began the day it was announced and are still ongoing, but frustratingly few of those debates focus on the people most harmed by it: Kids who love disgusting things. In the 34 years since Valenti’s announcement, the movie industry built a burbling, spurting wonderland of vomit-inducing special effects for anyone 14 or older, while shamefully forcing children—America’s future!—to steal furtive glances at the cover of Fangoria just to get by. While we can’t go back in time and fix the damage done by denying the 12-year-olds of 1985 access to Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye during its original, PG-13-rated theatrical run, we’ve assembled a few of the greatest PG-rated scenes from the summer of 1984, in memory of the joy Jack Valenti stole from the nation’s grossest, most disgusting children. Whether you’re a parent looking for some kid-friendly material to watch with your children or a child looking to trick your parents into letting you watch something gross, you can press play on these videos with confidence: they’re all rated PG.

The Gremlin in the Microwave From Gremlins

The gremlin who explodes inside the microwave got all the press at the time, but it’s the little guy in the blender who does most of the work here, spewing great green gobs of greasy grimy gremlin blood all over the kitchen. Although young children whose parents let them see Joe Dante’s masterpiece were almost uniformly traumatized by it, they were also uniformly more prepared to fend off gremlin attacks by repurposing common household appliances as weapons, an upside Valenti failed to consider. In the aftermath of the rash decision to create another rating, the industry moved educational films like Gremlins permanently into PG-13 and R territory, leaving children utterly defenseless in the face of attacks from critters, ghoulies, hobgoblins, and even critters 2s.

The Heart From Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

In 2018, the most striking thing about this scene is its virulent racism, but in the summer of 1984, all anyone could talk about was how their mom didn’t really think it was an appropriate movie to take them to but their dad really wanted to see it and so did their big brother so they all went and then there was this priest who reached into a dude’s chest and pulled out his heart and it was still beating and then he slowly lowered the dude into a pit of lava and my mom started yelling at my dad right there in the theater and my dad thought he covered my eyes while they hustled me out but I could still see everything and when the guy burst into flames so did his heart and now my parents haven’t spoken in a week and I think maybe they’re getting divorced. Kali Ma!

“Drinkenstein” From Rhinestone

Famously snubbed at the Oscars for its horrifying subject matter, Rhinestone was—wait a minute, this was rated PG? Hollywood fat cats knowingly exposed young children to footage of Sylvester Stallone singing a song called “Drinkenstein?” I take it all back: Not only was PG-13 a wonderful idea, Jack Valenti should have invented a rating worse than X.