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Is ‘Top Gun’ Appropriate For Kids? You May Not Want to Trust Its Rating.

A classic movie's odd rating is explained here.

Tom Cruise in 'Top Gun: Maverick'.

There’s no denying that Top Gun is one of the world’s most iconic movies. The film, originally based on an article written in the magazine California, has become a staple in the action film world. Given a re-release for BluRay in 2013 and added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 2015, Top Gun remains an enduring classic. Top Gun: Maverick even carried the reins of the original in spectacular fashion—36 years after Top Gun hit screens. Filmgoers who are new to Top Gun, though, might have had a nagging question in the back of their minds: what’s up with Top Gun’s PG rating, anyway?

To answer that question, viewers should look to the system of film ratings established by the Motion Picture Association (MPA). In the late 1980s, the MPA added the PG-13 rating to their system for the first time. The PG-13 rating is described as “parents strongly cautioned – some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.” Top Gun’s run doesn’t contain anything particularly graphic or suggestive, though it does have quite a bit of aerial combat, explosions, and implied sexual scenes. Due to the nature of Top Gun’s content, many parents agree the film is more deserving of a PG-13 rating than a PG rating, especially given that PG-13 had just been added to the MPA’s film rating system. So, why did Top Gun end up with a PG rating?

Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer. Some have theorized that due to the PG-13 rating being so new, the MPA hadn’t yet found its footing with what qualified as a PG-13 movie. Others think that due to there being no real graphic content, it was more in line with a PG-rated movie according to the standards of films in the 80s. Because there’s no real answer for why the film was given a PG rating, the best solution has been to use discretion dependent on who wants to watch the movie. Regardless of any possible answers for the film’s rating, there’s no denying that Top Gun has still left a tremendous impact on the world of cinema.

(image: Paramount Pictures)

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